Food and Drink in Mongolia
A variety of international dishes and cousins can be enjoyed in Mongolia but mostly in Ulaanbaatar and other major settlements. The most popular cousins are Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Russian but it is not to difficult to find Thai, French, Italian, German or dishes for vegetarians. Most tourists prefer to taste Mongolian traditional dishes and national cousins.
Meat dish. First one, usually Mongolian housewives prepare for dinner a fresh meal everyday that takes approximately an hour, because most Mongolians instead of having a full breakfast they prefer to have a heavy dinner i.e. a meat-dish. Mostly, use lamb or beef in their food, occasionally horsemeat, goat meat, pork, fish, chicken and rarely, seafood for their meal recipe. A little amount of gourmets are vegetarians. One of the traditional meals is boiled meat of lamb or beef with vegetables or noodles. Horsemeat or goat meat is prepared for a dish rarely as the living habit of Mongolians’ the horsemeat is served in winter or cool temperature period, because horsemeat won’t let you get cold, but opposing the goat meat is mainly served in summer or hot temperature season, due to the living habit characters the goat meat helps to keep in normal the blood pressure and prevents your body to get hot.
Borts - Dried meat. One of the second types of food is a “Borts” (dried meat), when nomads leave their home for a long distance they used to take with them a small amount of the dried meat, which is never get spoiled and contains large amount of necessary nutrition.
Boodog and Khorkhog. Also, when you travel in rural places try to experience the taste of a "tarbagan boodog" (marmot meat), which is hunted in summer and up to late autumn time. "Boodog" usually is cooked in own skin of the animal and sometimes "boodog" made by a goat but not a sheep or other animal. Another fresh air meal is "Khorkhog" which is cooked through heating stones.
Mongolian Traditional Airag and dietary products. In summer time it is customary for Mongolians to eat more of dietary products like cheese, yogurt, dried curds, milk or "airag" because of the herders tend to eat less meat in order to cleanse their body after long winter period. Airag is a fermented dairy product traditionally made from mare's milk. During fermentation, the lactose in mare's milk is converted into lactic acid, ethanol and carbon dioxide, and the milk becomes an accessible source of nutrition for people who are lactose intolerant. In modern controlled production, the initial fermentation takes two to five hours at a temperature of around 27°C (81°F); this may be followed by a cooler aging period. The finished product contains between 0.7 and 2.5% alcohol. When you drink "airag" all day there is no necessity to eat because it contains lot of essential vitamins.
Buuz - steamed dumpling. Mongolian traditional most respected meal is a "Buuz" (steamed dumpling). Any occasion or if you are an honored guest you will be served by "buuz".
Uuts - grilled side of sheep. Boiled meat is also shows a respect to you. If you participated in big occasion like wedding or Tsagaan sar (National new year festival) you will see the biggest meal the "Uuts" (grilled side of sheep) which is the most respected one, of course it will be followed by buuz or airag.
Ul boov - the Mongolian traditional cake. This cake is made (or bought) for the Buddhist New Year's festival "Tsagaan Sar", as well as for personal festivities like a wedding. The name is derived from the shape, which reminds of the sole of a shoe. The patterns in the center are stamped with a wooden block, the bulge around is also a result of the stamping. On the festive table, the sole cakes get stacked into a big tower, which is filled with Aaruul (dried curds) and other sweets. There are always an uneven number of levels in the tower, and each level is formed by 5 cakes. At the top comes a little heap of Urum (clotted cream).
Traditionally Mongolians are accustomed to eat non-spicy mild foods due to the extreme continental climate but nowadays the food come very close to international with plenty of vegetables and salads, and variety of international cuisines can be enjoyed in Mongolia.