Feeding The Land of the Thunder Dragon


With a nickname like “The Land of the Thunder Dragon,” it’s only fitting that Thimphu’s delicacies are raging with spice! Dried peppers, Sichuan peppercorn, and local cheese are popular ingredients used in Bhutanese cuisine. Encounter a variety of chili (ema) and cheese (datshi) dishes eaten with either Himalayan red rice or tsampa (roasted barley dough). Hop through our listed spots and you’ll notice a few staples repeat on each menu. Every restaurant in town has a unique way of preparing their Bhutanese specials, so no two plates are ever alike. Find your favorites and eat your heart out!

Updated 10 months ago

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Folk Heritage Museum Restaurant

Thimphu, Bhutan • Recommendation • 10 months ago

A visit to the Folk Heritage Museum’s in-house restaurant is a rite of passage for any visitor to Thimphu! Feast on a banquet of authentic Bhutanese food made with locally farmed and organic produce. Spoon a bit of Ema Datshi (dried chilis with cottage cheese) or Sikam Paa (dried pork belly with chilis) into your own bowl of rice; then, do as the locals do and dig in with your hands! There’s plenty to go around the table since servings are generous. Between bites, cool down your palate with a sip of their Suja (herbal tea with yak butter). Reservations are required, so book a low table on the patio for the full experience!


Folk Heritage Museum, Kawangjangsa, Thimphu, Bhutan

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Zombala 2

Thimphu, Bhutan • Recommendation • 10 months ago

Zombala is the go-to place for some Momos (Tibetan-style dumplings)! They’ve branched out to a second location, hence Zombala 2, and expanded their menu. Pay them a visit to try their Momos: steamed, deep-fried, meat, or vegetarian. Just write your order on the provided paper and it should be out in a flash. Pile up the dumplings, then douse with chili sauce!


Phendey Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan

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Wangchen Momo Corner

Thimphu, Bhutan • Recommendation • 10 months ago

Tucked away in Centenary Farmer’s Market, Wangchen Momo Corner draws in locals and tourists for a hefty afternoon snack. Gorge on an assortment of steamed Momos stuffed either with beef or cheese! They go perfectly well with the diner’s other offerings: Thukpa (noodle soup), Chow Mein (stir-fried noodles), or Fried Rice. In true Bhutanese fashion, tables are stocked with pots of chili paste for that extra kick. Share a table, as the place is usually packed, and hopefully make a few new friends!


Near the Centenary Farmers Market, Chogal Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan

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Peace Restaurant (Tibetan Uncle)

Thimphu, Bhutan • Recommendation • 10 months ago

Peace Restaurant goes by many informal names, like Acho La (“Big Brother”) or Tibetan Uncle, both referring to its friendly proprietor. Uncle greets and serves all from the mini kitchen behind the counter. Usually, the menu consists of their famed steamed dumplings along with some stews. Protip: order Ting Momo (steamed bread) and dip into the curry! Keep a sharp eye out around the Druk Shopping Complex as this tiny eatery is pretty hidden.

Behind the Druk Shopping Complex, Norin Lam 2, Thimphu. Bhutan

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Kalden Restaurant

Thimphu, Bhutan • Recommendation • 10 months ago

Every day, Kalden Restaurant welcomes a steady stream of customers hankering for a meal just like momma made it. Join blue-collared workers and prosperous businessmen for a delightful, home-style lunch. All the usual Datshi dishes are available, as well as Shakam Paa (beef jerky with dried chilis) and Cheese Egg Fry. Enjoy with a heaping plate of Himalayan Red Rice and a glass of complimentary Dao (buttermilk)!


Chang Lam Road, Thimphu, Bhutan

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Bhutan Kitchen

Thimphu, Bhutan • Recommendation • 10 months ago

Every meal at Bhutan Kitchen starts with a celebratory shot of home-brewed Ara (Bhutanese liquor)! It sets the tone for the laid-back, genial atmosphere that hangs in the air as different tour groups and locals indulge. Make a beeline towards the buffet counter and try whatever strikes your fancy. Definitely get a good helping of Kewa Datshi, a hearty potato dish bathed in a smoky cheese sauce! The spice levels here are a tad tamer as Bhutan Kitchen caters widely to foreigners.


Gatoen Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan

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Chig-Ja-Gye at Taj Tashi

Thimphu, Bhutan • Recommendation • 10 months ago

Amidst the various no-frills eateries around town, Chig-Ja-Gye at the Taj Tashi pampers its patrons with a bit of local luxury. A stunning view of the mountains stretches outside the windows, inviting diners to settle in. Chig-Ja-Gye saves you from the difficulty of choice by presenting several set menus (vegetarian or non-vegetarian). Savor traditional dishes mixed in with a few international surprises! Servers are attentive with regards to special requests—you may ask them to tone down the spice.


Taj Tashi Hotel, Samten Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan

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