Mongolia, Tibet food
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Tue Sep 3 05:52:39 UTC 2002
I'll be in Mongolia and Tibet from September 7-27. I start out with a
17h10m flight to Seoul, South Korea, and then a 3h50m flight to Ulaanbaatar,
Mongolia. China has been taking out internet cafes all over the country, so
don't expect any posts at all.
I'll post some food words in advance.
5th edition--May 2002
First published--April 1986
Tellingly, the basic Tibetan meal is _tsampa_, a kind of dough made with
roasted-barley flour and yak butter (if available) mixed with water, tea or
beer--something wet. (...)
But outside Lhasa, Tibetan food is limited mainly to greasy _momos_ and
More common is thugpa, a noodle soup with meat or vegetables or both.
Variations on the theme include _hipdu_ (squares of noodles and yak meat in a
soup) and _thanthuk_ (more noodles). More ambitious and harder to find are
_shemdre_ (potatoes and yak meat on a bed of rice) and _shya vale_
(pancake-style pasties, fried, with a yak-meat filling). Also popular among
nomads is dreid yak (_yaksha_) or lamb meat.
Chinese food in Tibet is almost exclusively Sichuanese. (...) You may find
that some dishes include _huajiao_ (flower pepper), a curious mouth-numbing
spice that tastes a little bit like washing detergent. Another interesting
sauce is _yuxiang_, a spicy, piquant sauce that is supposed to resemble the
taste of fish (probably the closest thing you'll get to fish in Tibet).
Very few Chinese restaurants have menus in English.
Chinese snacks are excellent and worth trying. The most common are
ravioli-style dumplings called _shuijiao_. prdered by the bowl or weight
(half a jin is enough for one person) and steamed dumplings called _baozi_,
similar to momos and normally ordered by the steamer. You can usually get a
bowl of noodles anywhere for around Y5; _shaguo mixian_ is a particularly
tasty form of rice noodles cooked in a clay pot.
Dishes worth trying include _ganbanmian_, a kind of stir-fried spaghetti
bolognaise made with beef (or yak) and sometimes green peppers, and
_chaomianpian_, fried noodle squares with meat and vegetables. Muslim
restaurants also offer good breads and excellent Eight Treasure Tea
(_babaocha_), which is made with dried raisins, plums and rock sugar and only
releases its true flavour after several cups.
_Bo cha_, literally Tibet tea, is unlikely to be a highlight of your trip to
Tibet. Made from yak butter mixed with salt, milk, soda, tea leaves, the
soup mixture has more the consistency of bouillon than of tea...
3rd edition--May 2001
First published--May 1993
A guanz is an all-purpose word to describe a canteen. (..) If you are lucky
or prepared to wait, some steamed mutton dumplings (_buuz_) or fried mutton
pancakes (_khuurshuur_) may be available.
Bread of _mantuu_, a dooughy steamed bread roll, similar to the Chinese
_mantou_, are normally available.
You may be served a very (Pg. 99--ed.) sharp soft fermented cheese called
_aarts_, which will clear your sinuses, and _orom_, a type of thick
cream.which, if fresh, is delicious with bread nad jam for breakfast.
_Khoormog_ is yoghurt made from camel's milk and _tsotsgiin tos_ is butter.
Forget everything you ever learned about Mongolian hot pot...very little
is Mongolian about them. The most common dishes are _buuz_ (steamed
dumplings), with mutton filling, plenty of fat and flour. Smaller boiled
dumplings are called _bansh_ and are often served in soup or even in salty
If you are lucky you may be able to try _boodog_, when an entire goat, or
preferably marmot, is slowly roasted from the inside out by placing hot rocks
inside the skinned carcass, sealing it and then placing the carcass on the
The other main highlight of Mongolian cuisine is _khorkhog_, which is made
by placing hot stones from the fire into a pot or milk urn with chopped
sheep, some water and sometimes vodka and then sealing the pot and putting it
on the fire.
Mongolia is difficult, but not impossible, for vegetarians. Indeed, up
until recently, the Mongolian language only had one word to describe both
grass and vegetables.
(...) So wrote William of Rubrick in the 13th century about fermented mare's
milk (_airag_), or _cosmos_ as it was then known to medieval travellers.
MONGOLIA: EMPIRE OF THE STEPPES
by Claire Sermier
New York: Odyssey Guides (W. W. Norton & Co., Inc.)
Traditional Mongolian fare, such as _buuz_ and _huushuur_, can be found in
the ubiquitous _guanze_ (canteens).
Meat-filled dumplings: _buuz_
Meat pasties: _khuushuuur_
A FEW MONGOLIAN SPECIALTIES
_Shimin arkhi_ ( or _zaal'te us_ "clever water"): an alcohol made from
fermented cow's milk and distilled several times.
_Oorom:_ a cream of boiled milk the boiled milk is stirred with a ladle
until a thick skin forms on it, which is removed, cooled and dried. It can
be kept through the winter.
_Shar tos:_ "yellow butter", produced from melted _oorom_ and used for
making cakes and biscuits.
_Aaruul:_ curds that are dried in the sun.
_Arts:_ sour soft white cheese.
_Buuz:_ large dumplings filled with mutton and bits of onion.
_Baansh:_ small mutton dumplings cooked in stock.
_Boodog:_ a Mongolian specialty made from goat or marmot. Preparation
starts by pulling the innards our from the neck, after which, various spices,
vegetables, and white-hot stones are stuffed in the cavity. (...)
_Khorkhog:_ another classic Mongolian cooking method, this involves placing
strips of meat, vegetables, spices, water and hot rocks inside a large metal
canister. While the hot rocks and water steam the contents from the inside,
the sealed metal jug is placed over an open fire.
OED is adding "momo," but it's not enough. It has "pao-tzu," (or "baozi,"
and "mantou") in an entry starting from 1956.
Here a Google hit check for some terms (I added "Mongolia" or "Tibet" to
avoid some stray hits):
bo cha--4 hits
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