- Sat & Sun
Lonely Planet review for Weekend Market
The weekend market is crammed into a set of stalls on both banks of the Wang Chhu, just north of Changlimithang Stadium. Vendors from throughout the region arrive on Thursday and Friday, setting up evening stalls in Norzin Lam, and remain until Sunday night. The most interesting selection is upstairs.
Wander around and you'll find a pungent collection of dried fish, strips of fatty pork and balls of datse (home-made soft cheese). During the winter you can even pick up a leg of yak (with the hoof still attached). The incense area is one of the most interesting sections, full of deliciously pungent raw ingredients, as well as pink cubes of saffron that look like dice but are used to flavour the holy water given to pilgrims in all lhakhangs. The special bags of mixed grains and grasses are for throwing in the air during religious rituals.
One of the most popular sections sells doma (areca nut wrapped in betel leaf to chew; Indian name paan) kits (Nu 5 for four pieces) complete with paney (banana leaf) and tsune (lime). The bricks of tea provide the main ingredient for suja (butter tea), whereas the locally made yeast patties are used to brew chang (barley beer).
Depending on the season, look out for banana pods, jackfruit and the curly fern fronds known as nakey. The cereals section has red rice and tsampa, the ground roasted barley beloved by highland Bhutanese and Tibetans.
Across the newly constructed cantilever footbridge, known as the Kundeyling Baazam, on the west bank, is a collection of clothing stalls as well as a handicraft market. Products include wooden bowls, mala beads, printing blocks, amulets, yak tails and prayer wheels, some of which are made in Nepal. There are some gems amid the junk. Bargaining is very much in order; your guide can advise you on the quality of your intended purchase.