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Chick A Zaa Thimphu · Food of Young Bhutan

One of my first posts from Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan ☺️ And, it's about a local fried chicken shop 🤭

Truth be told, I don't really find this fried chicken appealing as while it was very crispy outside and tender enough inside, the flavours leaned on flat savoury salty and I couldn't taste chicken sweetness.

It's also nothing like traditional Bhutanese cuisine such as tomza or a homecooked comfort meal which are my main interests.

I was curious about this poster and it's red and white colour striped bucket 🤭

The shop is called Chick A Zaa.

Their brand ambassador is Baeyul, the youthful Bhutanese hip hop music and dance group. Obviously, the target clientele of Chick A Zaa is the country's youth.

Bhutan is a country of young people. The median age of Bhutan in 2023 is 29 years old, meaning half of Bhutan is under 29 years old. In comparison, the median age of Singapore is 42 and Japan is 48.

Nighttime temperature in Thimphu is often sub-zero degree Celcuis in December, so there was a can of burning wood fire at the al fresco dining area outside the shop.

Hoping to find something we like, we also tried their spicy version which is the same fried chicken with chili sauce. It didn't raise my enthusiasm for their fried chicken 🤣

But then, to me, trying different food especially overseas is not about judging but learning. It's not really about tasty or not, but about what does the food tell us about the people whom we are guests of.

I was quite touched by the politeness and earnestness of the young Bhutanese manning the shop. Though soft spoken, they answered our questions professionally about how they cook their chicken. They used fresh chicken which they batter and fry on order. (Don't think the cooking did justice to the fresh fowl 🤭 but that's not the point of this post.)

They offered me hot water free of charge when I didn't want any sodas or juices. They even filled my cup of hot water when I finished the first cup.

So much so, I even thought they might be owners of the business but they confirmed that were employees.

Then, a group of young Bhutanese arrived to warm themselves with the wood fire outside. They were so happy, cheerful, and friendly, we felt their infectious energy straightaway.

Bhutan offers free education for its citizens up to year 10 (equivalent of GCE O levels). Medium of instruction is Dzongkha and English. So, Bhutanese are effectively bilingual in their Mother tongue and English. So, getting around Bhutan is easy for English speakers.

The youths trooped inside to order food. Chick A Baa was one of their favourite hangouts (whether we like the food or not, it's irrelevant).

If you are in Thimphu, you may want to try Chick A Zaa as you may like the food. This is also a place to meet the future of Bhutan.

More on my Dec 2023 trip to Bhutan:

History primer of Bhutan 👈 click

Bhutanese "economy rice" in banana leaf - Tomza 👈 click

Chencho Farm Stay hot stone bath and traditional lunch 👈 click

Index Bhutan 👈 click


Restaurant name: Chick A Zaa

Address: Thori Lam SW, Thimpu, Bhutan

Tel: +975 7720 0444

Hours: 10am - 9pm (opens at 10:30am on Sat)

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Written by Tony Boey on 24 Dec 2023

Sampling of music by young Bhutanese performers

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