Mongolian food is seasonal. In the summer months, when animals provide milk, dairy products become the stable food. Meat takes over in winter, supplemented with flour and potatoes or rice if these are available.There are few variety of dishes in Mongolian food. Almost any Mongolian dish can be created with meat, rice, flour and potatoes.
Breakfast: Nomads have own baked bread or biscuit with sweet-tasting cream (orom) in breakfast and salty milk tea. Salty milk tea is made by milk, salt and water. People live in the city have bread with jam or butter in breakfast. Number of urban people drinking black tea and coffee is increasing day by day.
Lunch: Lunch for nomads is almost same as breakfast. Mongolian's daily meal routine is completely different from other countries. We have light food for breakfast and lunch and heavy food for dinner such as a meal contains a lot of meat. However, urban people tend to have lighter food for dinner as possible.
Dinner: Nomads cook a few variety of dishes with flour (sometimes rice), meat and vegetables for dinner but delicious. Mainly they make noodles with flour and cook soup or mix noodles with vegetable and meat. Milky salt tea still serves for dinner. As for urban area, dinner varieties are enriched with many types of vegetable imported from neighbor country and spices. Furthermore, capital has very modern trend which makes international dishes are available.
Mongolians make many kinds of dairy product with only milk and there are as same as many methods to make those products. Some common products are described in the following:
Hard dried curd - Aaruul
Aaruul is made by yogurt, which comes from the milk. Nomad's dry aaruul to store for long time and make the better snacks. They can get quite hard, so most people rather suck than bite on them. The taste may vary regionally and depending on the milk used, but usually includes a combination of sweet and sour. There are two types of aaruul which is sweet and sugar-free(bitter and sour). Aaruul will be common offering from nomads to guests.
Cheese - Byaslag
Cheese comes from milk of cattle, yaks, goats, or sheep. The milk of yak and cattle is used in common. Goats and sheep are not milked in all places, but make for the most aromatic cheese. However, Mongolian cheese doesn't get to ripen like its European counterparts, so the overall taste is somewhat bland in comparison. Fresh slices of cheeses are eaten as a snack. Dried cheese is rather hard, and often gets soaked in tea. Pieces of cheese may also be given into a soup.
Yogurt - Tarag
The Mongolians use milk from cattle and yaks, or less often from goats or sheep, to produce yoghurt. First, the milk is boiled. Most often only the low-fat milk remaining after the preparation of Orom is used. The lactic acid bacteria cultures stored from last time are added when the milk has cooled down to hand temperature. It will take a few hours until the fresh yoghurt is finished. Yoghurt
Fermented mare's milk - Airag
Airag is the traditional national beverage of Mongolia. The most important animal of the Mongols is the horse. Horses don't only serve as riding the mare's milk is considered as one of the favorite drink. Airag re-freshens and sparkles softly on the tongue. It contains a small amount of carbon dioxide, and up to 2% of alcohol. The taste is slightly sour, but quite agreeable after getting used to it. The exact taste depends on both of the characteristics of the pastures and the exact method of production. The beverage is a rich source of vitamins and minerals for the nomads.
Hospitality mandates to present a bowl of airag to each visitor. A Mongolian will normally empty it, but it is also acceptable to just take a sip and return the bowl. To reject the offer right away would be gravely impolite.
Sweet cream - Orom
After boiled the milk, rest overnight and fat of the milk formed as a top of the milk. Nomads use it as fresh and also dry it to store.
This completely transparent beverage has a good reputation especially among Mongolian men, because it was traditionally the strongest drink available. We haven't developed it as an industrial manufactured product, and in contrast to Airag it is rarely sold to the general public. Travelers will find it the most common occasion to taste a sample when invited as a guest into the yurt of a family of nomads.