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Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Food Situation

I came to Bumthang under the impression most food items were going to be difficult to get. I stocked up on pasta and have a giant bag of rice, purchased more oil, soy sauce and oyster sauce than I ever thought I would need, and resigned myself to a life of bland foods... well three months at least.

Upon my arrival I found that there is a veritable pantheon of vegetables and fruits available, you just have to get to the market. Granted it's only a 10 minute drive, but I am carless so a brisk 30 minute walk there and back is in the cards. I will be happy for the extra exercise and really don't have much to do on Saturdays anyway. Food experimentation will be fun!

Meat is available for purchase here, but there is a bit of a catch. Buddhist do not believe in taking the life of another living thing and therefore will not kill anything for food. They will, however, eat something another has killed. Since 97% of the country is Buddhist, this does pose a problem. Most meat is butchered in India and then transported to Bhutan. In Thimphu or Paro this isn't a big deal since they are the "major" cities. Meat butchered and prepared for Bumthang can take almost a week to get here which would be fine, but refrigeration is not a guarantee and more often than not, the objection rather than the rule. I don't really need to risk a food borne illness, so being a vegetarian is the route I am taking, (Eggs don't fall under this Buddhist mantra so I will have those for breakfast!)

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