These are vegetable dumplings, dipped in that very spicy chili siding.
Typically, I dedicate an entire blog about food in the country I visited. I failed to do that in Bhutan.
Bhutan has many many lovely sceneries ... from the stunning views of the Himalayas to the gho or Kira-clad Bhutanese going about their daily business, to the monks and mini-monks, and the quaint architecture of their Dzongs and temples. Food was the least of my concerns while I was there. For one, I've been warned that Bhutanese cuisine does not exactly count many fans.
Vegetarians would likely not complain. Most dishes are non-meat. There isn't also a good source of seafood outside of those brought in from India. Landlocked, there isn't much variety in local ingredients. For the whole week I was there, I ate a lot of potatoes and vegetable dumplings. All that accompanied by mountain rice and lots of chilies. So if you like all that carbo plus the spicy chili peppers, you won't have any reason to complain. I guess.
Not much fanfare in their cuisine. I initially thought they'd be strongly influenced by their
Indian neighbors so I was looking forward to some real nice curry dishes, samosas and dahl. Nahhh. The real authentic Bhutanese food would likely be vegetables spiced up with chili peppers and the popular snack food called momos.
When we were invited to this grand affair where the Prime Minister was also invited, I was so looking forward to dinner. To my despair, they served mainly Thai dishes. Yes, Thai. So I settled for my momos instead. Momos are those dumplings much like their Chinese counterparts in appearance. The fillings differ though. The Bhutanese version has vegetables and cheese, accompanied by chili dip. Then someone told me that there was Ema Datshi on the table. I've read about this spicy "chili con queso" and hoped it's akin to my favorite dish of chili relleno. Seems like this is the national dish of Bhutan, the way the locals talked about it. I didn't waste time trying it, and then......felt I actually turned red -- perhaps with nostrils flaring, smoke coming out --- after just a spoonful. So. Don't tell me you were not warned! As they say in Bhutan, "If it doesn't
Photo courtesy of my friend Meking who said its her best meal ever in Bhutan. (Bhutan Kitchen)
make you sweat, why bother to eat it?"
On cheese, do remember that Bhutanese love their cheese made from milk from cows, goats or yaks. It is not your typical cheese though. But you'd find them in many dishes. Also, most hotels and dining places serve food buffet style. There would be a variety of choices , for sure. While there, I never hesitated trying the noodle dishes, the leafy green vegetables which looked like they were simply boiled and the potatoes which came in a variety of preparations! The Taj and Druk Hotels serve pretty good buffets but our best Bhutanese meal was in a place in Chimi Lakhang in the middle of paddy fields, seated by a window with a perfect view of farmers harvesting their rice. I'm telling you, the scenery certainly ranks higher in importance, regardless of what's on your plate. 😊
Retired early, but still active. Very involved in celebrating life!
I love traveling because I always come back with less cobwebs in my mind. It is as if I empty my mind of all clutter upon departure, and fill it with many happy memories upon arrival. I also like the idea that life is so focused on the present, and my senses are all playing to listen, feel , see, smell and taste everything novel or not so new. The fact that I only have to choose from a limited wardrobe, or use the same pair of shoes throughout my holiday , or work and survive on a single budget make life so much simpler. ... full info