Accommodation and Food
Hotels in Mongolia are mostly found in Ulaanbaatar, where there are several large offerings to choose from. Most are locally owned and operated, although as Mongolia increases in popularity international chains such as Shangri-La and Hilton are opening in Ulaanbaatar.
There are also many smaller hotels of varying standards. Outside the capital, hotels are being developed accordance with advancement of hotel standard to which hotels are moving toward. For more information, you can visithttp://mongolianhotels.net/ where you can find most of the hotels located in every provinces of Mongolia.
A three star hotel Hunnu in which most of our costumers stay in may be booked for your two nights in Ulaanbaatar. For more information, please visit http://www.khunnupalace.mn/en.
Tourist Ger Accommodation
Most of time of the trip we will stay at tourist ger camps with simple furniture such as sleeping bed, table, and chairs with separate toilet, shower, bath, and dining room or restaurant. Following photographs are from our contracted organization ger camp. View of ger camp and inside view of ger.
As you see in the picture of inside view ger, there are very simple furniture and utilities as above mentioned. As a traditional nomadic dwelling, for extra information, the parts of the ger must be light so that nomads can transport it even on the back of a camel or on a horse cart from one place to another. It is said that the white pearl in the steppe because it looks like a pearl in the distance of vastness of the steppe. For information about ger tourist camps in Mongolia, please visit http://www.mongoliagercamps.net/.
There are some major crops grown in different parts of the country, such as wheat, and a limited variety of vegetables do appear in the markets fairly regularly. While vegetables are usually available, either locally or imported, they still are just becoming popular in the diet of Mongolians. Potatoes, cabbages, onions, garlic, tangerines, apples, cauliflower, radishes, beets, tomatoes, and cucumbers are seasonal and some of them may only be available in Ulaanbaatar.
Meat and some main vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and cabbages are processed with a surprising variety of methods, and combined with rice and hand made noodles.
We have collected all the contemporary mongolian recipes that we could find. The most well known dish might be the Buuz (steamed filled pockets). Among the drinks the traditional Milk Tea, und Airag fermented from mare's milk. But this is just a small display out of the variety of mongolian food.
The main drink for Mongolians is ‘suutei tsai’ which can be translated as a salty milk tea. There so many different types of tea and coffee, both national and imported, can be found in Mongolia, including famous brands from England, India and so on. The most prominent national beverage is airag, fermented mare's milk. As a result of the Russian influence during socialism, vodka has also gained some popularity with a surprising number of local brands (usually grain spirits).
Traditional Food and Meals
1. Dairy Products
Mongolian people call dairy products “Tsagaan Idee” which has been one of the main diets for Mongolians and is made of mostly milk in it. The people in Mongolia make a surprising number of types of products with tsagaan idйe, processing milk which comes from goats, horses, sheep, camels, cows and yaks – they are called major five types of domestic animals considering yaks as cows. Now let’s look at the main dairy products in Mongolia briefly.
Milk: Milk, the main source of dairy products, is used for making a large variety of food products in Mongolia. It comes from the five livestock both in the firm and herder’s and is processed differently depending on which livestock it is taken from. Mare’s milk, for example, is taken from mares and is fermented as airag whereas milk of goats, sheep and cows is commonly used for making milk tea and obtaining yoghurt, curds and creams. It is believed that milk is rich with its calcium content and good for growth and strength of human body. Once it is boiled, you can drink it directly.
Aaruul (curds): Many foreign dentists are surprised why Mongolians’ teeth are much strong and sharp when they meet someone who has grown up in real herders’ gers eating aaruul. It is believed by experts that this food item is the reason behind the strong teeth of Mongolian people. It is curdled milk that is dehydrated and dried. Once it is dried completely, it never goes bad. You will find this food item has some varieties depending on its content.
Airag: Airag, the fermented mare milk, is the national drink of Mongolia, with its long history of the country. In some parts of Mongolia, especially in central part, it is made almost every herder’s ger. You can visit their home and try it. The taste would be different owing to the region. The drink is also popularly served during weddings, festivals and other special events. Airag has an alcoholic content of about 7% and should be consumed with caution. It improves pathogenic microbes in your body and ensures good health if consumed in moderation.
2. Meals with Meat
The most common rural dish is cooked mutton, often without any other ingredients. This simple base material is processed with a surprising variety of methods, and combined with vegetables, rice and hand made noodles. The most well known dish might be the buuz (dumpling filled with meat). Other types of dumplings are boiled in water ("Bansh", "Manti"), or deep fried in mutton fat in recent years it is being replaced by vegetable oil ("Khuushuur"). Other dishes combine the meat with rice or fresh noodles into various stews (tsuivan, budaatai huurga) or noodle soups (guriltai shol). Following are the food items we chose as national meal of Mongolia.
Khorkhog. © R & B Mearns
Khorhog: This is the national food item in Mongolia. In this item, the meat (often together with vegetables) gets cooked with the help of stones, which have been preheated in a fire. This either happens with chunks of mutton in a sealed milk can ("Khorkhog"), or within the abdominal cavity of a deboned goat ("Boodog"). Sometimes vegetables, pepper and salt are also used for seasoning.
Khuushuur: This food item can be called fried meat dumpling. In recent years, it is filled with mutton and/or vegetables along with seasonings. During the Naadam festival, this item is the main dish for participants.