For many travellers, the food you eat on your trip is as memorable as the place you visit. Whether you’re a food fanatic or not, it plays a huge part of your experience when visiting other countries.
“Increasingly, I’ve found food to be one of the deciding factors when choosing a new place to visit. It’s probably why I find myself returning to Italy at least once per year. But food isn’t just the reason why I might travel somewhere, it’s also the only souvenir I bring back, and it’s the taste and the smell that always brings me back even when I’m long gone. That’s what happened the other weekend. A series of events which all triggered specific travel memories, thanks to the food I ate.”
Mongolia has an exciting array of local dishes to try, each dish as unique as the last, giving you the opportunity to eat like a local and enjoy your greatest adventure yet. Here we reveal just five of the delicacies that you should try on your upcoming trip, whether you’re taking on a gruelling desert hike in the Gobi region or enjoying something a more luxurious on one of our rail cruises.
You haven’t had a taste of a real dumpling until you’ve tried buuz. Buuz uses a simple flour dough recipe combined with an amazing filling, usually shredded beef, or lamb. The filling is seasoned with onion, garlic, pepper and local spices, then steamed to create a Mongolian classic that packs a punch. Been to Mongolia recently and want to recreate this traditional dish at home? Try this great recipe from All That Cooking.
Mongolian locals love a good roast and boodog is considered the ultimate. This wholesome dish consists of an entire goat filled with onions, potatoes, hot stones and marmot (a rodent native to north-western Asia and other mountainous regions), a combination that is then roasted on an open fire.
The nutritious food theme continues with tsuivan, a noodle stew that is as hearty as any roast and designed to keep the harsh chill at bay during a Mongolian winter. Locals cook these homemade noodles with pork, beef or mutton, adding carrots, cabbage and onion to create a unique and meaty taste. If you like your noodle stews, you may want to give guriltai shul a try. It’s a robust, traditional soup dish with meat and fried noodles that can be cooked to any taste.
It’s not just Mongolia’s many food delicacies that need to be tasted to embrace a the real authentic experience. The national drink, airag, is something that every traveller has to try. Often spelled ‘ayrag’, this Mongolian beverage is made from fermented mare’s milk, a liquid that is then filtered through a cloth, poured into a leather sack and usually hung next to the entrance of a yurt.
Horses are considered the most important animal in Mongolia, so it’s no wonder this alcoholic drink has secured its special status as the country’s national tipple.
Another dumpling style delicacy which originated from Huhehot and is now famous across Asia. Unlike buuz, shaomai uses raw materials and a unique technique to wrap the delicate and delicious filling. Whilst the ingredients and seasoning vary from town to town, nothing beats trying an original shaomai in the heart of Inner Mongolia.
Want further information about preparing for your trip to Mongolia? Check out our blog for the latest news and advice.
Photo by amanderson2