In our new Globe Trotter series, Viral Travel reviews all the best places to see, eat and stay at in every country of the world!
This week we visit: Mongolia
Mongolia has a very specific traditional cuisine which was pretty much determined by the harsh life conditions during the largest part of country’s history. These include a predominantly nomadic way of life, reliance on certain animals to provide the sustenance, absence of many agricultural staples that you meet in most of the other world cuisines, etc. Fortunately, Mongolian cuisine still managed to produce quite a number of finger-licking good dishes that you simply have to try.
Khorkhog is the traditional Mongolian barbeque which actually has nothing to do with the chain of restaurants called Mongolian Barbeque which in fact serve Taiwanese barbeque. Real Mongolian barbeque, khorkhog is made with mutton and vegetables which are cooked in a pot which is also filled with burning hot rocks. Gathering around khorkhog is one of those truly Mongolian experiences.
Mongolian cuisine also features dumplings heavily, which is probably a Chinese influence. They have three main varieties of dumplings – bansh, buuz and khuushuur. They are all more or less same when it comes to ingredients (meat and vegetables) but they differ in size and manner of preparation – boiling or frying.
Boodog is another type of barbeque which is very popular in Mongolia and which actually involves putting hot stones inside of the animal in question (either a young goat or a marmot, yes a marmot). The meat is also treated from the outside and it is also stuffed with different vegetables and spices.
Tsuivan is the Mongolian take on your traditional noodle soup, modified to include traditional Mongolian ingredients such as mutton and certain vegetables. A specific subtype of tsuivan is the guriltai shul, which also involves yak milk curd.
In short, expect a lot of meat and dishes that will keep you going for hours on end. It is the Mongolian way.