A tasty guide to Mongolian food traditions / by Thomas O'Malley

White seasonMutton 'n spuds breakfastaruulSpecialsMilk tea aperitifMutton noodle soup
Wild strawberries 'n steppe cheeseMaking khuushuurWild blueberriesTown kidsWild berry sellerDairy factory
Selling yoghurtMutton khuushuurLocal yoghurt n wild blueberriesMix it upMarmot autopsyLeg or rib?
He's done this beforeNomad furnitureGer livingChinggis' own sudsDried muttonBoiling milk

Mongolian food, a set on Flickr.

Few people have anything very kind to say about Mongolian food. Sheep, goat, milk products and Russian bread are the mainstays of most stomachs in the world's least densely populated country. Scant on spices, fruit or vegetables (or recipes), it's fair to say Mongolia isn't a foodie destination.

That said, few countries have a culinary culture that has endured so unchanged over the centuries. If Ghengis Khan were transplanted to a modern day grassland ger, he would surely gaze in wonder at the motorbike out front and the flickering television set, but he'd be more than comfortable sharing a meal of mutton dumplings (buuz), and a cup of frothy, sour mare's milk (airag). I intended this piece for South China Morning Post to help folks realise the great historic and cultural value of Mongolian cuisine  -- and admit that some of it tastes OK too. Some of it.