When you are at the place with the highest happiness index, that you would want to gorge on food, yet another determinant of happiness, is a given. While Bhutan is the place that takes you a complete zen like state, when it comes to food, the story is quite different. Fiery food with chillies and piquant flavours best describes Bhutanese food. If you love spicy food, you sure are in gastronomical heaven! There are enough and more choices for vegetarians as a large chunk of the population does not eat meat for religious reasons.

Here is a must devour list of food items when you are in Bhutan. Bon Apetit!


Ema Datshi

This is one ubiquitous dish of Bhutan that you simply cannot afford to miss. Popularly called Bhutan’s National Dish, it is made of yellow or red chillies, cheese, onions and tomatoes, it is eaten with red rice. Green beans, ferns, potatoes, mushrooms are sometimes added.




Phaksha Paa

A classic Bhutanese stew comprising of boneless pork with radish, ginder and of course chilly powder. A popular variation uses sun-dried (known as Sicaam). Hoentoe: Aromatic buckwheat dumplings stuffed with turnip greens, datshi (cheese), spinach and other ingredients.


Jasha-MarooJasha Maroo

A finely diced chicken dish made with chilies, onion, tomato, garlic, coriander leaves, this one is a speciality too. Like most Bhutanese food it is served with red rice.



Red Rice

Whether you are eating at a fine dine restaurant or a village fair, Red Rice is an essential ingredient of food in Bhutan. That it is high on manganese, phosphorous and cancer-fighting antioxidant, anthocyanin, is an added perk to devour it.



Vegetarians have no reason to worry in this happy state as rice, is accompanied by a vegetable dish. Vegetables commonly eaten include Spinach, pumpkins, turnips, radishes, tomatoes, river weed, onions and green beans. A typical side dish is eezay – finely chopped fresh red chillies and raw onion, seasoned with salt and lime juice.

Vegetarian food on trip, no problem !

Vegetarian food on trip, no problem !


While you would have certainly sampled Momos elsewhere, these are a treat. Choose from fillings of pork or beef, cabbage or cheese mixed with spices, of course.



The fast food of choice, again present ubiquitously, is Maggi or Wai Wai Noodles. With vegetables added, they are pretty tasty as well as filling!



Wash down the delicious food with a range of options when it comes to drinks. Choose from black and green tea, beer and wine. Or better still, locally brewed ara, a fermented drink made from rice, maize, millet or wheat.

Accompanying almost every meal is also sweet milk tea or Naja. In cold weather, you can also relish butter tea, or suja as it is popularly called.

Don’t worry about over eating. The trek to the Tiger’ Nest will be enough to digest all that food… and bring on fresh appetite!