What to eat in Mongolia? Is it dramatically different from other countries or surprisingly similiar? How would you react if I told you it is both. In the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, we eat every variety of food for breakfast: egg, bacon, bread, nutella, cereal, milk, toast, noodle etc. But in other parts of the country it is a bit different. We eat fried dough as breakfast and a lot of dairy products… Probably that is why majority of Mongolians are not lactose intolerant.
Modern breakfast of Mongolia
I was born and raised in Ulaanbaatar, so I think my morning diet is very similar to many others. We usually eat eggs and toast in the morning. Maybe some people add bacon and beans to their breakfast. Getting groceries has become easier over times, therefore your imagination is the only limit of your diet. In the capital of Mongolia, you can have any diet you please: vegetarian, vegan, pesceterian and kangatarian. Maybe sea food is little limited since Mongolia is a landlocked country, so if you have a fresh salmon as your breakfast every morning then traveling to Mongolia might be expensive for you.
Now let’s dive into more interesting food options in Mongolia.
Our traditional cuisine is deeply connected with the extreme climate and history of Mongolia. Traditional food of Mongolia mainly consists of flour, meat and dairy. We mainly consume products high in calories to survive in our extremely cold weather. Due to our battling history, our ancestors had to preserve their foods for a longer period. Therefore, they made dairy products and air drying meat as their main diet. Now we understand why Mongolians are crazy about meat and milk. So let’s talk about what kinds dishes we traditionally eat for our breakfast.
We make these simple yet delicious little miracles by forming and drying drained milk or sour milk. It is our go-to morning, day and night snack. We eat it no matter where we live or what day it is, because we just cannot get enough of this delicious treat.
Deeply fried dough / boortsog
Our nation has a simple taste when it comes to desserts. We deeply fry a dough that only has 6 simple ingredients: flour, butter, sugar, salt, yeast and milk. We eat it plain or mix it with any dairy product.
We make Clotted Cream by first indirectly heating cow milk using steam or a water bath . Then we leave it in shallow pans to cool slowly. The cream content rises to the surface and forms clots, during the cooling period. It is a simple traditional dessert every Mongolian loves as well. We love pairing it with our deeply fried dough or even more simple, a piece of bread.
Milk tea (Suutei Tsai)
We only use water, milk, salt and tea leaves to make the one and only suutei tsai of Mongolia. Sometimes, schedule is pretty tight in countryside of Mongolia, so it is common to consume milk tea as breakfast. We usually use fresh fatty milk for this beverage, so a person can feel full for a very long period.
We eat yogurt in the morning. Yeah… in the morning. But not European styled one that is high in sugar concentration or preservatives. We usually consume freshly made ones that has no added sugar and preservatives whatsoever. The process of making Mongolian yogurt is pretty similar to making clotted cream. After taking the clotted cream from the milk we add special bacteria to make the yogurt and after hours of stirring one and only Mongolian yogurt will finally be ready.
As you can see, MONGOLIANS LOOOOOOVE DIARY PRODUCTS…
People from other countries often assume Mongolians have only one type of diet and maybe majority of Mongolians primarily eat meat, flour and dairy. But we have variety of options when it comes to food and it depends on the location and resources.
So visit Mongolia and experience every unique dish of our cuisine. If you have a specific diet then do not be afraid, I am sure you will find yours without any problem.