What to eat in Mongolia | Eat Like Nomads

If there’s anything we humans have in common, it’s that we like to eat. Many of us think food is the best way to learn about culture and people.  If you agree, then you must taste and eat like locals during your travel in Mongolia, in order to experience the culture, learn about the people, and immerse yourself in what makes Mongolia unique. Yes, we believe you can do all of that through food.


Food brings people together on many different levels.

It's nourishment of the soul and body.


Suutei tsai –Salty milk tea  

If you visit a Mongolian nomad family, they will first offer you a milk tea. Mongolia have various kind of tea and every corner of Mongolia has different type of making tea.

Mongolians say that milk tea with 7 dumplings will treat anything and recover your tired body and cook it specialy in rainy day with family.

mongolian milk tea

How to make it:  boil water at first, then put the ground green tea and boiling with soft fire and brewed for 2-3 minutes and put milk and salt both to it and ladle properly that is the normal tea with milk.


Khorkhog – Meat with rocks 

The Khorkhog known as Mongolian barbecue it is usually made with mutton, which is cooked in a pot containing burning rocks heated in an open fire. Vegetables are added to make a stew and the flavors are left to blend for several hours. For more about recipes and ingredients. 

mongolian food

Interestingly, in addition to handing out the meat, the cook usually passes around the hot stones for good luck.


Mongolian Vodka & Milk Vodka

Mongolian traditional vodka is distilled with fermented cow yoghurt. The higher alcoholic range can be about 15-20% while you can have slightly different tastes because all nomadic families have their own still. Mongolians prefer to drink when it’s hot which is considered good for health. For more about Mongolian Beverages


The process of making Mongolian Vodka in Ger /Yurt/ 

Huushuur – fried meat pastry 

Deep fried meat pastry or dumpling that uses mutton mostly. The meat is placed inside a dough pocket and then fried in oil until golden brown. Round huushuur is popular in Mongolia’s Naadam festival. During the Naadam, people eat Huushuur with any vegetable salad and walk around Naadam stadium. 

mongolia meal huushuur mongolian dishes




After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations. 


Aaruul -  Dried Curds 

Mongolians produce many different types of dairy products from milk such as aaruul /dried curd/, urum /milk cream/, cheese, khailmag, airag /fermented mare’s milk/, yoghurts are main dairy products of Mongolia. 

what to eat in mongolia
Aaruul or dried curd is the best choice if you want to try dairy product.. 


Guriltai shol – real nomadic home food

It’s a meat based noodle soup with mutton or beef meat, noodle, onions, vegetable and some seasonings. You will really love this healthy and nutritious soup from handmade noodles and organic meat. It’s easy to cook and just prepare all the flavors and boil it. Add any vegetables for your flavor.


BUUZ – kind of bigger dumpling

Buuz is the main dish of the Mongolian Lunar New Year –Tsagaan Sar. During this festival, Mongolians make numerous buuz and served by visitors. Approximately, 20-30 buuzs are eaten in one day per person.

mongolia foods foods in mongolia


Mongolian buuz is similar with Chinese buuz (baozi), Japanese Gyoza, Korean Mandu, Turkic Manti, Indian Modak and Momo, Russian Pelmeni, Ukranian Vareniki etc.

Airag /Koumiss/ –Healthy & Nomad’s alcoholic drink

Airag is fermented mare’s milk and it’s a kind of alcoholic beverage for the nomads on the horseback. Airag is produced beginning in June and consumed throughout the summer months. It has a unique and a bit of sour taste.

From over the 5000 years ago people tamed wild horses on the steppes of Central Asia and fermented a beverage kumis from domesticated mare. At the Great Empire of Genghis Khaan period, warriors provided kumis in leather bag which often hanging them on the horseback.

drinks of mongolia

One-liter airag contains 453.7 kcal energy so it is might be one of the secrets of nomads strong, healthy and mighty. Around 1250, explorer William of Rubruck journeyed across the steppes and raved about the drink, stating that “Koumiss makes the inner man most joyful!”


Tsuivan –food loved by Mongolian men 

This is a noodle stew made with roughly cut noodles combined with a stock with meat, usually mutton, and vegetables. While Mongolians make tsuivan, they use one-pot cooking technique: the stew is prepared and then fresh noodles are steamed right on top. Mongolian eat tsuivan with milk tea. 

mongolia food and drinks


After all, what is Mongolia without Airag, Aaruul and other authentic nomadic delicacies? Indulging in outdoor camping meals, veering off the beaten path to where nomads make the best fermented mare’s milk, immersing yourself in khorkhog making at nomadic family, or even accepting a dare to drink Milk Vodka – these are the things vibrant memories are made of while you're travelling in Mongolia. Food is powerful. It’s what makes us who we are as a people. The eating and travelling well together make wonderful memory in your life.


One can  think well, love well, sleep well if one has dined well. 





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