Mongolia Food and Drink
The cuisine of Mongolia is greatly influenced by those of its neighbouring countries, China and Russia. The Mongolian diet consists mainly of dairy products, meat (cattle, horses, camels, yaks, sheep and goats) and animal fats. The use of vegetables and spices is somewhat limited.
Despite having a large, rural population, the city of Ulaanbaatar is constantly growing and becoming more modern. The selection of restaurants greatly reflects this modernity. In Ulaanbaatar, one can find canteens and cafes serving traditional Mongolian food as well as restaurants offering international fare from Russia, China, Italy, India, Japan, Korea, Britain, France, Senegal and even Turkey.
The most common dish in rural Mongolia is mutton which is often served without any accompaniment. Mutton can be boiled which makes it very fresh and tender or it can be cooked. Roast lamb is another favourite dish that is usually served at dinner parties or special occasions. A popular dish found in cities is “buuz” which are dumplings filled with meat and are then steamed. Other variations include boiling the dumpling (Bansh) or deep frying it in mutton fat (Khuushuur). Boodog is a traditional way of cooking goat or marmot. It involves the whole carcass of the animal which is roasted from the inside out with burning hot stones.
Milk is a very important part of every day life in Mongolia. Mongolians have found various ways to use the milk of the five main domestic animals found in the country: sheep, cattle, goats, camels and horses. Such dishes made from milk include aaruul which are dried curds, eetsgii is dried cheese, airag is fermented milk that comes from mares, and tarag is sour yoghurt. These are only some of the many ways that Mongolians have found to prepare milk. Locals tend to prepare enough dairy products to last them for the whole of winter as well as spring.
As mentioned, airag is fermented mare’s milk and is the most prominent national beverage in Mongolia. Another popular every day drink is salted milk tea which has the added benefit of being turned into a soup by adding rice or meat. The Russian influence is highlighted by the fact that vodka is becoming more popular.
Things to know:
Tipping is not customary, however if one is planning on leaving a tip, 10% is standard.
Mongolia Travel Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy to navigate travel information section dedicated to Mongolia.
Learn about the history and culture of Mongolia, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Mongolia's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Mongolia for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our Mongolia tours today!
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