The cuisine of Bhutan is peculiarly difficult to approach. Derived in good measure from Tibetan cuisine, it is as complicated and influenced, yet simple, and complicated by its own influences.

Like that of Tibet, Bhutanese cuisine is hardly vegetarian, using ox, pork, chicken, now beef and various other protein sources. Fish is not expected, but the essential new world items of potatoes and tomatoes are not unexpectected.

The cooking techniques are mostly of low temperature. Stir frying is not normative; rarified and complex stewing techniques are.

Bhutanese cuisine is redolent with hot chilies, with a level of hotness about that of thailand; the Bhutanese just use more of them in many of their dishes. They also use a cheese "datschi" where the Thais, like the Chinese are classically unaware of cheeses at all. Perhaps because of living at such high altitudes, as Tibetans, their diet is rich in both proteins and fats. Nevertheless, rice is an importantant part of the diet; both white and red rice is often served with each meal.

What is also served almost at each meal, and as an anytime snack with rice is a wonderfully picante dish called 'emma datschi', of many strips of hot peppers in a mildly, but complexly spiced cheese sauce.

This might easily be called the national dish of Bhutan. The closest one might come to this extraordinary dish are certain dishes of Mexico. The cheese and hot pepper combination is not found in many other cuisines.

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