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Sea Buckthorn

Heart of the Steppe: Top Healthy Foods in Mongolia

by Gastronomy team

Mongolia, with its vast grasslands and unique nomadic lifestyle, has a distinct culinary tradition that offers a variety of healthful foods.

  • Lean Meats: With livestock playing a central role in Mongolian life, lean meats like mutton and horse are staples, providing high-quality protein and essential nutrients.
  • Dairy Products: Mongolians produce a variety of dairy products from cows, yaks, goats, and camels. These are rich in calcium and protein, and include items like ‘aaruul’ (dried curds), ‘byaslag’ (cheese), and fermented beverages like ‘airag’.
  • Root Vegetables: Traditional Mongolian cuisine utilizes hardy root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and onions, which are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Wild Berries and Nuts: Gathered during summer, wild berries and nuts are a valuable source of antioxidants, healthy fats, and fiber.
  • Whole Grains: Breads, dumplings, and other dishes often incorporate whole grains, providing complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber.
  • Sea Buckthorn: This native fruit is packed with vitamin C and other antioxidants. It’s often consumed as juice, tea, or jam.

Mongolian cuisine, with its focus on lean meats, dairy, and hearty vegetables, provides a balanced diet that is well-adapted to the harsh, cold climate. From a warming bowl of ‘guriltai shul’ (noodle soup), a serving of ‘buuz’ (dumplings), to a refreshing cup of sea buckthorn tea, each meal offers a hearty and nutritious experience.

From the bustling markets of Ulaanbaatar to the tranquil expanses of the steppe, Mongolia’s culinary culture reflects the nation’s nomadic heritage and deep respect for livestock. Exploring Mongolian cuisine allows one not only to savor unique flavors but also appreciate the country’s robust, hearty approach to nourishment.

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