Sunday, January 23, 2011

DAY 2-4: Super strong chilli and super strong beer

One has to eat to survive. So over the weekend I started discovering what Bhutan has to offer food-wise. First, I went to a safe place: a nearby store where almost every product seemed to be a well-known brand made in neighboring India. I got my cornflakes, rice, milk, tea, instant coffee, and lots of local bottled water. One of the Bhutanese mineral waters is called Kurje Drupchu and its label celebrates the SAARC Summit (South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation) which was last year held, for the first time, in Bhutan. Imagine your favorite Evian bottle promoting the last G8 meeting held in your country and you immediately feel why Bhutan is a unique place.

Currently, I drink, cook, and wash my teeth only with this bottled water. It may be an exaggerated measure to avoid bacteria, but I can't afford becoming ill. I still have a lot to do.

On Saturday, I went to the weekend food market which is in a two-storey building in Thimphu center. Downstairs, again, every vegetable and fruit is imported from India and they are far from being organic. Upstairs, you find more or less the same products - except most fruits - from local farms with no chemicals in them.

In the evening, I had dinner at the Druk Hotel where I was the only guest due to off-season and renovation. I paid 400 Ngultrum ($10) for two great vegetarian dishes with Indian garlic nan bread and a bottle of 8% local beer labelled as Super Strong Beer. And I had an excellent conversation with two very friendly waiters, one of whom used to play football at school as a right winger and earns 5000 Ngultrum ($25) a month without tips.

If you wish, you can buy the original Druk 11000 label on Ebay for $4.

On Sunday, I stayed at home and tried to cook what I ate at the hotel: Kewa Datsi, the traditional Bhutanese potato, cheese and chilli meal.  Deviating from the hotel recipe designed for Western tourists, I decided to use local cheese, not Indian, and put a bit more chilli in it to make it HOT. I'm not sure if I followed the original recipe, but it was REALLY hot and I didn't have any super strong beer at home to kill the fire...


  1. Had a good time going through your blog. I couldn't help laughing when I read the line "....I'm not sure if I followed the original recipe, but it was REALLY hot and I didn't have any super strong beer at home to kill the fire..." Hope you had or having a pleasant time in Bhutan. :)

  2. judging by the way you write, i guess you are really funny human being... every write-ups in ur blog is funny... can't stop laughing.. :)