Mongolian food wrap-up

by sumpteretc

Just a short note to wrap up our discussion of Mongolian food.

But first, the word for the day is буу (bo), which means “gun.” It came up because my teachers always ask me to share a news story, and I shared Dwain’s story of a drive-by shooting in Athens.

We haven’t eaten enough Mongolian food to really have an opinion on it, but most of what we’ve had has been good. We have stopped into a few tea shops or “eating-places” and just ordered randomly off of the menu. We’ve developed a good appreciation for tsuivan, which is a pile of noodles with hunks of fatty mutton in it. It’s greasy but tasty. I’ve ordered the “bishteks” before, which is basically Salisbury steak with a fried egg on top. Last night, we stopped at an eating-place to try their piroshkis, which are basically Russian empanadas. I loved them! We also tried a few buuz, which is the national food of Mongolia, I would say. It’s a few hunks of mutton wrapped in a pastry shell and steamed. It’s very edible although it will probably never be a favorite. Next week is the lunar new year in Mongolia, and most housewives are busy right now making hundreds of buuz for the visitors who will drop by their homes.

Our drink last night was probably one of the most common ones: milk tea. As I understand it, they boil a few tea leaves in salt water and then dump in a bunch of milk. The result is not very tea-like; it’s more like drinking hot, salty milk. That sounds pretty nasty, and it is a bit of an acquired taste but it’s not really too bad. The complaint I hear most often about Mongolian cuisine is the lack of variety. In the countryside, that would be a bigger problem, but here in Ulaanbaatar, there are lots of restaurants with many types of cuisines, so we’re not sweating it too badly at the present.