Saturday, April 9, 2016

Reading Notes: Bhutanese Eating Etiquette

From:  Tshering C Dorji and Rinchen Dorji (2005) "Living the Bhutanese Way"  DSB Publications, Thimphu

Under the Driglam Choesum or Za Cha Do(e) Sum, a code of standard practices was framed, based on three kinds of human activity: eating, doing things and walking. It is said that no matter how rich a person is, he should never eat sleeping and no matter how poor a person is, he should not eat standing.  Therefore, a person eats sitting properly.
A person can only eat that  amount of food which can be held within two fingers and a thumb of the right hand. He is expected to keep the drinks on the left side and the solid things to the right. A person should not pile bones in front or behind. The person keeps them inside his hemcho ( the pouch). Jokes are told about  a person who carried all the bones in his pouch and ate peacefully outside without having to fear an imposition of any discipline.
A person is expected to eat his food with closed mouth and not make much noise while eating. He is expected not to talk which he has food in his mouth.
Bhutanese in the villages usually crush the cereal into small balls and eat. The more compact the cereal ball, the more filling of the stomach, so they don't get hungry soon. Stories are being said that in the olden days the people judged a person whether he could work or not from the amount of breakfast he ate. If the person ate a smaller amount of breakfast, the person was regarded as a weakling.  


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