32 New Things: Drink Butter Tea

Last week, I drank butter tea with an exiled Bhutanese political leader. Also, we watched Cartoon Network with his grandson and ate the Bhutanese equivalent of jalapeno poppers.


I was prepared to hate butter tea (as anyone who’s read Three Cups of Tea probably would) but it’s good, you guys! Or rather, if you view it less as ‘tea’ and more as ‘soup-esque stuff you drink out of a mug’ it’s good. It tastes pretty much exactly the way you’d expect black tea with butter and salt to taste. Once my hosts discovered that I liked it, I was served four cups one after the other.And then we obviously had to dress up in traditional Bhutanese gear and take pictures of me standing next to all my tiny Nepali friends and laugh.


What’s the strangest food you’ve had while traveling? (Once I accidentally ate cubes of congealed duck blood!)

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  1. Bev

    I am curious to try that tea, but it does sound…odd! The strangest thing I've tried is actually quite tame – Calamari when I was in Italy. I wasn't prepared for the texture though, my mum had told me it was an onion ring to trick me into eating it! x

  2. Natasha

    Wow, I'd love to visit Bhutan! In fact I'd love to travel the entire world, but unfortunately that'll have to wait until I have a job, haha. The strangest thing I've had on holiday, wouldn't be strange to the majority of people out there, but I had some rabbit on holiday in Majorca. Great blog post! xxx

  3. Rachael

    black pudding in Ireland and emu jerky in Australia. Both are not my cup of (butter) tea πŸ˜‰

  4. Mandy

    That looks pretty delicious to me, actually. Is it really salty?

    My weirdest was probably pork blood soup, complete with little squares of congealed pork blood floating in it, which I had twice in Thailand. I tried it the first time because it looked absolutely delicous. It was…ok. Nothing special either way. The second time I had it because it was the only thing being sold at the village market we were at. It was being sold by a very sweet, smiley middle aged woman, on the side of a dusty road absolutely surrounded by flies. That was the only moment on our trip that my roommate and I were SURE we were going to get sick. But we didn't! Hurrah! Travelers–you're more resilient than you think!

  5. Kelsi

    Weirdest thing I've ever tried was sea urchin. It had the consistency of toothpaste and tasted like a tongue.

    I hope to try fugu (blowfish) someday.

  6. Florette

    I had horse on New Years when I visited Japan. It was quite tender and delicious!

  7. Avery

    My weirdest was embarrassingly normal and delicious: Cinnamon-Cocoa gelato with candied orange peel in Philadelphia. So spicy and good! Or the garlic ice cream I had at my town's garlic festival last summer. It had an… interesting aftertaste.

  8. Anonymous

    What a beautiful experience! Amazing the things that can happen when you meet the world with an open heart!

  9. zyzzyva

    I've eaten sea slug/cucumber twice. Once in China, the next time in Japan. Both times were in *very* fancy, upscale settings, so I wasn't warned, nor could refuse.

    In China, they were in a soup. I just thought they were soft sliced mushrooms until I saw the little antennae bumps.

    In Japan, they were pickled as part of a 12 course kaiseki dinner. Very chewy and again I only recognized them due to the bumps. I tried to hide the rest of them under a leaf, but the lady found them and, concerned that I had missed them, quickly alerted me before she would take the plate away.

  10. Luinae

    The strangest food I've ever had is Mussels (in France) and Seaweed Cheese (also France). Both were delicious! I think one of the best parts about travelling is experiencing local cuisine and amazing regional foods.

  11. Jen

    Do you really make butter tea by added melted butter and salt to black tea? I might have to try it… just because I'm curious.

    You look adorable in your Bhutan wear.

  12. nova

    I just watched the movie 7 Years in Tibet, and there was a part where he's all like "Ew I hate butter tea" and my boyfriend and I got into this huge discussion, trying to figure out wtf butter tea is, and whether or not it would be delicious or awful.

    I landed on delicious because it has butter in it. πŸ™‚

  13. NoviceWorldTraveler

    I tried butter tea in Dharamsala, India and I didn't love it, but I didn't think it was gross (a few people in my party were looking at me, like "You're seriously going to drink butter tea? Ewww!")

    The weirdest thing I've ever eaten is crickets in Puebla, Mexico. They were the little ones that don't look like crickets and they were covered in salt, lime and chili so they didn't taste much like anything – other than salt, lime, and chili.

  14. Aimee

    I've eaten a bunch of unusual foods in my time, but the most memorable was probably a dried, salted duck tongue. My Chinese classmates at my Japanese language school brought it as a souvenir for me from Shanghai since I was known for being an adventurous eater…Due to a language faux pas, I originally thought it was a (huge) frog tongue, but realized later that it was duck.

  15. Natalie

    Champolines! Grasshoppers. Sold in BUCKETS (all different flavors of course) on the streets in Oaxaca Mexico. My friend and I were so impressed, the lady selling them let us try a couple before we made a purchase. The garlic ones were not my favorite. They tasted quite fishy, actually.

    But we did buy a large bag of chilli flavored ones and munched on them on the way back to our hostel! yummm

  16. Meghan

    I like to try unusual food when I travel. Off the top of my head, I've had coagulated sheep blood, sting ray, pig ear, chicken heart, pigeon, aligator, and yak butter tea. I wasn't a big fan of the butter tea though, but I'm glad you liked it.

  17. Melissa Davlin

    Wow, it's so crazy that you're writing about Bhutanese refugees. I found your blog today through an unrelated link and just read this post. I'm traveling to eastern Nepal in late March to research Bhutanese refugees and spend time at the Beldangi II camp for book I'm writing. It's such a small world.

  18. GlamaRuth

    What's accidental? Cubes of duck blood (mixed with some rice flour and salt to congeal)are a delicious element of many Chinese soups – and almost all cultures have some form of blood sausage or congealed blood. This helps use all parts of an animal and not lose one of the most mineral-rich elements, but haggis and all its brethren have never really become part of American food culture, even with the recent revival of craft butchering. I hope you enjoyed it – even after you discovered what you'd eaten!

  19. Sarah Von Bargen


    It was accidental because I'm a vegetarian! πŸ˜‰

  20. jess

    Late to the party, but….

    Once I ate whale sashimi. It wasn't an accident but it definitely wasn't entirely voluntary as I'm a vegetarian.

    I'm studying whaling and I was in Japan at their super famous fish market interviewing one of the men who sold the meat when he offered me some. It's extremely rude to refuse food and drink so I ate the piece of raw, blood whale. I almost choked on it, as my eyes started watering up all I could was, "Oh, my god, if I throw this up I'll never get my PhD!"

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