Nomads serve up the fast food favourite for tourists at the Jomolhari base camp
Just as the temperature is hovering below zero, Aum Zam, 65, moulds the flour with her stiff fingers.
Zam and many yak herders from Jangothang in Soe are speeding up to bake as many pizzas as possible to sell it to tourists during the annual Jomolhari festival of the village.
Zam and her friends from the monadic community got a chance to learn how to bake pizza at a training at the base of Jomolhari organised by Tourism Council of Bhutan and Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators (ABTO).
Migmar Tshering chopped the onions. “I know how to chop yak meat but not onion,” said Mingar Tshering with a big smile.
Senior instructor Jigme Norbu from Royal Institute for Tourism and Hospitality closely watched the learners and taught them every process of making a pizza. He taught them from moulding flour to mixing vegetables and putting in the oven.
Tourists come to see how the mountain people make pizza that will come on their table in a while. They are flabbergasted.
Tenzin Namgyel from ABTO, who coordinated the pizza baking at the base of Jomolhari, is doing the marketing. Pizzas must be sold. Tourists are the only buyers. This is a trade in the remote Bhutanese mountains.
“We want to serve you our delicious mountain pizza,” he announces. Tourists are excited to taste what they probably heard for the first time – Mountain Pizza. “We aim to provide fresh pizza to you, and help yak herders earn some money this season.”
But the process is slow. Sun goes down and the pizza makers haven’t done half their job. Tourists are gone.
As the sun comes up the next morning, Zam comes with her pizzas. Tourists rush to her and all her pizzas are sold within minutes.
Pizzas are now here. Even in the mountains of Bhutan.
By Tenzin Namgyel, Jomolhari