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Revolutionary Cuisine

How is it that Asia’s knack for wonderful nosh basically bypassed Bhutan?  It’s like the whole country didn’t get the memo.

Yes, it’s remote, landlocked, and was for centuries shut to foreign travellers and influence.  But still, you’d expect a country sandwiched between India and China to have at least some sense of gastronomy, some flair in the kitchen.  Alas, dear foodies, Bhutan is not a hot pot hot spot.  It’s not a country of diverse and delicious noodle dishes.  It’s not a destination where you’ll find delicate spicing, carved carrots, or succulent desserts.  Nope.  It’s more like Cuba—about which some hungry traveller once commented that the three tragedies of the Revolution were breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Believe me, we don’t report this information with any sense of glee.  We love food and we love Bhutan and its gracious, smiley people.  We’d like nothing more than to tell you that eating in Bhutan is a distinct pleasure.  But sometimes the truth hurts—reality doesn’t want to bite.  As sad as the situation may be, we find it equally curious.  Open-air markets are decently stocked with fresh produce, locals dry chili peppers on rooftops, and there’s plenty of arable (albeit hilly) land.  Perhaps the Bhutanese are so satiated by living in a gorgeous happy country that they’ve not needed to turn to truffles for ambrosia.

Having said all of this, it would be unfair not to mention the few culinary bright spots that we did find.  All five of the suite and serene Amankora lodges serve comparatively fine food in their small restaurants.  Home-cooked dumplings (or momos) can be yummy.  And dried yak’s cheese is surprisingly enjoyable, if not for everyone.  As for the butter tea, you’ll just have to make the trip and judge for yourself.

Charlie Scott would happily put up with a not-so-steller meal for some steller Bhutanese hiking. 


Sometimes the truth hurts—reality doesn’t want to bite.

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