Can you suggest some Mongolian dishes for vegetarians?

Two traditional Mongolian foods, aaruul and boortsog, on a table in rural Mongolia.

Introduction: Vegetarianism in Mongolia

Vegetarianism is not a common dietary choice in Mongolia, where meat and dairy products play a central role in traditional cuisine. However, the country’s nomadic lifestyle and reliance on natural resources have led to the development of a unique and diverse range of vegetable-based dishes.

For vegetarians and vegans visiting Mongolia, finding suitable food options can be challenging. However, with a little research, it is possible to discover a variety of delicious and authentic Mongolian dishes that are meat-free.

Traditional Mongolian Dishes without Meat

While many Mongolian dishes contain meat, there are several vegetarian options that have been popular in the country for centuries. One such dish is called boodog, which involves cooking vegetables and spices inside a goat or sheep’s stomach. However, for vegetarians, this dish can be modified to exclude the meat and still be tasty.

Another traditional vegetarian option in Mongolia is called aarts, which is a porridge made from a mixture of grains, such as millet, wheat, or rice, and is often flavored with butter or salt.

Buuz: A Vegetarian Take on a Classic Mongolian Dish

Buuz is a traditional Mongolian dish that is typically made with ground meat, onion, and spices, then steamed inside a dough wrapper. However, there is also a vegetarian version of buuz that replaces the meat with tofu or a vegetable-based filling, such as mushrooms or carrots.

The vegetarian version of buuz is just as flavorful as the traditional version and is a great option for vegetarians looking to experience classic Mongolian cuisine.

Tsuivan: A Hearty Vegetarian Noodle Dish

Tsuivan is a popular noodle dish in Mongolia that usually includes meat, but can be modified for vegetarians. This dish involves frying noodles with vegetables, such as cabbage, carrots, and onions, and adding a flavorful sauce made from soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar.

The vegetarian version of tsuivan is a hearty and satisfying dish that showcases the delicious flavors of Mongolian vegetables.

Khuushuur: A Savory Vegetarian Pastry

Khuushuur is a savory pastry that is traditionally filled with ground meat and fried until crispy. However, there is also a vegetarian version of khuushuur that replaces the meat with potatoes and other vegetables.

The vegetarian version of khuushuur is just as delicious and filling as the traditional version and is a great option for vegetarians looking to try Mongolian street food.

Veggie-Friendly Mongolian Restaurant Options

While it can be challenging to find vegetarian options in traditional Mongolian restaurants, there are several veggie-friendly restaurants in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. One such restaurant is called the Loving Hut, which specializes in vegetarian and vegan cuisine and offers a variety of Mongolian-inspired dishes.

Other veggie-friendly restaurant options include the Goviin Khulan Vegetarian Restaurant and the Luna Blanca Vegetarian Cafe.

In conclusion, while finding vegetarian options in Mongolia can be a challenge, there are several traditional dishes that can be modified and several veggie-friendly restaurants to choose from. With a little research and a willingness to try new things, vegetarians can still experience the unique flavors of Mongolian cuisine.

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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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