Bhutan is the only country in the world where the chili is used as a vegetable apart from a condiment. Bhutanese take great pride in their national dish “ema-datshi”, a chili and cheese curry which is served with a mountain of red or white rice.
Other popular dishes include shakam (dried beef), sikam (pork fat), dried red chili, momo (dumplings with cheese or meat fillings), thukpa (noodle soup), ezay (ground chili paste or a mixture of chili and other seasonings with cottage cheese).
Goep (tripe), phaksha pa (pork cooked with red chilies, radish or spinach) and jasha maru (spicy minced chicken) are other Bhutanese favorites.
Buckwheat, barley and maize are also consumed in several parts of Bhutan. Common vegetables include potatoes, spinach, pumpkin, radish, green beans, ferns (“nakey”), tomatoes, onion and varieties of mushroom. Bhutanese food is usually characterized by spiciness and hotness.
Highlanders in Bhutan also take suja (butter tea) but milk tea and coffee are becoming increasingly popular among the townspeople. Local brewed wine called “ara” is commonly served during festivities and pujas (religious ceremonies) though a lot of people take beer and other imported alcohols as well.