Journey to the last Shangrila, Bhutan - What did I eat in Bhutan?

Most people don't visit Bhutan for food. It is not a place for foodie. There will be not much choice in terms of food. Tour guide will arrange all meals for your during the entire trip. All meals included in the package are served in buffet style.

Big brands like Mac Donald's, Starbucks, Subway are not allowed to set up shop in Bhutan. You might want to bring your own comfort food. Whenever I travel, I will always buy some chips (local exclusive flavors) from the nearest convenience shop around the hotel I stay then sit on the bed, turn on the TV and spend my entire night watching TV. But there isn't any in Bhutan! So I brought bak kwa (BBQ meat), Japanese chocolate and Kettle potato chips from Singapore. Luckily I still get to enjoy my TV in Bhutan, there are HBO channel, Fox Movie and etc.  

There are a lot of farmers in Bhutan. As an agrarian country, most people eat what they grow. Bhutan is a Buddhist country so they do not slaughter the animal they eat. They eat meat and I would say most of them do. All meat are imported from India or somewhere else outside of Bhutan.

Usually there will be 5 to 7 dishes including at least one meat dish such as fish, chicken, beef, mutton or pork.

Like our Singapore style economic rice.

Ema datshi

Bhutanese love chilies. Their love for chilies can be found in all Bhutanese dishes. Chilies are part of their life and most Bhutanese will not enjoy their meal that is not spicy. If you love chili, you will enjoy in Bhutan. Ema datshi is Bhutan national dish. It is made from chili (green or red) and cheese, ema means chili, datshi means cheese. Sometimes green bean, tomato or mushroom will be added into ema datshi.

Initially I couldn't accept the combination of chili and cheese. Can you imagine chili + cheese? That's a super weird thing to me. Surprisingly I fall in love with this dish after a few try. I asked for additional chili cheese from air stewardess on my way back flight from Bhutan to Singapore and I even searched for recipe after I came back to Singapore. LoL.

Green chili cheese, Uma by COMO Paro

Red chili cheese, Paro farmhouse


Breakfast in 3-star hotel is usually served with pancake, toast bread, egg, fried rice, veggie dish and it's also served in buffet style. Some hotels do offer American breakfast too. 

Most of the hotels' breakfast serving hour end at 9am which I found that too early. Sometimes just want to laze or sleep a while more but because of the breakfast time I gotta wake up early for it =_='''

Breakfast in Uma by COMO Paro (5-star hotel). There is croissant, ham, yogurt and omelette. This was the best breakfast I had in Bhutan. The croissant was very nice and the yogurt, I added honey, berries, nuts and raisins into it, it's so delicious! 

Breakfast in Hotel Lobesa (3-star hotel). Pancake with banana, fried egg, veggie, chili cheese, fried rice. Hmmm not too bad. 

Breakfast we had in Paro town restaurant before hiking to Tiger Nest. This breakfast was my partner's favorite.


My first meal in Bhutan, in Paro town. Sorry I didn't know the name of this restaurant but I know it works closely with Druk Asia. It is on second storey and there is a barber shop below the restaurant.

Fried potato, chicken, red rice, mushroom in cheese sauce and banana.

Lunch I had in a restaurant 5 minutes drive from Dochula Pass, not the one opposite Dochula Pass. Bottom right was a fried fish dish, quite salty.

This restaurant (I don't know the name) is somewhere near the entrance to village of Sopsokha (Divine Madman, Fertility Temple). It was the best lunch I had in Bhutan. Very nice and lunch was served ala carte.

Pan fried fish

Pasta in tomato sauce



Traditional Bhutanese dinner set in Uma by COMO Paro (5-star hotel)


Dessert. It tasted a little weird to me. 

Wagyu beef steak dinner set in Uma by COMO Paro. Since this is a 5-star hotel which I paid a lot (USD690) for a night, I expect a lot from this hotel. I think my steak taste better than Uma's.

It came with mashed potato and pan fried scallops too.

Pan fried scallops

Naan were served before dinner. 

Dinner in Hotel Lobesa (3-star hotel). Fried fish, green veggie, dumpling (stuffed with cheese and some veggie). I think the dumpling would taste nicer with meat inside.

Dinner in a farmhouse in Paro. Potato, curry beef, scrambled egg, chili cheese and white rice. It may look simple but this was the best dinner I had in Bhutan. I love the spiciness. It somehow increase my appetite. 

Don't be put off by this post if you are planning to visit Bhutan. There are so much more to explore in Bhutan. Food was not that bad and it's better than I thought. Read my post here - How to plan your Bhutan trip? Click here to read day 1day 2day 3day 4day 5day 6 report

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