Mongolian Foods You Should Try
Mongolian foods are simple and full of variety of meat that includes mutton, beef, camel, horse, sheep even marmot. There are some vegetables, noodles, rices, pasta accompany the meat. Sheep and goat meat are mainly consumed but not much beef, camel, pork and horse meat.
Mongolian people consume a lot of milk tea, wild fruit juice and home-made alcohol drinks. A variety of diary products are bread and butter for breakfast and snacks throughout the day. Pastry and fried bread are also served for breakfast and lunch.
Here is a list of most popular Mongolian food and beverages that you will definitely happen to try in the city or in the steppe.
Mongolian Traditional Foods
- Huushuur – Fried Meat Pie
Huushuur are small, half-moon shaped fried pastries filled with meat (sheep or beef) and onions are staple fare in many Gers and local restaurants in the Mongolian countryside. This is main mongolian food of Naadam festival in July. You can find special Huushuur stuffed with vegetable (mostly main recipes potatoes, cabbage or kimchi cabbage) or Mongolian cheese in Ulaanbaatar city.
- Buuz – Dumplings
Buuz are large dumplings and recipes are dough filled with meat (sheep or beef), onion and garlic and steamed for twenty minutes. Mongolian dumplings is the one of the best Mongolian food and popular dish on Mongolian holidays. At Tsagaan Sar, Mongolian New Year, Mongolians prepare as many as 1000 dumplings for their guests.
- Bansh – Small Dumplings
Bansh is dumpling like buuz, but smaller and often boiled in a soup or fried. Fried dumpling is delicious if you dip in rich sauce. Banshtai shul (dumpling soup) warm you up on cold days.
- Tsuivan – Stir fried noodle
Tsuivan is a popular Mongolian food and main recipe is home-made noodles, fried with meat (sheep and beef) and onions in a covered frying pan. Stir fried noodle is especially delicious with horse meat. Most people find the dish very filling so make sure you order small portion or share.
- Chanasan makh – Boiled meat with salt.
Main recipes of Chansan mah is boiled fatty meat (sheep, beef, goat) with salt and some vegetables including potatoes, carrot and cabbage.
- Khorkhog – Authentic Mongolian Barbecue
Meat, potatoes, carrots, turnips, onions, garlic, and some water are put into a large pot together with hot rocks. The pot is closed tightly and allowed to stand for half an hour. The heat of the stones cooks the meat and vegetables thoroughly. Once the meat is cooked the stones which are still hot are taken out and passed around. Holding the hot stones is said to relieve tiredness and improve blood circulation.
- Boodog – Goat or Marmot
Boodog is goat meat cooked by putting hot rocks inside the skin. It can also be prepared from marmot meat with vegetables and onions.
- Lavsha – Guriltai shul
This dish is like tsuivan, but the noodles are boiled with enough water to make a soup rather than fried.
- Bantan – Meat porridge
A thick porridge-like dish made from a broth of meat with onions. A flour mixture is added to give the dish its thick consistency. This dish is said to be especially good to treat hang-overs and food poisoning.
- Uuts – Sheep meat
Uuts is whole steamed sheep meat which is unique Mongolian food. Mongolians cook this special dish for Tsagaan sar (Lunar new year).
- Budaatai huurga – Stir fried rice
Budaatai huurga is a dish made from home-made rice, fried with meat (sheep and beef) and onions in a covered frying pan. Stir fried rice is especially delicious with side dish like salad.
- Gedes dotor – Intestine (stomach, liver, lung, eyes, head and heart)
Feast on intestines is a special Mongolian food offered to honored guests.
- Borts – Dried meat
Nomads often consume dried meat for summer when freezing becomes unavailable outside.
Mongolian Traditional Pastry
- Bin – Fried bread
Bin is fried thin bread from flour, water and salt. It is usually eaten with soup.
- Gambir – Fried cake
Gambir is fried flour cakes, made from flour, sugar and oil.
- Boortsog – Cookies
Boortsog is national cookies made from flour, oil, salt, and sugar, fried in oil. They are eaten for breakfast instead of bread.
- Ul boov – Biscuit
Ul boov is biscuit made of flour – is the second main dish to be on the table during Tsagaan Sar, Lunar New Year. The biscuits are about thirty centimeters long and four centimeters thick. We stack them on a plate with each level laid out in a triangle or square shape. Layers have to be odd numbers – three, five, etc – as the odd numbers represent happiness.
Mongolian Foods – Diary Products
- Aaruul – Dried curd
Mongolian cuisine is rich in producing dairy products. Aaruul is dried milk with or without sugar, the countryside it is often eaten with yogurt for breakfast. Mongolian children like to eat aaruul as a snack.
- Byaslag – Mongolian cheese
Byaslag is Mongolian cottage cheese made of goat, sheep, yak or cow milk.
- Eezgii – Dairy product
Yoghurt is added to milk until it becomes sour. The mixture is then boiled for four hours. The thick residue on the bottom of the pot is eezgii. It is put outside to dry before being served.
- Holison Tos – Mixed oil
Holison tos is a sort of porridge, made from boiled butter mixed with eezgi (see above) and some flour. Hot tea or water is stirred in until oil comes out of the mixture. Eaten with sugar.
- Orom – Clotted cream
A flour mixture (huzhir) is added to milk. The milk is then boiled at low heat for an hour. Meanwhile the milk is picked up continuously with a large ladle and poured back into the pan. The thick cream floating at the top called orom end is scooped off to be used instead of butter on bread.
- Tarag – Yogurt
Mongolian yoghurt, one of the tastiest dairy products you will find in Mongolia. It is made by adding some tarag to warm milk, and covering the milk with thick cloth for 5-8 hours to keep it warm. Tarag can be made from cow, goat or sheep milk.
- Tsotgii – Cream
Cream made from cow, sheep or goat milk. Mongolians use this instead of butter on bread.
- Shar tos – Yellow butter
Shar tos is yellow butter is made by heating rancid clotted cream in a big pot and is used in all kinds of Mongolian cooking. Mongolians keep shar tos in the preserved large intestine of small livestock. Once the intestine is full of butted salt is added to prevent it from going mouldy. Some of the main benefits of using shar tos for cooking are as follows :
- It doesn’t produce a burning smell when heated up to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
- Shar tos keeps well in cool, dry and shadowy places instead of a fridge because of its relatively dry composition.
- It is easily digested by the human body compared to vegetable oils and normal butter because the clotted cream’s lactose and cholesterol disappear in the process of making the shar tos
- Khoormog – Camel milk
Yoghurt made from camel’s milk. People drink it before going to bed for its medical qualities. It is especially good for the liver and stomach.
- Aarts – Milk curds
Aarts is dried milk curds. Yoghurt is dried until it becomes a dried white cake. You can eat it with milk and sugar or boiled with water, sugar and some flour. It is said to be very healthy for a baby’s stomach.
- Hailmag – Cream
Hailmag is cream made of butter cream, flour, raisin and sugar.
Mongolian Foods – Traditional Beverages
- Nermel – Home -made vodka
Nermel is home-made traditional Mongolian spirit made from milk. It comes in many flavors and strengths. Although it does not appear to be strong, it can get you drunk fast.
- Airag – Fermented Mare’s Milk
Airag is fermented mare’s milk and one of the classic Mongolian drinks. The milk is put into a sheep stomach and made sour. It is pounded vigorously with a stick for an hour to help fermentation. The milk is then allowed to ferment for 3-4 hours. Airag is best drunk when fresh. It is said to clean the system, but if you are not used to drinking it, make sure not to drink too much, or your system will indeed be cleaned out!
- Arkhi – Vodka
In the cities this vodka made from wheat has replaced nermel to become the national strong alcoholic drink. It too comes in many tastes and strengths.
- Suutei Tsai – Milk tea
Traditional Mongolian tea, made from a mixture of water and milk to which tea and salt are added. The resulting drink is brewed for a while in a large pan on the stove. Meanwhile it is aerated by scooping up the tea with a large ladle and letting it pour back into the, pan.
- Tsatsargana – Seabuckthorn Juice
Seabuckthorn grows and had adapted to only few geographical locations and is rich in minerals. Large amounts of wild Seabuckthorn grow in the Mongolian Gobi which is hostel environment for most plants. Mongolian Seabuckthorn are 100% natural and contain many vitamins and organic acids. Drinking Seabuckthorn juice boosts immune and digestion systems; protects from cold in winter and spring time.
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