Can you imagine Bhutanese cuisine?

Bhutanese cuisine may not be familiar in Japan, one of the most impressive features is “spiciness/extremely hot”.

A typical and traditional cuisine of Bhutan is “Ema Datse”, which is a cuisine in which hot Chili (“Ema” in Bhutan’s words) is stewed with cheese (“Datse”). As the other cuisines are similar with Ema Datse, there are such as “Shamu Datse” using mushrooms and “Meto Kopi Datse” using cauliflower.

“Red/Green peppers” are essential for Bhutanese cuisines, does not disappear from the market year-round, as a fresh “Ema” during the harvest season and as a dry “Ema” during the winter season. Fresh peppers are often eaten not only as spices but also as part of vegetable salads.

Ezay, a seasoning made with Red peppers, is also indispensable in Bhutanese cuisines. “Ezay” is used as a seasoning for tomatoes, onions, salads, all other cuisines, rice, and” Momo” (a cuisine like to dumplings eaten in Japan). In addition, the taste of “Ezay” varies depending on people, regions, ingredients, and how to make it. Therefore, every time you eat meals in Bhutan, you can encounter a wide variety of “Ezay”.

Some restaurants offer a mild spicy Bhutanese cuisine for those who do not like extremely spicy foods.

Here are some basic information about Bhutanese diet.

Staple food: The Bhutanese staple food is rice. There are various types of rice on the market. One of the most common rice is red rice. Rice that is generally eaten in Japan is called “Japan Rice” in Bhutan.

In a region called “Bumthang” which is in the center of Bhutan, buckwheat is grown widely. People who live there eat fried soba noodles called “Puta” with pepper and fried soba dough called “Khule”, which is like a hot baked pancake.

Meats: Bhutan cuisine uses beef, pork, chicken, and fish. It is also common to use dried meat. In some areas, yak meat is used. One of the traditional cuisines is “Paksha Pa”, which is cooked with seasoned pork, radish, and pepper. “Paksha” means pork, and there is “Nosha Pa” using beef.

In Bhutan, there are listed month / days clearly in the calendar when does not sell meat at the shop. During the month and the day, no meat is sold in markets, retailers, or other markets. Meat cuisines are served at the restaurant if the meat stock is available.

Fish: Raw and dried fish are sold at the market. As with meat, eat with vegetables and pepper.

Tea: In Bhutan, butter tea called “Suja” is a favorite drink. In addition, milk tea called “Gaja” is often drunk. You may also find tea bags such as cordyceps, herbal tea, green tea, and black tea at stores.

Alcohol: Traditional liquor is made at home from rice, wheat, corn, and other ingredients. It has a high alcohol content, is transparent like Sake and is called “Arra”. In addition, alcohol such as fermented alcohol called “Shinchhang” may behave. In addition, many kinds of Bhutan’s domestic whiskey and beer are sold on the market and are also provided at restaurants and other places.

Momo: Food like dumplings eaten in Japan. “Momo” is made by adding an assortment of vegetables, meat, cheese, etc. to the skin made of flour. There are “Beef Momo” using beef, “Vege Momo” using only vegetables without meat, and “Cheese Momo” using cheese. In addition to steamed “Momo”, some restaurants also offer fried” Momo” and grilled” Momo”. I have never eaten “Momo” using pepper, but it is common to eat Momo with a spice “Eze” made from pepper.