Do you know Bhutan’s actual national dish?

Many people know of Ema Datshi as Bhutan’s national dish. It appeared in the news last year after Bollywood Actress Deepika Padukone spoke about it. 

However, a lesser known fact is that Sikam Paa is Bhutan’s actual national dish. It is one of the most popular Bhutanese delicacies.

Dry pork, onion, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, chilies, and dried turnips make up Sikam Paa. The only downside to this dish is that it cannot be served to vegetarians. 

The pork is air-dried at home and can be bought from a local meat shop too. 

History of Bhutan’s National Dish

Throughout generations, Sikam Paa has been deemed sumptuous, akin to the dried pork it features. People traditionally enjoy this dish during celebrations like promotion parties, weddings, and the annual ritual. Additionally, it serves as an offering during Sokhe to local deities.

The dish’s popularity has peaked in recent times. Locals no longer wait for a special occasion to eat the dish. 

The dish’s popularity can be attributed to the growing restaurant culture in the country. It can also be attributed to the country’s economic growth. 

Pair Sikam Paa with Bhutanese red rice for the best culinary experience.

Dish Preparation 

  • Boil Sikam for about 15 minutes until the water disappears
  • Put one teaspoon of oil 
  • Put some dried chilies or fresh green chilies, onion, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and a vegetable of your choice. Options: Dried pumpkin, Potato, Radish.
  • Make sure to put just enough water for the dish to not dry 
  • Cook for another 7-10 minutes

Watch another way to prepare the dish

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