“Mongolian food is terrible !”
We often hear this sentence, but it only depends on what you like to eat. We can assert that Mongolian cooking is not bad; it is only simple and little monotonous, comprising mainly meat (mutton, goat), flour (from which they make pasta, raviolis, bread, or typical recipes like khuushuur or buuz), rice, or potatoes. Regarding vegetables, we can find cabbages, carrots, and onions. At last, dairy products are also very consumed in summer.
For our part, as far as possible we try to mix flavours, and in that purpose, we have our own kitchens in Ulaanbaatar, where Miga, the chef, prepares with his team some occidental dishes, comprising vegetables. These dishes are vacuum-packed for the needs of the tour. This system also allows us to prepare vegetarian or gluten-free meals. On the other hand, it’s obvious that the longer the tour is, or the more self-sufficient treks the tour is composed of, and the more limits this system knows, because it’s not possible, for example, to keep these dishes for the 18th day of your trip. That’s why we also use a lot of canned foods and starches, rice and pasta (children are generally very glad in Mongolia, promised, no spinaches!)
See our articles on Travelling in Mongolia when you are vegetarian
Regarding fruit, it’s the same thing, we use many fruit in syrup and stewed fruit, but as soon as we pass through a village, the guide or the cook go to the market to stock up again with meat, vegetables (cucumbers, tomatoes for salads, carrots, cabbages and potatoes) and fruit.
The breakfasts are classic breakfasts, with tea, coffee, pastries and biscuits, jam, honey, spread, cereals, etc. Moreover, if you have any particular request, we can prepare almost everything (no, not oysters!).
The cook is generally here when the tour includes tent camping nights and has at least four participants, and when the tour includes only nights in yurts and has at least eight participants. In the other situations, the guide will deal with the meals.
During the hikes or treks (pedestrian and horse riding), it can soon become difficult for the guide to manage the preparation of meals, even if you’re only two or three; a help from you will be greatly liked.
For the private tours from four to six participants, you can, for reasons of cost, choose to do without a cook’s services. In that case, the guide will be only the conductor, and you will have to be actively involved in the preparation. But please note that with six persons, if you decide to have a cook, you will have to take also a second vehicle, whose additional cost is very important.
On the other hand, you can also, for more comfort, choose to have a cook even if you’re only one, two or three participants. Miga, our chef, also goes with the travellers for the luxury tours… for exceptional meals, candlelit dinners, in the very middle of the steppe…
Restaurant in Ulan Bator
During these last few months, the supply regarding restaurant industry quickly grew in Ulan Bator. Nowadays, we can find excellent gourmet restaurants and specialities from the whole world: Italian, Indian, Mexican, Japanese, Lebanese and of course Korean. Unfortunately, some chains like KFC or Pizza Hut appeared too.