Foods and Drinks
The two main ingredients used for cooking are meat and flour and the majority of livestock are cattle, horse, sheep, goats and camels. These animals are together categorised as the “five kinds of domestic animals”, while animals like chicken, duck or pigs are not included in this category as they were domesticated later on. Among the “domestic animals” the most popular for food are cattle and sheep. Mutton is regarded as “hot” meat as it warms up the organs. Therefore, someone who has a cold or fever is recommended to have mutton soup.
In Ulaanbaatar you can easily find chicken and pork, while in the countryside these are rare products. Mongolians hunt some wild animals, such as marmot, deer, bear, wild pig etc.
Though there are some vegetarians, Mongolians usually do not consider food without meat (beef or mutton) as the main course. In older times Mongolians did not use meat at all in the summer, as this was a time for fattening livestock. Summer time was the season of dairy products.
For flavouring Mongolians use a lot of salt. You won’t find any food without salt in it even a milk tea. Pepper, ketchup, sauce and other flavourings are available but not as commonly used as salt. Onion is also a very common flavouring in Mongolia and is found in almost every dish.
There are over 30 kinds of dairy products in Mongolia. These are made from the milk of domestic animals. Some of them are recommended to use when fresh and some are good for storage for winter. For example, fermented mare’s milk is nice when fresh and it is available only in summer and autumn (but you can find it bottled in the supermarkets). Dried dairy products like aaruul (curd) and eezgii are made especially for storage.
Top Restaurants in Ulaanbaatar
With the arrival of democracy the number of restaurants in Ulaanbaatar has increased rapidly and now the city has about 200 different restaurants. Which is a quite big number for a city with population of million people. Most Mongolians prefer food cooked at home, but it has become common to eat in restaurants and their choice is now much wider.
Besides Mongolian restaurants, there are a huge number of Chinese and Korean restaurants. Korean restaurants became popular recently, with the influx of Korean business while Chinese restaurants have been operating in Ulaanbaatar for a long time.
Also you can find restaurants with Russia, Japanese, French, Italian, Indian, Thai, Mexican, Turkish, Brazilian, Ukrainian and Kyrgyz cuisine, and English style breakfast, German style steaks and bakery. American style burgers are also available at several places.