Food in Mongolia: The 10 Best Dishes and Recipes

Dive into the rich culture of traditional Mongolian cuisine with our top 10 dishes and recipes. Explore the flavors of food in Mongolia today!

Are you interested in traditional Mongolian cuisine? This article introduces you to the best dishes and recipes that make Mongolian food so special. Learn more about the culture behind the hearty meat dishes and nutritious dairy products.

The Essentials at a Glance

  • Traditional food in Mongolia is heavily based on meat and dairy products, reflecting the adaptability of the nomadic lifestyle.
  • Popular Mongolian dishes such as Buuz, Khorkhog, and Tsuivan are hearty and nutritious, often with unique preparation methods like cooking with hot stones.
  • In addition to traditional foods, modern influences in Mongolian cuisine offer a variety of international dishes and vegetarian options, especially in cities like Ulaanbaatar.

Introduction to Food In Mongolia

Imagine a cuisine shaped by centuries of a nomadic culture, a cuisine rich in nutrients and full of robust flavors. In Mongolia, culinary art has developed to meet the challenges of nomadic life. Here, in a land characterized by extreme weather conditions and a diverse landscape, people have created dishes that not only satisfy but also warm the soul. The cuisine of this country is a reflection of Mongolian culture and its adaptability.

Traditional Mongolian Cuisine

Traditional Food In Mongolia cuisine with various dishes and ingredients

Traditional Mongolian cuisine is the result of centuries-old adaptation to the harsh conditions of nomadic life. It is simple yet rich in flavor diversity and based on what nature has to offer.

Meat and dairy products are the pillars of this nutritious cuisine, nourishing both the body and the spirit of the Mongols.

Dairy Products

Dairy products hold a central place in Mongolian cuisine. They are not only a staple food but also a symbol of hospitality and prosperity. In summer, when animals produce abundant milk, various dairy products such as Aaruul, a dried curd snack, are made and matured in the sun into a delicious, tangy delicacy.

Tarag, the traditional Mongolian yogurt, refreshes and strengthens the body, perfect for long days in the saddle or fieldwork.

Meat Dishes

Meat is the heart of the Mongolian diet. Whether sheep, lamb, yak, horse, goat, or beef – the variety of meats used reflects the nomadic lifestyle. A special highlight is Boodog, the traditional grilled dish where the meat is cooked from the inside out with hot stones, giving it a unique flavor.

In winter, one of the four seasons, the meat is naturally preserved by the cold and can be enjoyed for months.

Popular Mongolian Dishes

Mongolian cuisine is famous for its hearty, filling dishes that reflect the strength and endurance of the people. When you eat in Mongolia, you will experience Mongolian classics from steamed dumplings to stews, a feast for every adventurer.


Buuz, the savory dumplings with juicy fillings of lamb or beef, are a staple of Mongolian festivities, especially during the New Year celebration Tsagaan Sar. They are a symbol of hospitality and a regular part of every meal.


Khorkhog is more than just a dish – it is an experience. This Mongolian barbecue is prepared with hot stones, which, along with lamb, carrots, and potatoes, are slowly cooked in an airtight container until everything is tender and full of flavor.


Tsuivan, a hearty noodle stew with lamb, carrots, and onions, is a popular comfort food in Mongolia. It combines all the elements of traditional cuisine in one dish and is often considered the best dish to eat.


Khuushuur, the fried counterpart to Buuz, is another favorite of Mongols and the official dish of the Naadam Festival. These crispy dumplings are filled with lamb or beef and a hint of broth, making them irresistible.

Mongolian Soups and Stews

Soups and stews are the backbone of Mongolian cuisine. They warm from the inside and offer a comforting meal after a long day.

Guriltai Shul

Guriltai Shul, a hearty noodle soup with fried noodles and juicy marinated meat, is a true delight for the palate and a typical meal found in Mongolia.


Bantan, a creamy soup combining meat and dough crumbs, is a traditional Mongolian remedy for hangovers and a testament to the creativity of Mongolian cuisine.

Desserts and Snacks

Desserts and snacks in Mongolian cuisine, including Boortsog and Nomshka
Oriental cuisine. On the hands of a person Bashkir baursak or Boortsog in a plate with an ethnic pattern. View from above.

Mongolian cuisine offers a range of sweet desserts and snacks that will delight any palate.


Boortsog, the traditional fried butter cookies, are a popular snack in Mongolia and a perfect sweet conclusion after a hearty meal.


Nomshka, these sticky caramel tarts, are a favorite for dessert and represent the sweet side of Mongolian cuisine.

Beverages in Mongolia

Traditional Mongolian beverages such as Suutei Tsai and Airag
Mongolian nomad woman preparing traditional milk tea for guest inside Ger

In addition to delicious foods, Mongolia also offers a variety of traditional beverages that accompany every meal.

Suutei Tsai

Suutei Tsai, the salted milk tea, is an indispensable part of every Mongolian meal and a beverage that should not be missing in any Mongolian yurt, especially during a journey through the Mongolian landscape.


Airag, the national drink made from fermented mare’s milk, is a mildly alcoholic beverage that is a must at festivals and celebrations.

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Cooking in the Yurt

Cooking in the traditional Mongolian yurt is an art in itself and involves unique methods and tools that shape the way of cooking. An experience of Nomadic Mongolian food can be found on one of our offroad Mongolia tours.

One-Pot Dishes

One-pot dishes like Tsuivan are perfect for yurt life as they are easy to prepare and all ingredients can be cooked in one pot.

Use of Hot Stones

The use of hot stones for cooking is a traditional method that gives dishes like Boodog their distinctive flavor.

Modern Influences and International Cuisine

In recent years, Mongolian cuisine has embraced modern influences and now includes a variety of international dishes.

International Restaurants

In Ulaanbaatar, there are numerous international restaurants offering dishes from around the world, enriching the culinary diversity of the capital.

Vegetarian Options

There are now also a number of vegetarian options in Mongolian cuisine that appeal to both locals and tourists.


Mongolian cuisine is a reflection of the country’s history and culture, offering a unique blend of traditional and modern influences.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • What are the main components of Mongolian cuisine?

    The main components of Mongolian cuisine are traditionally meat and dairy products, especially from cattle, sheep, horses, goats, and wild game.

  • What is Buuz?

    Buuz are Mongolian steamed dumplings filled with lamb or beef and are especially eaten during the New Year celebration Tsagaan Sar. They are a traditional dish in Mongolian cuisine.

  • How is traditional cooking done in a yurt?

    In a yurt, traditional cooking is done with portable stoves and methods like cooking with hot stones. These methods have long been part of the nomadic tradition and allow for the preparation of meals in the yurt.

  • What international cuisines can be found in Mongolia?

    In the capital Ulaanbaatar, you can find a variety of international cuisines, including Korean, Japanese, Italian, American, Chinese, and Russian restaurants. Especially in Ulaanbaatar, you have the opportunity to enjoy various international cuisines.

  • Are there vegetarian options in Mongolian cuisine?

    Yes, in Ulaanbaatar there is a variety of vegetarian and vegan restaurants offering traditional Mongolian dishes in vegetarian versions.

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