Indigenous Food Tourists Must Try While in Bhutan

Besides its unique tradition and culture, Bhutan also has an interesting choice of indigenous food. When you travel to Bhutan you should indulge in some of the food listed below:

Ema Datsi

Ema Datshi (chili with cheese) is the most popular Bhutanese vegetarian dish. Sliced fresh green chilies or dried red chilies are cooked with local cheese and butter. Although the ingredients remain the same, every household have their own version of cooking the dish. The stages of when the ingredients are added may vary and thus every Ema Datshi may not taste the same.


Ezay (or Azay) is a Bhutanese salad / chili based sauce. It is generally served as a condiment with most Bhutanese dishes. While there are many variations to making this dish, the base ingredients are chili (fresh or dried or powder), onion, tamarillo, coriander and local cheese (optional) blended or simply mixed together to preserve the texture of the dish. Ezay is generally served as a dipping sauce for dumplings and also served with other meals.


Hoentey is a festive dish originating from the Haa district. Hoentey is a dumpling made with buckwheat dough and the local dried spinach or turnip leaves and cheese are used as filling. The dumplings are either steamed or fried. It is dipped in ezay and eaten.


Puta is a Bhutanese noodle dish indigenous to the central district of Bumthang. The noodles are made of buckwheat flour. The noodles are generally served stir fried with egg and Sichuan pepper.


Khulay is a Bhutanese pan cake made out barley, wheat or buckwheat flour. However unlike other pancake, Khulays are served hot with spread of local butter and Azay or Ema Datshi.


Suja is Bhutanese hot beverage usually served in the morning with your breakfast. To prepare Suja, water is brewed with special tea leaves and later churned with butter and salt. This rich hot beverage is ideal on a cold weather morning.

Sikam Paa

Sikam Paa is a popular non vegetarian dish. Sikam is air dried pork belly and the dish is usually prepared as a stir fry dish with dried red chilies and dried spinach or sliced radish.

Shakam Datsi

Shakam Datsi is another non vegetarian dish. Sun dried beef is cut into smaller chunks and cooked with fresh green chilies or dried red chilies and lot of local cheese.

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