Restaurants in Mongolia: Your Ultimate Guide
Welcome to Mongolia, a place of rich culture, fascinating history, and of course, mouth-watering cuisine! In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best restaurants in Mongolia, showcasing the wide variety of culinary delights that this amazing country has to offer. So, buckle up and get ready to embark on a delicious journey through the land of the eternal blue sky.
Ulaanbaatar: The Culinary Hub of Mongolia
As the capital city of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar is where you’ll find the most diverse array of restaurants. From traditional Mongolian eateries to international cuisine, there’s something here for everyone. Let’s dive in and explore some of the best dining options in the city.
1. Modern Nomads
Modern Nomads is a must-visit for anyone wanting to experience authentic Mongolian cuisine with a contemporary twist. The menu features a wide selection of traditional dishes, such as khorkhog (Mongolian barbeque), buuz (steamed dumplings), and khuushuur (fried dumplings). With its warm and inviting atmosphere, Modern Nomads is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the flavors of Mongolia.
2. Luna Blanca
For those in search of vegetarian and vegan-friendly options, Luna Blanca is a true gem. This cozy restaurant offers a range of plant-based Mongolian and international dishes, using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Don’t miss their delicious vegan tsuivan (stir-fried noodles with vegetables) or the heartwarming lentil soup.
Exploring the Culinary Landscape Beyond Ulaanbaatar
While Ulaanbaatar is the epicenter of Mongolian cuisine, venturing outside the capital city will reward you with even more amazing dining experiences. From traditional ger (yurt) restaurants to family-run establishments, let’s discover what culinary delights await you.
1. Steppe Nomads Ger Camp, Gorkhi-Terelj National Park
Located in the picturesque Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, the Steppe Nomads Ger Camp offers a unique dining experience within traditional Mongolian gers. Here, you can indulge in classic Mongolian dishes such as airag (fermented mare’s milk), boodog (roast meat cooked in its own skin), and homemade dairy products, all while enjoying the breathtaking natural surroundings.
2. Anar Restaurant, Kharkhorin
Anar Restaurant is a family-run establishment in the historic town of Kharkhorin, offering a warm and welcoming atmosphere. With a menu featuring a mix of Mongolian and European dishes, you can savor the flavors of Mongolia while enjoying the comforts of familiar cuisine. Be sure to try their tender lamb kebabs and homemade eezgii (dried curds) for a true taste of Mongolia.
Indulging in Local Street Food
For a more casual and budget-friendly dining experience, don’t miss the opportunity to sample some of Mongolia’s delicious street food. From bustling markets to roadside stalls, the options are endless. Here are a couple of must-try street food items:
Boodog is a traditional Mongolian dish, typically made from goat or marmot meat. The meat is cooked inside the animal’s own skin with hot stones,resulting in a tender, juicy, and flavorful feast. You’ll often find boodog at roadside stalls and outdoor markets, especially during special occasions and festivals.
2. Ul Boov
Ul Boov is a traditional Mongolian pastry, often served during celebrations and special events. The dough is carefully shaped into intricate patterns and then deep-fried until golden brown. This sweet treat is often enjoyed with a cup of suutei tsai (Mongolian milk tea), making for a delightful midday snack or dessert.
Experience Mongolian Food Culture
While enjoying the delicious food Mongolia has to offer, it’s important to immerse yourself in the local food culture. Here are a few customs and traditions to keep in mind during your culinary adventures:
Mongolians are known for their warm hospitality, and it’s common for locals to invite travelers into their homes to share a meal. If you’re fortunate enough to receive such an invitation, remember to show gratitude and respect by accepting the offered food and drink, even if you’re not hungry. It’s an essential part of Mongolian culture to show appreciation to your host.
2. Traditional Mongolian Tea
Suutei tsai, or Mongolian milk tea, is a staple beverage in the country. It’s made by boiling water with tea leaves, then adding milk and a pinch of salt. This unique combination may take some getting used to, but it’s a must-try for any visitor to Mongolia. You’ll often be offered suutei tsai when entering a local home or ger, as a symbol of hospitality.
3. Ger Etiquette
When dining in a traditional ger, it’s essential to be mindful of proper etiquette. Always remove your shoes before entering, and avoid stepping on the threshold. Once inside, move in a clockwise direction and be sure to accept any food or drink offered to you. By respecting these customs, you’ll foster a deeper connection with the local culture and enhance your overall dining experience.
Embark on Your Culinary Journey
With a wealth of diverse dining options, from high-end restaurants in Ulaanbaatar to authentic ger experiences in the countryside, Mongolia is a true culinary paradise. Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or just looking to sample new flavors, the unique combination of traditional and modern dishes will leave you wanting more. So, grab your appetite and set off on a gastronomic adventure through the land of the eternal blue sky!