Authentic Bhutanese Souvenirs from Eastern Bhutan

Email

Every district and village produce distinct products in Bhutan. To encourage rural communities to produce more authentic souvenirs and products, under the leadership of Her Majesty the Queen of Bhutan, the concept of OGOP (One Gewog, One Product) was introduced to cater to the growing demand in the market.

Bhutan’s population is in many ways, one large family. Around 65% of the people live on subsistence farming. These farmers are scattered in populated villages across the rugged terrains of the Himalayas. Rice as the staple diet in the lower regions and wheat, buckwheat, and maize in other valleys. Terrace farming - the practice of cutting flat areas out of a mountainous landscape or hilly areas to grow crops is prevalent.

In the past, Bhutanese communities settled in the valleys with limited communication. It is for this reason that the sense of individualism and independence are strong characteristics of the people. 


Her Majesty the Queen of Bhutan, Jetsun Pema at OGOP Shop
(One Gewog, One Product) OGOP
One Gewog One Product (OGOP) is Her Majesty the Queen's initiative in 2015 to market farmers' produce to enhance the rural economy. OGOP focuses on providing end-to-end interventions to support the farmers in scaling, packaging, and marketing of their produce.

As of 2018, OGOP has purchased products worth more than Nu.10 million from farmers - food, herbs, handicrafts - showcasing 60 products of what Bhutanese can produce and sell, and to motivate the farmers. By 2018, OGOP had expanded this collection to more than 100 products from 80 gewogs, representing skills in art and craft, agriculture and dairy, herbs, packaged food, spices, and pickles, amongst others.

Souvenirs from the East
In Bhutan, Paro is known as the top hub to purchase souvenirs due to the sheer number of souvenir shops along the town. However, one should know that every district in Bhutan offers different unique products. Below are some of the popular souvenirs one should purchase while traveling to the Eastern part of Bhutan.

Tengma 'Beaten maize'

Tengma/Seap (Bhutanese beaten corn) is roasted and pounded maize used as breakfast cereal, often eaten with tea and snacks. Bhutanese people love binging on Tengma as a healthier option instead of snacks. Many people from the countryside around the country who grows maize, produces Tengma. However, since the eastern part of Bhutan grows more maize compared to the other regions, thus Sharshops is best known for Tengma production. One of the most popular places where local vendors sell Tengma is in Mongar-Lhuntse Junction.

Walnut 

Every household in eastern Bhutan will have at least one walnut tree around the vicinity. Besides cultivating potato, paddy, and maize, the Sharchops also grow cardamom and walnut due to the profitability of the crops. For the people of Maentsang Village of Bartsham Gewog in Trashigang, walnut has now become an alternate source of income. 

Zhitpa (Zetoe) – Fermented Cheese from the Highland

The yaks and the cattles are literally the bread and butter of the semi-nomadic people of Merak, the Brokpas. These Brokpa herders depend on the yaks for milk, cheese, meat, wool and leather. The fermented Brokpa cheese or the “Zoedue” is the most sought after item for many Bhutanese chefs and housewives. The zoedue serves as a seasoning and adds flavors to authentic Bhutanese dishes. To acquire the zoedue, fresh cheese is placed and sewn up in the sheep's stomach, and then wrapped in yak's skins and kept for a few months to mature. The longer they keep it, the better the zoedue. A kilogram of fermented cheese could cost from Nu. 500 upward. 

Wood-Turned Lacquerware

Dappa (rice plate with lid), Geylong Zheycha (bowl used by monks of Kagyu sect of Buddhism), Gophor (bowls with lid), Draphor (bowl used by monks of Gelugpa sect), Pa-Dappa (large Dappa used as meat containers), Phob (cup), Tsamder (used for serving snacks), Lhungzed and Karma-Lhungzed (begging bowls), Nyey shan phob (Silver inlaid cup), Lafor (small bowl with lid used by monks), and new products include goblets, locally called beer cup.
 
These woodcrafts are very popular in Trashiyangtse Dzongkhag. According to the locals, these wooden bowls are an integral part of the Tibetan lifestyle and this explains the high demand for these products in Tibet. In a world where ancient cultural heritage is fast disappearing in the shadows of modernization, Trashiyangtse’s woodturning art shows no sign of dying. One of the institutes of 13th Arts and Craft (Institute of Zorig Chusum) is established in Tashiyangtse to preserve the traditions. With high market demand, dappa production has increased by leaps and bounds.
 
There are also other popular local products some of which one can purchase from Bhutan Natural online


Related Posts

Amazing Stories from the Eastern Part of Bhutan

You can't say you have visited the eastern part of Bhutan unless you have experienced the following bizarre things.

Mar 02, 2020 19:02

Miniature Bhutan Creates Amazing Artworks Out Of Pencil Lead And...

Miniature Bhutan carves on the lead of pencil tips to make traditional miniature sculptures such as the Buddha,...

Sep 10, 2018 12:44

Support authentic Bhutanese handicrafts by local artisans

Whether you are interested in artisanal Bhutanese handicrafts or boutique sourced products with contemporary touch, the...

Mar 25, 2021 12:09

Bhutan- The Kingdom of Peppers

Bhutan is a country with the highest per-capita consumption of chilli.

Sep 26, 2020 09:15

Are Local Vendors Earning More Money Than the Civil Servant?

A Farmer from Lango, Paro gave up farming to be vendor while office goers are switching into agriculture as the remedy...

Jul 27, 2020 19:15

Once the booming Handicraft Shops in Paro Dying- Paro Today

Paro town looks so different in its history as tourist destination in Bhutan.

Jun 24, 2020 16:58

Latest

News

How the small Himalayan nation Bhutan combats COVID-19 efficiently

With just 37 doctors, 1200 vaccination centers and less than 3000 healthcare workers, Bhutan vaccinated 93% of its eligible population...

May 12, 2021 12:54

Bhutan will supply oxygen to India to alleviate dire healthcare crisis

An oxygen plant in Samdrup Jongkhar, eastern Bhutan will supply liquid oxygen to India.

Apr 28, 2021 11:22

Features

RENEW and Ministry of Education collaborate to improve menstrual health management

On May 11 2021, Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women (RENEW) and Ministry of Education signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to...

May 12, 2021 14:43

6 popular beverages to enjoy in Bhutan

From butter tea to different types of alcohol, Bhutan has something for everyone.

May 11, 2021 10:54

Sports

What's with the unique archery culture in Bhutan?

In Bhutan, archery is more than just a sport. It is a way of life. The dancing, the singing, the drinking—it is a manifestation of the...

Apr 19, 2021 10:40

Contributing to the country through the love for football

It's been a month since the conclusion of Bhutan Premier League 2020. Daily Bhutan interviews Paro FC to find out more about the club. Below...

Dec 21, 2020 17:05

Business

Support authentic Bhutanese handicrafts by local artisans

Whether you are interested in artisanal Bhutanese handicrafts or boutique sourced products with contemporary touch, the incredible...

Mar 25, 2021 12:09

Authentic Bhutanese Souvenirs from Eastern Bhutan

Every district and village produce distinct products in Bhutan. To encourage rural communities to produce more authentic souvenirs and...

Dec 25, 2020 22:13

Travel

8 most popular festivals in Bhutan that you should check out

Bhutanese festivals are colourfully vibrant affairs that draw crowds from all over the world.

May 14, 2021 17:15

Bhutan's national parks and wildlife sanctuaries

Bhutan is a green country with a rich environment, magnificent mountains, beautiful landscapes, and rich wildlife and gurgling rivers. It is...

May 05, 2021 12:16

Lifestyle

Khata: The multipurpose Bhutanese scarf

“Khatas are the Buddhist equivalent of a hallmark card.” —Married to Bhutan by Linda Leaming

Apr 29, 2021 10:53

Bhutanese enjoy the hardest cheese in the world like chewing gums

The Bhutanese love their cheese. They even have one that’s arguably the hardest in the world.

Apr 26, 2021 12:38

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!