Air Dried

The final local meal in Bhutan was delicious a picnic lunch served under a cobalt blue sky, I had just finished the walk from the Chele la pass and wasn’t sure if life could have gotten much better at that point. Perhaps with beer…
But, back below the tree line in a clearing near the road side a memorable meal in a tranquil setting sure was welcome. With old mans beard hanging from the trees, a monastery nestled under a cliff towards the mountainous horizon, the only sound was our eating and the occasional bird, the pine needles fell silently through the air.

p1040627The menu consisted of:

-Potatoes fried like chips with chilli and spring onion
-Dried pumpkin fried with onion, dried chilli and bitter melon
-Egg curry a thin sauce made from onion, garlic, ginger, chilli powder, mustard oil, with dairy free scrambled egg added.
-Chilli cheese with green chilli
-Chicken curry, an on the bone curry onion, made with garlic , ginger, fresh chilli and chilli powder
– All served with the fantastic local red rice


The chicken curry was quite similar to a few dishes I tried, one pork, another few chicken, occasionally with tomato added or mustard greens. It was spicy, but didn’t resemble a curry in the Indian or Thai style, more a thin stew with chilli, slightly sweetened and like all the Bhutanese food I’ve tried, perfectly seasoned.

Other meat dishes that were worthy of note all came courtesy of local restaurants, as dodgy as the initially seem, they served some fantastic food


Shakam datshi – Air dried beef with chilli and cheese
This was like a wetter version of chilli cheese with added pieces of reconstituted dried beef and spring onion.

C-kam pau – Air dried pork
Superbly fatty slices of dried pork, simmered with daikon slices, chilli powder, dried red chillies, and spring onion until tender, the cooking liquid reduced to a reddish syrup.

Beef momo –These Tibetan dumplings are popular
The beef stuffing was combined with spring onion and ginger filling, the pastry firm to the bite, served with a paste of cheese and chilli flakes.

Pork ribs with dried chilli and potato – I can’t say I caught the Bhutanese name
The meaty pork ribs are first fried to brown then simmered with dried chillies, onion and potato until both the pork and potatoes are tender.

Chicken with chilli, tomato and spinach
This was more like an Indian style of dish, that is with loads on heavily cooked onions to carry the fresh chilli and tomato goo that ultimately coated the bone in chicken pieces.