Dzongkha is the main medium of communication in Bhutan and is native of the people of the Western region. The Eastern Bhutanese speak sharchopkha while the people in the south use nepali as their everyday language. English is the medium of instruction in schools and colleges and every literate person around the country is familiar with the language.
Bhutan has large ethnic and cultural diversities, quite unique for a country with very little population. The Tshanglas/ sharchops are the natives of the Eastern region. Ngalops inhabit the Western part while Bumthaps and Mangdeps the Central region. The Lhotshampas live in the Southern part of the country and the Kurtoeps in the Central North-East region. The Brokpas occupy the Center-Eastern region. All these ethnic tribes speak different dialects and have cultures unique to their regions.
Bhutanese meals mainly consist of rice and vegetable/meat. Amongst many others, there are two prominent types of rice in Bhutan; white and red rice. The red, as the name says it, is reddish in color, with an earthy flavor. It is grown in the higher altitude places in Bhutan. The white rice is grown in some southern valleys while also imported in bulk from the neighbouring state of India. The curry consists of vegetables cooked with cottage cheese, onion, tomatoes salt and oil. It is the local cheese that gives the curry its unique Bhutanese taste. Bhutanese like different meat depending on their own taste while some prefer to be vegetarians. The meat cooked are either fresh or dried and preserved ones.
‘Ema datsi’, which directly translates to chilly and cheese is spicy chilly curry cooked in cheese which is popular in every region in Bhutan. Bhutanese are quite fond of chillies and even children get used to eating it after their parents and family. There are many other dishes unique to a place or region depending on the resources they produce and have. ‘Suja,’ the buttered tea, is another favourite of the Bhutanese. Prepared with water, salt, butter and local tea leaf, it is also liked by the visiting foreigners.
All the three meals consist of rice with curry which is normally eaten with hands and not with a spoon and a fork but with modernization setting in Bhutanese are now adopting western culture as well. As much as you will enjoy the landscape, culture and tradition of the country, you will also appreciate the food here served with immense love and happiness.