My friends and I enjoyed my trip in Mongolia. It was nice and interesting to visit to Mongolian wide steppe area and meet nomads. The trip was planned very well. Thank you for your all care.~ Femke and Maria, Holland
Blue Mongolia’s tour manager replies: VERY VERY ORGANIC FOOD will be served to you. The Mongolian food quality is the best and the most organic ones in the world. So there is an expression talked among Mongols are these: 1. Traditional medicine is the best quality of food 2. Living healthy means eating properly.
First of all, we will mention about the meat quality and quality of vegetables and wheat, then we will introduce you what kinds of national cuisines you can be served during your travel in Mongolia. The Mongolian cuisines served in city cozy restaurants and in the dining gers at tourist camps, will be liked you we hope.
PART 1. PRINCIPAL FOOD IN MONGOLIA
The best quality organic meat
Mongols eat the very organic meat of sheep, cows, horses, camels, yaks and goats. In the autumn time, we eat some of the hunted wild animals meat from wild pig, wild antelope, wild goose and marmot for gathering much power to overcome very severe winter time or to treat their chronic illnesses because of much coldness. Mongolia has more than 90 millions of domestic live stocks: horses, camels, sheep, goats and cows on the territory of 1.5 million sq.km.
Mongolian sheep and goats eat 350 species of wild plants on the green pasture, and 80 species of them are medicinal plants. Mongolian cows and yaks eat 130 species of wild plants, 40 of them are the medicinal plants. Mongolian horses eat 90 species of plants, 30 of them are the medicinal plants. Mongolian horses drink very pure water from rivers and lakes. Mongolian camels eat 100 species of plants and they drink very pure water from oasis rivers or salty water from desert lakes. Mongolian nomads never feed the live stocks and all animals graze on their own selves on the green summer pasture and even in snow covered white pasture hills. In winter time, they dig the snow with their legs and found the dried plants and eat them. Grazing is much better than feeding by people. Horses, cows, sheep, goats, yaks and camels have much better “knowledge or instinct” in their brains than human being for choosing what to eat in that season. For example: Female cows don’t eat peony flower leaves in summer season. They eat the peony leaves only in end of September and beginning of October. Because female cows know that peony leaves have the poisons in summer time, and the poisoned elements sit down into roots in the automn time, so it is very safe, on the other hand the peony flower seeds and leaves have very good quality of chemical components for their wombs, ovaries and babies in the womb. On the other hand male cows don’t eat peony flowers. Male cows eat only other plants, which are helpful for their male bodies and male energies. So Mongols eat very organic meat from half wild “smart” animals.
Mongols have so many of animals to eat and survive, so they have own rules for choosing which animals will be eaten in which season. The Mongols understand that the properly eating is the source of living healthy. So their dining choice is based on the seasons. The horse meat has very good quality and much “hot” energy and high calories, so it is useful for Mongols to eat in winter cold days. The lamb has the second degree of hot energy, so it is eaten by Mongols in winter time, too. The beef gives a human the normal energy and middle degrees of calories, so the beef is eaten in automn and spring seasons. The goats and camel’s meat has very low energy and the meat is very easily coagulated in summer day temperatures, so Mongols eat them in summer time. If someone or a kid has a sunstroke and have a problem of headache and diarrhea, the goat meat soup is served, and the problem is solved.
The non-gmo vegetables, grown in Mongolian plantation green houses
When you travel in Mongolia, you will have salads of fresh vegetables, which are grown in green houses in countryside area near big cities and towns. In Mongolian greenhouses the vegetables are grown with domestic organic fertilizers, which are made of onion skins, sheep and goat droppings, stinging nettles, some grass plants. Also some stones in very little amounts such as Mongolian gypsum and so on are used to increase the mineral components in the fertilizer. These organic elements and components are making the fertilizers very rich and good quality. Some of vegetables are grown in very good soil with selenium, and then they are fertilized with other elements and the vegetable quality is the best. The vegetables are watered with very pure cold waters from springs came out from the deep ground.
There are several vegetable plantation fields in the Gobi desert, in Umnugobi Province. These Gobi plantation staffs have own seed fund, which was imported from Russia in 1960-1970’s. Those vegetables seeds are from no-genetically-modified vegetables and these are very organic and with very good quality. The tomatoes in big metropolitan cities groceries are just red color, big and no taste and no smell. But tomatoes grown in open Gobi desert field from good seeds are small sized, but they are tasty and nice smelling. When you bite the Gobi tomato, you will have 3-4 different tastes at the same time: acidic, smooth sweet, aromatic flavour and it’s natural type: relish of wild fruit. Most of tourist camps are supplied with the culinary fruits and vegetables grown in the gobi desert plantations. So that’s why the salads served in Gobi desert tourist camps are delicious and tasty.
Ulaanbaatar city restaurants and other big cities’ restaurants are provided with vegetables grown in the countryside near the cities. These vegetable plantation fields and houses have their own non-gmo seeds fund and they grow the organic vegetables. For other typical vegetables such as carrots and potatoes, they are grown in the north part of Mongolia, which is the warm comfortable zone with fertile soils. Mongolian domestic plantation farm workers don’t use any harmful pesticides and poisons for their vegetables. They grow naturally, some are eaten by worms and insects. We hope you will really like the Non-GMO vegetables in Mongolia.
The non-gmo wheats and barleys
Mongols eat wheat and barleys, which are grown in eastern and northern part of Mongolia. The eastern and northern territory is a mild and warm climate in winter and spring time, therefore, the areas are the best for wheat and vegetables cultivation. The Mongols have a mass cultivation of grains: wheat, rye, oats, white and blue barleys, tatar rice and semolinas, since 1970’s. So the grain cultivation field soil is very thick, very fresh and nutritive, then Mongolian agrarians and cultivators use the domestic fertilizers for their grains, they don’t use the harmful pesticides.
White rice, millets, peas and beans are not grown in Mongolia. The best sort of those food are exported from Japan, Taiwan and Russia. During the travel in Mongolia, you will be served with fresh bread, baguetties, cakes, mongolian homemade pancakes for the breakfast, the oat cereals and so on...
PART 2. MONGOLIAN POPULAR CUISINES & BEVERAGES
Blue Mongolia Tour agency names the Mongolian cuisines, which should be tasted by every single traveler in Mongolia: Mongolian Grilling, Sheep BBQ, Dumplings, Meat Pasty, Noodle soup, Horse meat sausage and Mongolian Breakfast.
What some restaurants in the west offer as Mongolian Barbeque is a Mongolian ancient style of grilling. In most cases, the meat is grilled on a hot slab of steel. For grilling, franchise chain restaurants in metropolitan cities offer some ingredients, which are collected from all over the world: meat, vegetables, fruits, noodle and grains.
The Mongolian grilling origin is from soldiers and hunters as using stones and metal pan. In ancient time Mongolian hunters put a fire on the stones and the stones are hot, they cleared the fire and sliced pieces of meats from hunted animals are put on the heated stones and another heated stone is put on the upper side of the slice. So in this way the both sides of slices of meat were grilled with wild garlic and onions. Another origin of the Mongolian grilling is from Mongolian cavalries during the long distance campaign. Mongolian cavalries are divided into a group of 10 soldiers. Each of ten people, they have own different arms and tools for their surviving. Two or Three soldiers had a middle sized cast iron firm shields, another three had a wooden shields, another ones had a thickened leather shields. The Cast iron shields or cast iron protection pan was used as a cooking plate in the evening hours. The cavalries grilled pieces of meats on the cast iron pan, or sometimes instead of grilling they just boiled the slices of meat in water. In many cases cavalries had a picnic meals, they had stir fried thin slices of meat cooked in open fire with wooden sticks or iron swords on iron griddle or on cast iron shield. The cavalries designed the Grilling by Mongolian way - Sharsan makh.
There are several grilling restaurants in Ulaanbaatar and other cities and towns in every corner of Mongolia. These Mongolian grilling chain restaurants offer different types of food except seafood. You will find there many different types of meat such as beef, lamb, horse, camel meat and yak meat. Beasides the meat, there are different types of vegetables and grains. At the grilling restaurants, you will have a more choices on western styled sauces and oriental sauces and Mongolian sauces. After a happily enjoy of grilling, you will have a choice to be delighted with the sweet deserts. Mongolian grilling restaurants will offer you the draft Mongolian beers, sodas, wines and whiskies.
Our Blue Mongolia tour managers will offer you the dining at the grilling cozy restaurants in Ulaanbaatar city and there you will have a own-composed menu grilling, which means what you want to eat and what kind of meats you want to try in Mongolia.
Mongolian Khorkhog – Meat cooked with stones on open fire
There are long history how the meat cooking method came to present modern world from primitive period. Let’s look at the history of ancient people and ancient Mongols.
Mongols and central Asians nomads used to eat meats and fat to survive in continental severe cold climate. What kinds of animals were they eating? Before last ice age 40 thousands years ago, they had only giant animals like mammoths, bizons and buffalos. They hunted giant animals and they divided the meat into some quite not big pieces using their stone weapons. These pieces of meat is as enough small as fitting in the stomach of hunted animal. They put pieces of meat and bones together with heated stones into the stomach or the fur of the animals. They dug the holes in the ground and they put fire in the hole and then they put the skin bag or stomach bag in the holes on open fire. Then they covered the hole back with wood and grasses and they put fire again. They cared for the fire and the pieces of meat were cooked so long hours and smoke and heat cooked the meat bag from 3 sides: from bottom, inside and upsides. Three sides heating and cooking method is called Khorkhog in Mongolian language.
In modern time Mongols are keeping the method of 3 sides cooking with stones in open fire. During the big festivals, party or feast time, Mongolians make Khorkhog with 4-5 years old lamb. Instead of holes they use a fireplace, but the main item- heated stones are used until today. In present days meat is cooked with some vegetables: carrots, garlic and potatoes.
This kind of Mongolian Khorkhog- BBQ with stone cooked dish will be served to you at the tourist camps during your tarvel in countryside areas. The main meat for tourist menu is the lamb or goat meat. Also you will have a chance to feel the heated warm stone in your hand and enjoy with what Mongols do before eating the stone cooked lamb.
Barbeque - Roasted Whole Meat – Boodog
By B.C 12000 the coldest climate faced to our planet and more than 100m-s high thick ice covering was made over the Bering strait. Like this, the America continent and Euroasia continents joined together and some Mongolian, Altai mountains, Sibirean nomadic clans moved on this ice bridge to America. Therefore, the native American Indians are connected with Asian nomads genetically. When they are in the new continent and new land, they were using their own methods of cooking and living. American Indians developed this method in long years until the traveler Columbus landed in America in 1492. Spaniards apparently found local people roasting meat over a grill consisting of a wooden framework resting on sticks above a fire. So The meat cooking method was originated by Mongols and Siberians, but the barbecoa (barbeque in present time) name was given by Spanish people.
Traditional barbacoa involves digging a hole in the ground and placing some meat—usually a whole lamb above a pot so the juices can be used to make a broth. In Central Asia cooking on holes method was used until the end of the stone age B.C 5000-4000. When the bronze age, iron age coming and climate is getting better, the big animals were extinct. Instead of big animals they have small animals like mountain wild sheep, wild goats and wild horses and cows. They started to design the firstly the bow and arrows and started to hunt animals, then tried to domesticate those animals. They reached the great result. They had own domesticated herds of animals, which meant that they had much of reserve of food. Meat cooking process turned into new method: They put fire on the ground and then they hang the whole sheep and goat from the firm iron or big wood sticks. The whole meat was rolled and roasted on the open fire and cooked well, but inside it should be cooked pretty, so they used well heated stones inside of the lamb. So, the Boodog BBQ – second type of the barbeque was designed by nomads. The whole meat is cooked in open fire at temperatures of up to 300°C (572 °F). The meat cooking method was originated by Mongols and Siberians, but the barbeque name was given by Spanish people.
Dumpling’s Mongolian name is Buuz, which means packaged. Buuz are filled with minced mutton and beef, which is flavoured with onion and/or garlic and salted. Mongols never put vegetables in there. Occasionally, they are flavoured with sprouted fennel seeds and other seasonal herbs. The buuz is then steamed and eaten by hand, with the dough pocket catching the juices of the meat.
According to Mongolian mentality, Mongols have dining with pretty much of symbolic meanings in the Traditional New Year Eve evening. They prepared 5 kinds of meals: green colored meals- vegetables, white colored meals- milk and dairy products, yellow meals- oil and butter, black meals- meat. They prepared the meals as much as enough for all guests, who will visit during the New Year Holiday. Before new year comes, in the evening of Eve day Mongols pack all bad things happened in passing year and call good luck and happiness in coming new year. So Mongols symbolizes that bad things is wrapped in white coverings and eaten by people in eve day.
Dumplings are eaten with a garnish of salted cabbages, smoothly seasoned cucumbers, milk cream, salted carrots and wild mushrooms. Dumplings are dipped into some Mongolian type sauces: wild champonion mushroom sauce, wild flat garlic sauce and creamy barley sauces. Small sized dumplings are boiled in broth soups with green onions and eaten with broth. This kind of dumpling cooking is the best food for toddlers and kids.
In Mongolia you can try the beef dumplings and lamb dumplings in any restaurants and small cafeterias in any city and small villages. So Trying the dumpling is the easy, when you travel in Mongolia.
Horse meat sausage and blood sausage
The Horse ribs’ meat is salted and seasoned with wild garlic and onions. Then intestines are filled with this seasoned meat and smoked up to 18 hours and dried outdoors for a week. Before serving, the horse meat sausage is cooked in boiling water.
Horse and lamb blood is seasoned with garlic or onions, and then poured into stomach or intestines of horse and lamb. Then it is kept in frozen or fresh sausages are boiled in water. The sausages are served with garnish of vegetables and with together of vegetable salads. If you want to try this kind of sausages, you need to talk to your tour guide or the tour manager before you come to Mongolia. Then they will arrange special menu dish for you and your group of travellers.
Dried meat soup
In the beginning of winter Mongols sliced beef and horse meat and hang them in the storage rooms and gers in minus temperatures. Mongols call this air dried strips as Borts. Borts weight 5 times lighter than wet meat. 214-gram Borts equals to 1-kilogram fresh meat and per 100 gram Borts has 386 calories. 80% of Borts is protein. Even though, the quality and nutrition remain as it was fresh. It is practically and economically useful for nomadic movements to carry on.
Borth is used as traveling and military super food in summer time. Borth is grounded into powder or a small pieces, then it is boiled to make a soup.
Milk tea is called Suutei tsai in Mongolian language. Mongols use milk from cows, goats and reindeers to make the milk tea. A simple recipe of milk tea might call for one quart of water, one quart of milk, a tablespoon of green tea, half teaspoon of natural salt, a tablespoon of white barley and a teaspoon of milk butter. The way of cooking and drinking can also vary. The traditional way of cooking it includes stirring it by scooping it up while it is boiling and pouring it back in from a height. This tea is served in little bowls. It is the standard beverage to every meal.
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