Bhutanese cuisine (Dzongkha: འབྲུག་ཟས་; Wylie: brug-zas) employs a lot of red rice (like brown rice in texture, but with a nutty taste, the only variety of rice that grows at high altitudes), buckwheat, and increasingly maize. The diet in the hills also includes chicken, yak meat, dried beef, pork, pork fat, and mutton. Soups and stews of meat, rice, ferns, lentils, and dried vegetables, spiced with chili peppers and cheese, are a favorite meal during the cold seasons. Zow shungo is a rice dish mixed with leftover vegetables. Ema datshi, made very spicy with cheese and chili peppers (similar to chili con queso), might be called the national dish for its ubiquity and the pride that Bhutanese have for it. Other foods include jasha maru (a chicken dish), phaksha paa, thukpa, bathup, and fried rice. Popular snacks include momo (Bhutanese dumplings), shakam eezay, and liver. Dairy foods, particularly butter and cheese from yaks and cows, are also popular, and indeed almost all milk is turned into butter and cheese. Popular beverages include butter tea, black tea, locally brewed ara (rice wine), and beer. Spices include curry, cardamom, ginger, chili peppers, thingay (Sichuan pepper), garlic, turmeric, and caraway.
When offered food, one says meshu meshu, covering one's mouth with the hands in refusal according to Bhutanese manners, and then gives in on the second or third offer.