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Online portals bringing foodies together

Main story: Eating out in Thimphu can be a daunting task. Images of patronising waiters and the fear of fumbling through a menu is enough to give unaccustomed the cold feet. Not to make one feel intimated and to help one enjoy a meal to the fullest, two new websites catering to food and restaurants are now available online.

Bhutan Hangouts and Zhimmey have made a modest attempt to list the most frequented restaurants in the country. All the popular restaurants, cafes, bars and bistros in Thimphu and Paro are well listed.

Creator of Bhutan Hangouts, Khampa Tshering, said the website has list of places to hangout in Bhutan.

“Hangout is broadly defined as a place to relax, socialise with others, enjoy good food and spend one’s leisure time. We created the website with an aim to search and discover such places in the country,” Khampa Tshering said.

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There are about 150 different places listed in the website. One can not only look up for websites but also write reviews about restaurant.

Khampa Tshering and his team took more than a year to create this website.

“The tourism industry in the country is seeing growth in terms of tourists visiting the country. It is time that such online services are available to help not only the tourists but locals as well to look for good places to hangout,” Khampa Tshering said. “At the same time, the website is aimed at catering to the office goers who are gradually choosing to eat outside their homes.”

Today, there is not many people who carry packed lunches to their workplaces but instead prefers to eat a restaurant or grab a fast food catered by a lot of restaurants in Thimphu, Khampa Tshering said. “The global culture is breaking our traditional family and social gatherings. Now many look forward to eat outside instead of at home, be it during birthday or any special occasions. Gatherings and socialising among Bhutanese have taken a different turn, which includes good venues and fun, which we hope to provide through our website.”

Information technology is changing the very way we live our lives transforming the societies into knowledge-based economies. This fact gave us a strong impetus to develop this online platform, Khampa Tshering said. “People are now constantly looking for information to conduct their lives through personal media such as through mobile phones, so, we felt that listing the places to hangout online could make it more easier to access.”

zhimmey

Creator of Zhimmey, who is also the Chief Editor of Yeewong Magazine, Pema Choden Tenzin, said momos and chowmein aren’t the only items Bhutanese are ordering today.

“With more and more Bhutanese traveling abroad, it’s no doubt that the people’s palette has changed with a predilection for a more global taste in food. This year alone saw an astounding number of restaurant openings in Thimphu serving a diverse range of cuisine and flavours. With more and more customers uploading their gastronomical adventures on social media, restaurants are bucking up to this whole new generation of foodies,” Pema Choden Tenzin said.

Launched by the magazine, the website has the listing of all the restaurants and cafes in Thimphu and Paro with contact numbers, address and menu details so that foodies can plan their next dining experience.

“We decided to create Zhimmey.com because the food that featured in the magazine became quite popular and we’d often got queries from readers on where to eat. So we thought dedicating an entire site to restaurants in Bhutan would be a great idea and so far the response has been amazing,” Pema Choden Tenzin said.

Zhimmey aims to be the country’s ultimate restaurant and food guide.

An online portal that brings together food business owners and foodies, Zhimmey has become the newest social media sensation for food lovers. Besides operating as a restaurant listing, the website also offers food blogs and food videos hosted by popular faces in the country that gives an insight on where to eat and what to eat when you’re in the country. Zhimmey is now planning on going nation-wide and with the dream to help people find good restaurants in every dzongkhags and celebrate the love of food.

A foodie, Sangay, said she loved using these websites every time she went out to eat. “I just go to the site to get the options and information on where to eat. It’s amazing how they listed all the menu, prices, special offers and even meal of the day. Now the experience of eating out in Thimphu has become much more exciting.”

Another foodie living in the capital, Namgay, said he was amazed to see how development in IT infrastructure is changing the very way we ate.

“It’s time that such website listings are available now that most urbanites eat out at least once a week. The experience of eating out has become much more sophisticated, which is a good news for foodies like me,” Namgay said.

Thinley Zangmo

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