Bhutan is a beautiful Asian country laden with picturesque natural views. It has over 2674 glacial lakes, hordes of mountains and peaks, gushing rivers, a whole lot of greenery, and the fervor of Buddhism all over. Located on the eastern edge of the mighty Himalayas, it is a Buddhist kingdom that is known for its majestic monasteries, fortresses called Dzongs, and dramatic landscape that adds to the overall beauty of this destination. The religion and the culture is rich and provides an insight into Bhutan’s history and practices. The street food in Bhutan is the main element that binds everything together.
The local delicacies and a whole lot of spices and flavors to it brings people together under one roof. It is not just the locals who eat and breathe this food every day, the tourists also love the many flavors of the local Bhutanese street food options.
Top 10 Must-Have Street Food In Bhutan
Bhutan is a reservoir of religion, culture, history, and a whole lot of vibrancy. All these elements are reflected well in its food, clothes, and the ways of living that Bhutanese people enjoy. All these things give a distinct identity to the country, especially the food options. There are many local delicacies in this amazing country that can be savored by many. The flavors are complex with a whole lot of spices and ingredients that goes into the different Bhutanese recipes.
Try out the street food in Bhutan that has a lot to offer in terms of different food textures and flavors. These dishes are not just savored by the locals, but also by tourists. Read on to know more about the different street food options that you can try while on a vacation in Bhutan.
Momo or dumpling is an ultimate street food delicacy served in Bhutan. The amount of momos consumed in the country is unimaginable, making it a staple food of Bhutan. The dish is originally a Tibetan delicacy. Since the country is all about the Tibetan doctrines and practices, this dish has taken over not just the streets, but also the big and fancy restaurants and eating joints. To know what essentially a momo is – it is a dumpling made out of flour dough that comes with a filling inside. The filling can be a mix of vegetables and mild spices, and also shredded chicken and other meat variants for the non-vegetarian options.
The dumpling is then steamed to perfection and is served along with a spicy mix of sauces and herbs. There are many variants of momos preparation – steamed, fried, sauteed, and others. This yummy street food option is cooked in a utensil apparatus that usually has three layers to it. The bottom-most layer usually has the tomato soup to lend the steaming process a tinge of flavor. This way the momos absorb all the flavorful juices and taste amazing. Try this street food option on your vacation to know more about Bhutan local food.
Adding to the mix of a plethora of street food options in Bhutan is the comforting Thukpa. It is a flavorful noodle soup that has its origins in the eastern parts of Tibet. The street food in Bhutan is quite rich and varied. Thukpa is one of the main dishes that is a part of this comprehensive list of local street flavors in Bhutan. Talking about its ingredients, it has noodles, soup, garlic, chopped onions, and green chillies to add a zing and a tinge of spiciness to the mix.
This preparation can have both vegetarian and non-vegetarian variants, and even the vegans can go for the former option as there is practically no use of dairy in this. The vegetarian version would have shredded and chopped vegetables and non-vegetarian variant could have the likes of red meat and boiled or poached eggs.
3. Yaksha Shakam
Move over the regular chicken and mutton delicacies, Bhutan has a juicier and tastier meat dish for all the non-vegetarian food enthusiasts. Yaksha Shakam is a savory dish made out of Yak meat. The preparation is a combination of Yak meat, Yak cheese, spicy chilli, and a whole lot of rice added to the flavorful intermix of ingredients. Regarded by many as the best street food in bhutan, Yaksha Shakam is a dish that shouldn’t be missed if you are non-vegetarian and can go for something experimental in your food options.
The dish can be cooked in a variety of ways adding or subtracting different ingredients. The hero though, remains the Yak meat. This kind of meat is a whole lot juicier and sweeter than beef, yet tastes a little similar to it.
4. Jasha Maroo
Jasha Maroo is a spicy Bhutanese chicken stew. Another non-vegetarian dish in the list of must have street food of Bhutan, this delicacy is quite popular amongst the locals and tourists. The reason for this is pretty simple – it’s spicy, flavorful and doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare and cook. The entire mix of ingredients and spices have the likes of chillies, onions, tomato, and coriander leaves. The chicken can be shredded or diced. There’s a good quantity of chicken broth that goes into this flavorful intermix to lend it a delicious flavor. This street food in Bhutan is wholesome and filling apart from being flavorful. Other variants of this dish can also have beef and other meats in the intermix.
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5. Phaksha Paa
One of the vintage street food options in Bhutan, Phaksha Paa is essentially a pork dish served with a whole lot of red chillies. For its preparation, the pork meat is boiled along with ginger radish and chilli powder. When the stew is prepared, dried pork and green chilli are added to increase the flavors of the dish manifold. The spices can vary according to the cook and the place where it is being prepared.
The chilli is constant in any variant though. The spices intermix can be complex and varied served along with a whole lot of mountain vegetables. All of this is cooked in oil or butter. The pork can also be stir-fried. This gravy or stew when prepared is served along with rice. Try this amazing Bhutan street food when on a vacation in this beautiful country.
6. Ema Datshi
A traditional Bhutanese stew, this amazing street food option is quite popular amongst the locals. The tourists have also taken after the amazing intermix of flavors that goes into this delicacy. The stew is made using Yak cheese and loads of chillies. You might know by now that Bhutanese love their chillies and also a whole lot of Yak cheese. You would be amazed to know that it is the National Dish of Bhutan.
The other ingredients that go into it are garlic, oil, split chilies, onions, and tomatoes. Normally eaten along with red rice, this must have street food of Bhutan is simply delectable!
7. Shamu Datshi
A really popular street food option in Bhutan, Shamu Datshi shouldn’t be missed out on while enjoying a vacation at this beautiful destination. The process of the preparation for this dish is quite similar to that of Ema Datshi. The only difference is that of the main ingredient or the hero of the dish which is mushrooms. The other ingredients are chillies, onions, garlic, and tomatoes. The dish is generally served with red rice.
The bhutan local food is rich and varied. There is plenty to try and relish. Another street food item that’s on the list of the must-try street food items in Bhutan is Suja. It is a butter tea that is made using fermented butter made from Yak or Cow milk. The tea is salty in flavor and the degree of saltiness depends upon the amount of butter that has been added to prepare the tea. This interesting mix is served along with puffed rice called ‘zaow’. The ingredients of Suja is Yak or Cow butter, salt, and 2-3 cups of water.
9. Kewa Datshi
Continuing with the list of must have street food of Bhutan, try out another delicacy called Kew Datshi. It is quite a popular dish amongst the locals. The tourists have also taken after its amazing flavors. The dish is made out of potatoes and laden with other ingredients like cheese, butter, chillies, salt, and tomatoes. The potatoes are first cut into thin pieces and fried to perfection. Other ingredients are then added to the mix. Out of the lot of the ingredients, the primary focus is on the potatoes and cheese, elements that makes or breaks this popular street food item.
10. Goen Hogay
A traditional Bhutanese dish, Goen Hogay is a cucumber salad that is quite filling for one’s appetite and is also quite healthy. This is usually served as a side dish but can also be savored as a go-to street food option. It is quite popular amongst the Bhutanese population and a lot of tourists have also taken after its amazing flavors with time. The ingredients that go into this flavorful intermix are chillies, onions, cilantro, tomatoes, Sichuan, and pepper. While you are enjoying a vacation in this beautiful country, do try this best street food in Bhutan.
Go on and check out a plethora of delectable options for street food in Bhutan. There are plenty of flavors to relish here at this beautiful destination. The intermix of the ingredients and spices of the Bhutanese food is complex and amazing. There’s an excessive use of chilli, so these food items surely are not for the light-hearted. Grab the best of these Bhutanese street food options on a vacation here in this country. Book yourself a vacation to Bhutan and get to savor the many delightful and interesting flavors.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Street Food In Bhutan
What are the famous Street foods in Bhutan?
The famous street food in Bhutan are Jasha Maru (Spicy Chicken), Kewa Datshi (potato cooked in cheese), Momos (Dumplings), Yaksha Shakam (Yak Meat Dish), Phaksha Paa (Pork with red chilies), Shamu Datshi (mushroom cooked with cheese), Suja-Butter tea, Ema Datshi (chilly cooked in cheese),etc.
What is a famous food of Bhutan?
The famous Traditional Bhutan Food is Ema Datshi, Jasha Maroo or Maru,Phaksha Paa, Momos, Red Rice, Drink Specialties etc.
Is Vegetarian food available in Bhutan?
You will find Emma Datse here which is the national dish that is actually Chili peppers and cheese with the delicious red rice. Also, there is a delicious variety of fresh vegetables.
What should I buy in Bhutan?
You can buy a lot of things from Bhutan as souvenirs such as Bhutanese Handicrafts, Wooden Products, Wall Hangings, woven Textiles, Handcrafted Bags, Himalayan Beads (Dzi Beads), Gold & Silver Jewellery, Cane & Bamboo Items, Postal Stamps, Handmade Wooden Bowls (Dappa), etc. These things will not only serve as a souvenir for you but will also serve as great gift items for your friends and family.
What is the best time of year to go to Bhutan?
The best time to visit Bhutan is from the month of October to the month of December as this is the time when the air is fresh and the skies are clear. The climate from January to the month of February is the coldest time in Bhutan. You will like it in April though when you would see the famous rhododendrons blooming beautifully making the entire valley down with gorgeous colors.
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