Earlier this week it was Lomba or New Year in the districts of Paro and Haa ( in fact this year it happened to fall on the auspicious date 12/12/12). Interestingly, while Losar is the official new years, there is a lot of variation in new year across the country. ( Here is an interesting article that describes some of the various new years across the country.) My immediate family is from central Bhutan so this is not my celebration but every year I hope that someone will share the amazing delicious buckwheat dumplings or Hoentoe that are an important part of the celebration. When my family lived in Bumthang, our neighbors were from Haa and so we were insured a supply of Hoentoe this time of year. This year it looked like we had missed the boat. But then a day later, our cousin's girlfriend who is from Paro had her father hand-deliver a bag of Hoentoe right to our doorstep! My sister quickly whipped up a batch of chilli paste to eat with the Hoentoe.
Hoentoe look very much like the more common Momo and are similarly steamed but there are very important differences. The first is that the outer wrap is made of buckwheat rather than flour and the second is that filling is tangy mixture of dried turnip leaves, chilli and fermented cheese. Very delicious.
As Bhutanese have become more mobile, living and working in districts that are not their own, many people from Haa and Paro will return home for their new year while others will make a huge batch of Hoentoe to share with friends, neighbors and co-workers. These are newer traditions that I adore!
We did very well with the batch we were gifted. Here is the final Hoentoe which was fought over ( I won!) .
PS If you are interested in learning more about Lomba, here is a post by a Bhutanese teacher explaining what Lomba means to him.