Mongolian Food - The Less is Good

Mongolian cuisine is scarce in variety but rich in nutrition and primarily consists of dairy products and meat


Mongolian food is affected by its climate and nomadic culture. Because of Mongolia's harsh climate, the majority of the country's food is made up of nutrient-rich dairy, meat, and animal fats. Additionally, because of their nomadic lifestyle and constant movement, the families lacked the time to create any kind of delicate cuisines.

The majority of Mongolian cuisine, which comprises only a few dishes like Khorkhog, Bodog, and Borts, consists almost entirely of various varieties of meat cooked in certain ways. There are other dishes influenced by Russian or Chinese cuisine but they’re not inherently Mongolian.

Examples are Buuz*, Khuushuur, Tsuivan, Lapsha, etc. Additionally, the ingredients were scarce because farming was unheard of in earlier times; consequently, flour and rice entered our daily lives rather late, while vegetables and spices were the most recent additions. So regardless of whether it is grilled, steamed, boiled, fried, or dried, you are most likely to find cattle, mutton, horse, goat, or game meat anywhere in the nation.

Here is a fun fact, do you know the world-famous Mongolian barbecue is not actually related to Mongolia? The dish was created by Taiwanese restaurant owners in the 1950s and later introduced to the western world.

Nowadays, restaurants serve Mongolian barbecue all over the world but some of them made it more “Mongolian” by using meat from Mongolia. In Ulaanbaatar, you can easily find barbecue places as it is pretty common whether it is Chinese, Korean, or Mongolian.

Besides the main courses, dairy products are a big part of the Mongolian foods pyramid. Dried curds, cheese, yogurt, clotted cream, and butter are the most delicious desserts. And Airag and milk liquor are very popular beverages and slightly alcoholic. Also, the only traditional pastry is Boortsog. Which are basically fried dough without any frosting and usually salty rather than sweet.

Coming back to the meat of our article (pun intended), although they were on the market before, pork, chicken, and fish or seafood are more accessible than ever, compared to the 13th century.

So don’t worry about not finding any Mongolian food you can eat, we have everything in Ulaanbaatar. And it’s not like you are going straight to the gobi desert right? Prepare your essentials in the city and go travel around the country!

But it should be noted that I know trying the traditional Mongolian food is what it is all about, the article is written from the local’s point of view. So tread lightly as the Mongolian cuisine can be extreme by your standards and can lead to unpleasant feelings like any other Mongolian food that you never tried before. Or if you like to take risks then have at it. After all, the unforgettable experience is all that matters, isn’t it?

Mongolian Cuisine

Mongolian Barbeque - Mongolian Foods

Mongolian barbeque is a dish made with various types of meats and vegetables. The cooking process is that it is cooked on large, round and solid iron griddles at temperatures up to 300 degrees.

Mongolian bbq

Buuz - Fried Dough

Buuz is a type of Mongolian steamed dumpling filled with Shredded beef. These are eaten quite frequently throughout the year, but especially during the Mongolian New Year (Tsagaan Sar) in February.

Due to their accessibility in both the nation's capital and gers throughout the countryside, these meat-filled fried dumplings may be the most well-known of Mongolia's cuisines. It is among the favorite Mongolian dishes in Mongolian cuisine and serves as the centerpiece of the Lunar New Year celebration in Mongolia.


The use of animal fat makes these two-bite dumplings exceptionally tasty. They are often filled with minced mutton and flavored with soy sauce and seasonal herbs (if available; this won't always be the case out on the steppe).

Buuz can be made with a variety of substances and fashioned into numerous forms, just like dumplings present in other Asian nations, so be eager to test them in all of the provinces.


Khorkhog is a special Mongolian barbecue dish mostly made with mutton. It is made by cooking pieces of meat and vegetables inside a container that also contains hot stones and water and is often also heated from the outside.


Khorkhog is a well-liked meal in the countryside, though it's unusual to be found in restaurants. Similar to boodog, it's typically dished up right from the boiling pot, stones and all.


Stir-fried noodle Tsuivan is a fried Mongolian noodle dish that is typically served with mutton and vegetables including potato, carrots, and cabbage. It is thought to have evolved in China. However, the flavor of this popular Mongolian dish is absolutely peculiar to Mongolia because the meat is fried and then steamed in the same pot.

While the meat might be anything from mutton to horse-to-tail fatty meat, the fried noodles are often cooked from scratch. Whatever is available will work best in the nomad way of life.


No matter where you travel, you must have no trouble locating it because it is among the most popular foods in Mongolia. Many Mongolians consider its left-over combined with milk tea the best dish of all.


Khuushuur, another delicacy that resembles dumplings, is more closely related to Russian food than to East Asian food. Any type of meat, including mutton, camel, and other animals, is mixed with onions or garlic before being stuffed into a round of dough and deep-fried to create the final product.


It is comparable to chiburekki in Russian cuisine. It is comparable to chiburekki in Russian cuisine. Being an ooficial food of Nadaam festival, this item is famous among Mongolians. Size, shape, and protein content can vary, but the greatest part is that you can get khuushuur almost anyplace in Mongolia, which will make you an expert in no time.

Size, shape, and protein content can vary, but the greatest part is that you can get khuushuur almost anyplace in Mongolia, which will make you an expert in no time


Lapsha is a noodle soup with mutton or Mongolian beef. You will find this dish in every rest stops in rural areas.



Boodog is a special Mongolian barbeque made with either goat or marmot. The most popular animals to grill are goats and marmots, and for both, hot stones are inserted inside the carcass after the meat has been isolated from the skin. This cooking method uses the abdominal cavity of a deboned goat or marmot.


Since boodog is usually only offered to large groups of folks on special events, you can frequently see it on the steppe or even anywhere outside festivities are taking place.

Mongolians enjoy rubbing used cooking stones between their hands after the meal is finished cooking because they think it improves their health.


Borst is air-dried meat cut into long strips. The meat is dried in a ger (yurt) for about a month. It is a perfect fit for the Mongolian nomadic lifestyle as this method preserves the meat over months or even years. You can eat it as it is or make noodle soup with it.



One of the greatest Mongolian breakfast foods for those who partied the night before is Bantan, a popular soup with a reputation for curing hangovers. Juicy meat or lamb and small bread crumbs are the main ingredients. Bantan cooks and serves up really quickly.


So, if you're seeking for a dish to revive you after a wild party, try Bantan right now! You only need one spoon to instantly heal your soul!

Guriltai Shul Noodle

Another classic favorite, this meat-based noodle soup often includes veggies, a clear mutton stock, and obviously, hand-made noodles. The two main flavor qualities of guriltai shul are the acidity from the yak's milk curds and the raw umami from the meat.

This soup is regarded as being exceptionally nutrient-dense, especially given the addition of veggies, which is uncommon in Mongolia. Guriltal shul lacks a lot of spices, like most Mongolian foods, yet it still has a tonne of flavor.

Budaatati huurga

A well-liked rice dish in Mongolia is called budaatati huurga. Cook the rice with eggs, cabbage, onions, bell peppers, carrots, beef, or lamb that has been chopped up. To flavor, the food, soy sauce, cumin, and red chili flakes or powder are frequently used. It's time to eat whenever the rice on the bottom turns crispy and the entire dish is fully cooked and tender. You can use roast beef or another type of beef in place of the unseasoned, boiled beef. Decrease the salt in the recipe if you use marinated beef.

Rice that has recently been cooked and refrigerated can also be used. This hearty dish has a delicious pungency to it and may be served for lunch or dinner.

Mongolian Dairy Products


Aaruul, a dish frequently eaten in the summertime, is a staple of the nomadic tribes of Mongolia. The most frequent sources of the milk required to make aaruul are sheep, goats, cows, and yaks.

Aaruul, a Mongolian Curd Cheese can be seasoned with herbs for a savory serving or with sugar and fruits for a tastier dish. Aaruul has sour undertones that set it apart from the salty curds made famous in Canada as well as the Northern United States.

You will benefit from the nutrients and calcium that have maintained the teeth of nomad Mongolians healthy for millennia, regardless of how it is presented—hard, creamy, oily, or delicious.

Suutei Tsai - Milk Tea

One of the more popular drinks consumed by Mongolians is Mongolian milk tea or Suutei Tsai. In fact, it is customary for Mongolians to prepare and consume this salty milk tea every day, both as a nutritional practice and as a way to connect with their roots.

Because milk tea is such a deeply ingrained part of Mongolian culture, the method and ingredients used to make it are highly prized. The traditional method for making Mongolian milk tea includes fermentation, boiling, combining, and stewing.

Airag - Mongolian Fermented Milk Beverage

The national beverage of Mongolia, airag - fermented mare's milk, must be paired with each and every traditional drink. Russians and Turks both refer to airag as "kumis," and it is a very well-liked beverage.

Horses are highly venerated in Mongolian culture, and the country's most well-known beverage has that name. Fermented mare's milk is used to make airag. Airag sparkles and pleasantly reenergizes on the tongue. It has up to 2% alcohol concentration and a trace amount of carbon dioxide.

After becoming used to it, the flavor shifts from being initially a little sour to being extremely nice. The features of the pasture and the process of production both affect the exact flavor. The beverage is a wonderful source of minerals and vitamins for the nomads.

Tarag - Mongolian Yoghurt

By creating an acidic environment in the mouth, yogurt stops harmful germs in its tracks. With 10 liters of milk and 150–200 grams of yogurt, it is created from sheep, goat, as well as cow milk.

A small amount of milk can be mixed with the yogurt first, and then it will be put into the jar of warm milk. After ladling up and pouring back, you must empty the contents of the pot into a wooden container and keep them warm.

It's not excellent yogurt if you can't make it hot, keep it warm, or even find a supply of yogurt. It should be chilled before eating and will be prepared in about 2-3 hours.

Mongolian Green Beans

Not exactly the most interesting side dish, green beans. Therefore, coat them in a tart sauce and freshly cooked rice to make the vegetarian dish of your fantasies.

Just a few ingredients, including garlic, ginger, soy sauce, as well as red pepper, can transform your beans from a boring side dish into a delicious crowd-pleaser.

Eezgii - Fried Curd

A typical traditional Mongolian dish is eezgii. It is produced by boiling milk and a tiny quantity of yogurt or kefir. The ingredients are heated till all liquid has evaporated after they have curdled.

The dried curd mixture is then heated during roasting to produce tiny, golden-colored cheese fragments. Usually kept in a canvas bag, eezgii is consumed as a snack in between meals. The feel on the tongue is gritty or sandy, and the flavor is mildly sweet.

Zookhii - Cream

Another of the quickest dairy products to prepare is zookhii, or cream. simply letting the milk curdle for 6 to 8 hours in a warm setting, then skimming the cream from the top.

The "white oil" (tsagaan tos), which is created by straining and churning the milk, is then gently heated to extract the "yellow oil," or clarified butter. The leftovers from the extraction of "white oil" are called tsötsgii, a delectable cream that is consumed when combined with sugar cane and fried millet.

Suutei Tsai - Mongolian Green Milk Tea

In Mongolia, Suutei Tsai is yet another well-known beverage. Green milk tea is typically served with dumplings like Bansh. Although you would anticipate a sweet beverage, this one has a salty, creamy, and savory flavor instead!

The tea may seem strange at first, but as you become used to it, it will be really delicious! The Mongolians love drinking suutei tsai because it makes them nostalgic for their own country.

Even now, it is customary for them to sip this green milk tea every day. You can tell that Mongolian culture has profoundly ingrained its milk tea tradition.

Shimiin Arkhi – Milk Vodka

How many of you have drank alcohol made from dairy? Something like it is Shimiin Arkhi. It is a type of milk-based vodka that is typically served hot before bedtime or on other festive occasions along with various dairy delicacies like Aaruul or Eezgii.

This milk vodka is not at all simple to prepare! It involves a difficult manufacturing technique that has been carried out over many generations. The end result is therefore definitely worth a try! Commercial milk vodka is also available on the market if you want it.

Frequently Asked Questions about Mongolian Food:

What is traditional Mongolian food primarily composed of?

Traditional Mongolian food is heavily influenced by the country's climate and nomadic culture. The majority of its dishes consist of nutrient-rich dairy, meat, and animal fats, particularly from cattle, mutton, horse, goat, and game meat. Due to the nomadic lifestyle, more delicate cuisines weren't prevalent.

Is the world-famous Mongolian barbecue from Mongolia?

No, the world-famous Mongolian barbecue was not originated in Mongolia. It was created by Taiwanese restaurant owners in the 1950s and was later introduced to the western world.

What are some examples of traditional Mongolian dishes?

Traditional dishes include Khorkhog (a barbecue dish made with mutton), Buuz (steamed dumplings filled with beef), Tsuivan (fried noodles served with mutton and vegetables), Khuushuur (deep-fried dumplings resembling Russian chiburekki), and Boodog (a barbecue made with goat or marmot). Additionally, dairy products like dried curds, yogurt, clotted cream, and butter are popular.

Are there vegetarian dishes in Mongolian cuisine?

While meat is predominant in Mongolian cuisine, there are some vegetarian-friendly options like Mongolian Green Beans. The beans are coated in a tart sauce with garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and red pepper, turning them into a flavorful dish. However, historically, vegetables and spices were later additions to Mongolian cuisine, so they might not be as prevalent.

What are popular Mongolian beverages?

Mongolians enjoy several traditional beverages. Suutei Tsai is a salty milk tea that is a staple in the Mongolian diet. Airag is a fermented mare's milk drink known as the national beverage of Mongolia. It has a slightly sour taste and contains up to 2% alcohol. Tarag is another popular drink, which is essentially Mongolian yogurt.

I hope this answers your questions about Mongolian cuisine! If you have any more inquiries or need further details, feel free to ask.

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