Bhutan remained isolated from the world and hence escaped the chain of the fast-food. Believe it or not, there is no Macdonald, Subway, Starbucks, and other food franchised restaurants and cafes in Bhutan. However, Bhutan offers a rich, diverse, and very interesting culinary experience. There is different cuisine from different local places. For example, the people from Haa are well known for Honetey and southern Bhutanese (Lhotsampas) mark auspicious day by serving shell roti cuisine from different local places.

Bhutanese food is unlikely any other food you will ever eat. The local cuisine has been able to maintain its unique character like the country itself. The cuisines are less oily than Chinese or Indian food and spicier than most Tibetan dishes Chilies are an essential part of nearly every dish and are considered so important that most Bhutanese people would not enjoy a meal that was not spicy. The Bhutanese believe that it is a badge of honor to eat as spicy food as possible. Many Bhutanese grow chilies and red chilies are harvested in September and October, and this is the period when many roofs in villages and towns turn red. To dry peppers, people place them on roofs of a house, which look almost like flowers on the first glimpse.

Most Bhutanese meals are basic, simple, and easy to cook and involved mostly local ingredients. Rearing cattle and dairy products spiced up most dishes. Dairy foods, particularly butter and cheese from Yaks and Cows, are popular and indeed almost all milk is turned into butter and Cheese (Datshi) Popular snacks include Momo (Bhutanese Dumpling), Khabzay (Dried fritters made with flour, water, sugar, which are then deep-fried), Shabalay, Juma (Bhutanese Sausages marinated in spices) and Noodles. Restaurants in the country can serve Chinese, Nepalese, Tibetan, and Indian foods, and in recent years Korean restaurants have opened due to the increasing popularity of Korean popular culture in the country.

Popular Beverages include butter tea prepared using tea leaf, Salt, and fresh butter (called Suja), milk tea (called Ngaja), locally brewed Ara (Rice wine) which is common in Eastern parts of Bhutan. The districts of Mongar, Lhuntse, Tashi Yangtse, Tashigang, and Samdrup Jongkhar constitute the eastern circuits. The one-stop-shop for authentic Bhutanese food is at Simply Bhutan and Folk Heritage, must try here is Ara (Local Wine) and Suja (Butter tea).

In terms of beverages, people living in rural villages brew some of the best alcoholic beverages from rice, maize, millet, and wheat. In Bhutan not only people consume alcohol but in eastern Bhutan, it is the main item used during liberation (Serkem) and other religious occasions.

There is also Bhutanese manufactured wine such as Zumzin, Raven, and Takin, due to its popularity, the made in Bhutan winery's and alcoholic beverages are sold online.



If you haven't eaten ema datshi, you haven't been to Bhutan. Ema Datshi is made of green, yellow (Boiled dried chilies) or red chilies (Dried Chillies), onions, tomatoes, and cooked with milk cheese (Datshi which is Bhutanese cheese). Although the basic ingredients remain the same, every cook has their version, some watery with more sticky with cheese and some dry with more cheese.

bhutanese cuisine ema datshi


The potatoes are typically sliced into thin round pieces and then sauteed down with Bhutanese cheese (Datshi). Some cooks adding tomatoes, Garlic, and Onion, and some they used to use only potatoes and cheese.

kewa datshi


The mushrooms, which can be any variety of local Bhutanese mushroom, are again, cooked into cheesy using Bhutanese Cheese (Datshi).

shamu datshi


Shakam is Bhutanese dried beef, which is among the most famous of meats. For Shakam ema datshi, dried beef is cut into bite-sized pieces and simmered cheese.

shakam paa datshi


Shakam Paa is a Bhutanese cuisine of dried beef cooked with dried chilies and slices of radish. It is mostly cooked in a pot and served alongside a portion of rice.

shakam paa


For Phaksha paa, slices of pork are stir-fried with whole red dry Chillies. When finished, the stew is stopped by adding red chili powder and served with red rice.

phaksha paa


This is a dish that much Bhutanese love. You will see strands of half-transparent pork belly hanging in the sun to dry - that is known as Sikam. The pork, which has quite an impressive ratio of fat, is dried in the sun. For Sikam paa, the dried pork is then fried up with dried chilies. This dish is very famous in Bhutan.

sikam paa


Yaksha Shakam's taste is similar tasting to beef. For YakshaShakam, the yak meat is dried into jerky meat and it can be cooked in many different ways like by adding cheese, beans, and spring onion.


Juma is a type of common Bhutanese sausage made with minced meat, rice, and some light spices all filled into an intestine wrapper. It's available either Beef or Pork Juma.


Eggs are scrambled up with datshi (Cheese) and a huge amount of butter, spring onion, and some chill flakes are added. The result is a very condensed scrambled egg cheese mixture that is butter and packed with heartiness.


For Jasha Maru chilies, onion, tomato, garlic, coriander leaves, and ginger are usually made with finely diced chicken. In Jasha Maru, the ginger is what gives this dish its essence.


For Jasha Maru chilies, onion, tomato, garlic, coriander leaves, and ginger are usually made with finely diced chicken. In Jasha Maru, the ginger is what gives this dish its essence.


Hoentay originates from the Haa Valley of Bhutan and it is similar to momos, but they are made with a buckwheat dough wrapper. The Hoentay are usually filled with a combination of local spinach or turnip leaves and cheese, and they can be either fried or steamed.


Lom, which is turnip leaves, is one of the few vegetables that can be dried and preserved and eaten throughout the year. Lom can be prepared in different ways like cooked with some Sikam (Dried pork) to give it some extra delicious flavor or fried with potatoes.


Jaju is a traditional Bhutanese soup. It's often made with some type of local spinach, turnip leaves, or Bamboo shoot. The soup broth consists of milk and butter.


Goen Hogay is a traditional Bhutanese cucumber salad. Cucumber is sliced up and mixed with chili flakes, onions, Sichuan pepper and local Datshi (Cheese)


Khur-le is a Bhutanese pancake made from buckwheat, wheat, or barley flour. It serves as a good combination of other Bhutanese dishes like ema datshi or with Ezay (chili sauce). They have a spongy texture but are a bit more hearty and filling.


Buckwheat is eaten mainly in Bumthang. Puta are noodles made from highly nutritious buckwheat that can be grown in high altitudes. For Puta, the noodles are prepared and boiled, and sometimes before being served the noodles are stir-fried in mustard oil along with a light seasoning of salt and Sichuan pepper.


Tshampa is a traditional Bhutanese food. It is dough made from wheat flour. To eat Tshampa, you can roll it into a ball in your fingers, and eat it together with ema datshi, Ezay or Shakam Paa.


Zaow is a Bhutanese snack food that is very common and it goes well together with a cup of milk tea or Butter Tea (Suja). Zaow is not too puffy but more on the crunchy side rather than the puffy side.


This dried yak cheese, it's so hard you have to gnaw on it for hours before it starts to dissolve on your tongue. It's the type of snack you eat when you are walking through the rugged mountains and you need to be chewing. You will see strands of chagoo hanging like necklaces around markets in Bhutan.


In Bhutan, ezay is so mandatory to eat with every meal. Everyone in Bhutan has its recipe and combination of ingredients. For example, the combination of dried chilies, Sichuan pepper, tree tomato, and sprinkle cheese will make delicious ezay.


Ara is a traditional alcoholic beverage in Bhutan. It is made by fermenting or distilling rice, wheat, maize, millet, barley, and is usually creamy or clear in appearance. Sometime Ara is also heated with butter and eggs to make it a more wholesome beverage.

The Kingdom of Bhutan is one of the most enchanting and most culturally preserved nations in the world. Although Bhutanese food is little known outside of Bhutan, it’s the cuisine that if you have the chance, and if you love to eat, you are going to explore.

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Jessica Santilli


I just returned from a 10N 11D trip to Bhutan with NatureWings and had an amazing experience. It was a last minute trip, booked less than a month before I arrived in Bhutan. Thankfully, Sabitra responded to emails promptly and was able to organize the trip quickly, including the 3 day trek I requested.

Sarah Parker

Chelmsford, UK

We went on to Bhutan Tour with my family and was organized by NATUREWINGS. We have enjoyed our holidays very much and everthing was well organized by the team. During the tour Ms Sabitra guided us very well and there was good co-operation and guidance from the driver. The hotels were Also good with good food. Naturewings won our heart..

Helen Morgan

Québec City, Canada

Hi Lima & Sabitra, We are very much thankful to you for planning entire trip with so proper itinerary, without any hectic schedule. We were able to enjoy all beautiful places, clicking lots of photographs without any worries about reaching to next destination. Hotels were good. Food was great. Especially, we enjoyed ourselves much at Mrs. Sonam's house. She was a gem, very warm and kind hearted lady and great cook. We enjoyed food at her place more than any other since it was home made with love and care. Special thanks to her and Mr Sonam too. Mr. Parmesh, our driver was very helpful too and entertained us lot. He was our part-time guide too. Once again, I thank you for responding all my queries so patiently and for completing our trip with success and lots of good memories in Bhutan. I will blindly recommend NatureWings to anyone who is looking for Bhutan Trip in future.

Dr. Joshua T White

Tampa Bay, FLorida

I booked my Bhutan package with NatureWings for me & my friend. we two stag traveled with nice car & good young driver. It was really enjoyable. I want to say that they r best in Bhutan sector. Thanks to NatureWings for memorable & beautiful stay in Bhutan. Bhutan is very beautiful & peaceful country with very beautiful people as well. You have to definitely try with this sector. If I go again to Bhutan then only I will book with NatureWings.

Peter M Black

Birmingham, UK

Had a memorable Bhutan Vacation (Feb 2020) with NatureWings. Special thanks to Mr. Namgey & Ms. Sabitra for planning the trip. We were 9 adults accompanied by two infants. We were given a comfortable 16 seater coaster. The driver and tour guide were very well informed and friendly. We had a pleasant stay (2N) at Osel, Thimpu. Punakha was splendid with Zhinkham Resorts (1N). In Paro, due to lack of availability we were given two rooms in Tashinamgay and Taktsang (3N). While Tashinamgay was good, I would not recommend Taktsang Boutique Resort at all. Overall we had a great experience in the beautiful country of Bhutan ... Tashi Delek!