Wicked Winterfrost

Mongolian Hospitality aka Why I Won’t Eat Any Dairy Products For Another Month

Posted in Mongolia by talikas on June 14, 2009

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First thing that amazed me was the way Mongolians have connected their ancient way of living with modern commodities. Beautiful gers scattered around the countryside are decorated with traditional bright colored paintings on the doors and colorful fabrics inside, but most of them also have solar batteries on the roof, television sets, some even washing machines and PCs. Also, it is common to see nomads herding their animals not sitting on a horse, but on a Russian motorcycle.

Secondly, the legendary Mongolian hospitality… Already on the first day of our trip we were invited to a road-side ger to drink some traditional Mongolian tea (salty milk tea), and not a single day passed without meeting some friendly locals and being kindly offered some of their food: mostly dairy products based on goat, cow, camel, yak milk such as cream, yogurt, butter, cheese, curd… Some of these things are tastier than others, all of them quite greasy and sour, but nothing can beat fresh yogurt with blackberry jam. Airag, the famous alcoholic treat made of horse milk, was unfortunately not available, because it is not the season yet.

So it happened, that when we asked for the right way in some of the gers, they immediately invited us in and offered all the freshest food. When we put up our tents somewhere (in the middle of nowhere), it didn’t take long until some young girl or a family passed (on foot, motorcycle, by horse) bringing us a pot of fresh cream. And, of course, all for free, no catch. Our guide, Tseigi, added that people in the countryside are just a bit bored, and therefore get excited to meet new people and hear their gossip, news and stories.

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The gers are usually heated by an iron stove (above) and since Mongolia is not the most tree-rich country, the fire is usually made by using dried animal dung (also above). Locals believe that horse dung has the best odeur :) It is surprisingly easy to make a fire using that stuff, we know, we tried.

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