Posted by Selena Travel / 01 25, 2019
One of the most exciting aspects of visiting a new place is trying the food. In Mongolia, there are really only two types of food: countryside food and city food. Countryside food consists of traditional Mongolian food. Traditionally, Mongolians have been herdsmen and dairy producers. Agriculture has never been a large part of Mongolia’s history, mostly because of the country’s harsh climate. In the wintertime, most of the country drops to temperatures averaging around -30 degrees Fahrenheit, thus, meat and dairy have been the main aspects of Mongolian cuisine.
Of course, in the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, you can find just about anything you want. Ulaanbaatar is a huge city where you can find delicious vegetables, sushi, lean cuts of meat, Western fast food, and of course the traditional Mongolian food.
The three most common Mongolian traditional foods are buuz, tsuivan and khuushuur. Buuz is simple, oily, and absolutely delicious. Essentially, buuz are dumplings. The most common ingredient to put into buuz is, of course, meat. However, each Mongolian family has their own special variation of buuz. Some people choose to put a lot of onions in their buuz, some people include a little more animal fat, and some people include some vegetables such as cabbage or potatoes. The first aspect of making buuz is making the dough. The dough is really just water and flour. After you make the dough, you need to roll out the dough into small circular pieces. Then, you can stuff the flour with the meat mixture. Moreover, one thing you’ll notice when eating buuz is that there are a few different ways to wrap up your dumpling. Some ways are, of course, easier that others when making buuz.
Tsuivan is my favorite traditional Mongolian food. It usually consists of noodles, red meat and some vegetables. Good tsuivan restaurants will also throw some kimchi into the mixture. This is my favorite kind of tsuivan. The vegetables that you can find in tsuivan are typically potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers.
Khuushuur is deep fried red meat and flour. It is also delicious. Khuushuur is a lot like buuz, in theory, but instead of a dumpling, it is flat. It is also deep fried while buuz is always steamed. The best khuushuur experience I had was in a small town on my way out to Ulgii. At the beginning of October, I headed to Ulgii with some friends of mine to see the famous, yearly Golden Eagle Festival. The plane tickets to Ulgii were quite expensive, thus we decided to take the three-day drive. I cannot remember exactly which town I ate my favorite khuushuur ever in, but I know that it was on day three of our journey, meaning it was quite far west.
As you can see, traditional Mongolian foods are hearty and delicious, although quite devoid of vegetables. When you are in the city, be sure to eat at some of the most delicious places Ulaanbaatar has to offer.
Those are my recommendations when it comes to food. I hope you enjoy all of the great foods in Mongolia if you are planning to venture out to the land of Chinggis Khan.
Written by Nazilla Ghorbani