Globally Bhutan is a small country with strong identity and unity. But, the uniqueness in Bhutanese culture is its influence of Buddhism. Its cultural legacy and spiritualism is very similar to this religion. Prayer flags, prayer wheels, monasteries, stupas combine together for an elaborate and diversified culture. Though urban culture have intruded slowly in Bhutan, but people still live in villages and live a traditional lifestyle. The prime occupation of Bhutanese is agriculture. The biggest and the most distinct quality that differs Bhutan from rest of the world is that there is no Military power and no economic force. It’s their language, architecture and their intricate cloths which make them stand out.
Dresses of Bhutan
The vibrant cloths of Bhutan depict its warm hospitality. The traditionally cloths are hand woven. Machine made traditional attires are for daily wears. But woven dresses are worn in special occasions that include at births, offices, marriages, deaths and even in promotions. Women wears ‘Kera’; an ankle length dress made from fine woven fabrics. Under Kira, women wears ‘Wonju’(blouse); which is placed over the shoulder with a ‘Koma’ (silver buckle). Over the dress a ‘Toego’ (jacket) is worn. The entire outfit gets completed by necklace made of turquoise, corals and other precious stones and these ‘Dzi’ beads are called ‘tears of god’. The decorations, patterns and colors determine social status and class of women in Bhutan. On the other hand, men wear ‘Gho’ which is tied in the waist with a small hand woven belt. Above the belt, a large pouch is formed where they can carry betel nut and a bowl. Long socks and traditionally made boots complete the entire dress.
Cuisines of Bhutan
The distinctive and unusual Bhutanese Cuisines have an obsession about chilies. Chilies are considered as a vegetable for the Bhutanese rather than granting it as a spice. There is hardly any recipe that exists in Bhutan that might not have used this ingredient. Rice is staple to Bhutan followed by one or two curries. In Dzongkha (language of Bhutan) it is known as tshoem. As the climatic condition of Bhutan is colder, the use of chilies is therefore higher in the regions. The profusion of pork, beef and chicken are commonly used in the non vegetarian platter. Pumpkin, Radish, River weeds, Tomatoes, Turnips, Green beans and Spinach are mostly eaten in vegetable section. In grains, Rice, Buckwheat, and Barley are consumed depending on the weather positions.
Below are the lists of delectable Bhutanese dishes:
Ema Datshi: This is predominantly the National dish of Bhutan. Ema means Chilies and Datshi in Bhutanese is Cheese. It is a spicy blend of split chilies in abundance with cheese preparation is considered to be the chief dish in nearly every meal found in the country. The recipe of Ema Datshi varies with the inclusion of green beans, Potatoes (kewa), ferns and mushrooms.
Phaksha Paa: This a local preparation of Pork cooked with Radish and Spinach along with a big hip of spicy red chilies in it. This dish is cooked by first stewing the pork pieces with Radish and chili powder. Later, fresh chilies, Bok Choy, ginger, dried pork is added and stirred together until done.
Momos: These mini dumplings are made after rolling dough into small circular flat pieces and stuffed with ground beef, chicken, cheese or cabbage according to the demand and availability. Most of the time fat meats are used which after steamed, produces intensive juicy momos. An all time Bhutanese favorite.
Red Rice: This rice is high in nutrition values and is steamed and eaten. This rice is heavier and has a nutty and earthy flavor in it. It is deep red in color and fades to pink after cooking for 20 minutes.
Jasha Maru: This is the most authentic Bhutanese preparation, cooked by initially mincing chicken, tomatoes, green chilies and spices. Serve this tempting delectable with piping hot rice.
Khur Le: This is the term used for buckwheat pancakes. Very tasty and delicious.
Goep: The term Goep means Tripe which is basically edible offal of various farm animals’ stomach. Though the popularity of tripe has declined to a certain rate, but in Bhutan it is still enjoyed. This dish is also prepared with lots of split chilies and chili powder.