Thursday, 9 December 2010

stuff what I have eaten

During my time in Mongolia I have eaten a vast variety of food. Before coming here I had presumed that Mongolia would serve up the same food as you find in Mongolian restaurants throughout the world - how very wrong to presume anything. The staple fare in Mongolia is almost entirely based around mutton, dumplings and fat. Don't let this put you off though, the local dishes are truly delicious. Amongst my favourites so far are buuz (steamed dumplings filled with mutton, photo), bansh (boiled dumplings with mutton), khuushuur (deep fried mutton - this appeals to my Scottish taste buds - think juicy Cornish pastie). Other dishes include noodles and rice dishes; almost all containing mutton. The diet here is all about using what's readily available and preparing the body for harsh weather.

In and around Ulaanbaatar there are a ridiculous number of eateries (some fine, some less so). Eating out is almost the same price as cooking for yourself so it really is a no-brainer. Besides the usual selection of Thai, Korean, Indian and Chinese menus available there are some foods you would be hard pushed to find in Europe. Imagine yourself cooking up your own table stew of bulls penis and spring onions. Wonder at the taste of fried chicken heads (surprisingly sweet). Marvel at the aroma of sheeps head stew with vegetables. Gorge yourself on fattened duck hearts. Pig out on cockroaches on sticks.

I can safely say that they are all particularly yummy and know that there is one special friend in the Basque country who would happily have eaten everything I did with as much gusto!

Mongolian of the day:- to cook :: khool khiikh