Mongolian Cuisine

Mongolian cuisine predominantly consists of dairy products, meat, and animal fats. The most common rural dish is cooked mutton. In the city, steamed dumplings filled with meat—”buuz”— are popular. The extreme continental climate of Mongolia has influenced the traditional diet. Use of vegetables and spices are limited. Due to geographic proximity and deep historic ties with China and Russia, Mongolian cuisine is also influenced by Chinese and Russian cuisine.

The nomads of Mongolia sustain their lives directly from the products of domesticated animals such as cattle, horses, camels, yaks, sheep, and goats, as well as game. Meat is either cooked, used as an ingredient for soups and dumplings (khuushuur, manti), or dried for winter (borts). The Mongolian diet includes a large proportion of animal fat, which is necessary for the Mongols to withstand the cold winters and their hard work. Winter temperatures are as low as −40 °C (−40 °F) and outdoor work requires sufficient energy reserves. Milk and cream are used to make a variety of beverages, as well as cheese and similar products.

The nomads in the countryside are self-supporting on principle. Travelers will find gers marked as guanz in regular intervals near the roadside, which operate as simple restaurants. In the ger, which is a portable dwelling structure (yurt is a Turkic word for a similar shelter, but the name is ger in Mongolian), Mongolians usually cook in a cast-iron or aluminum pot on a small stove, using wood.

The most common rural dish is cooked mutton, usually without any other ingredients. To accompany the meats, vegetables and flour products may be used to create side dishes as well. In the city, every other local displays a sign saying “buuz”. Those are steamed dumplings filled with meat. Other types of dumplings are boiled in water (bansh, manti), or deep fried in mutton fat (khuushuur). Other dishes combine the meat with rice or fresh noodles made into various stews (tsuivan [ru], budaatai khuurga) or noodle soups (guriltai shöl).



Khorkhog is a barbecue dish in Mongolian cuisine. Khorkhog is made by cooking pieces of meat inside a container, which also contains hot stones and water, and is often heated from the outside. When the dish is ready, the cook hands out portions of meat along with the hot stones which are tossed from hand to hand and are said to have beneficial properties. Khorkhog is a popular dish in Mongolian cuisine, but it is generally not served in restaurants.








It is a type of Mongolian steamed dumpling filled with meat. An example of authentic Mongolian and Buryatian cuisine, the dish is traditionally eaten at home during Tsagaan Sar, the Lunar New Year. These days it is also offered at restaurants and small cafes throughout the capital of Ulaanbaatar.


Borts is air-dried meat cut into long strips which are hung in the shade. The Mongolian nomadic lifestyle and the local climatic conditions gave rise to specific methods of preserving meat. The most widespread one is air-drying or ‘bortsloh’. The strips are hung on strings under the roof of a ger, where the air is free to circulate. After about a month the meat is dry, having turned into small, hard, wooden-like sticks with a brown color. This method of preservation causes the volume of the meat to shrink significantly. The dried borts is broken into small pieces or ground to a coarse and fibrous powder. Borts is more nutritious, and said to be tastier, than other modern field rations. There is an unconfirmed method from old times: Mongolian nobles relied on borts for months-long journeys. Dried carefully for three years and then ground into a fine powder, until it all could fit through a sieve. It further shrinks volume of the borts so whole cow’s meat can fit into a cow’s bladder. Just a pinch of borts prepared like this said to able to nourish 3-4 people in a soup form.


Airag is Mongolian traditional drink. Rural people making summer time in it. 1000-3000 times bit it in cow’s skin bag. (leader bag) Mongolian people used to airag in Naadam festival, wedding, New year and others. Some people can drink 2-3 letre one sit. Airag has included 7-8% of alcohol. So you will drink a lot of airag maybe you hang over. Airag is Mongolian respect and safely drink so you never to spit and drop it outside. During the Naadam and New year festival who win the wrestling competition, people present him with one big bowl airag. Also, horse racing competition whose horse wins people drop the airag horse’s croup.


It is a type of fried dough food found in the cuisines of Central Asia, Idel-Ural, Mongolia and the Middle East. It is shaped into either triangles or sometimes spheres. The dough consists of flour, yeast, milk, eggs, margarine, salt, sugar, and fat, and often decorated with a criss-cross pattern by pressing the bottom of a small strainer on the dough before it is fried. Boortsog is often eaten as a dessert, with sugar, butter, jam, or honey. They may be thought of as cookies or biscuits, and since they are fried, they are sometimes compared to doughnuts. Mongolians and Turkic peoples sometimes dip boortsog in tea. In Central Asia, baursaki are often eaten alongside chorba.    


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