Traveling in style in Mongolia

November 20, 2011

Traveling in Mongolia has its particular challenges. First and foremost, you need a good care, a vehicle which can master potholes, uneven roadsides, gravel and other earthen ground and so on.

In short 4WD and SUV models are preferable transportation means.

It is also an advantage if you have a few more horsepower then needed in the city to overtake slower traffic, to avoid a collision with a cow, horse or other farm animal and/or an oncoming bus or truck.

In short, we did have such a vehicle.

I like the Mongolian custom to stop from time to time at specific locations to pray and rest. Usually one walks around a kind of stupa made from stones and decorated with colourful flags and banners.

If you want to, you can also add a stone here and there.

Usually one walks around the stupa three times, clockwise. One prays for a safe journey and a good arrival at the final destination.

No better occasion for a re-invigorating drink, isn’t it?

Thanks to our Mongolian hosts, we did exactly this. But instead of vodka, we opened a bottle of red wine.

I loved the special wine box with opener and other wine paraphernalia.

Note, that the driver should only partake in the drink sharing at a symbolic level.

Thanks folks for making our trip to the grasslands such a memorable event.

Mongolia – how to cook a meal in the steppe

October 19, 2011

The Mongolian grasslands

My work kept me so busy that I was even too tired in the evenings to update my beloved Man from Mosel River blog. After such a long absence I find it hard to get back to my writing.

Today I revisited the photos I took while travelling in Mongolia a couple of weeks ago. The waste grasslands made a deep impression on me. I greatly admired the hospitality of the Mongolians.

Almost a cliche: a lone rider with his horses traversing the grasslands

Cooking in these circumstances, maybe in a ger (yurt, a Mongolian felt tent), but more likely somewhere out there looking after the herds, is not an easy undertaking. One does not have the kitchen and cooking utensils necessary to prepare a gourmet meal.

The more I was surprised to learn about the “magic of the milk can”-cooking method. Alas there is human ingenuity.

This is how it goes:

One drops a couple of hot stones (usually larger river pebbles) in an old milk can (which were used in the good old days in our dairies), stuffs it with potatoes, cabbage and chunks of meat (mutton and beef), and closes the lid tightly for about 30 minutes, and voilà: the meal is ready.

I was told that a famous master chef confirmed that he had never eaten a better cooked piece of beef in his life.

The photos below give you an idea what it looks like.

It is an exciting moment when the cans are opened and they reveal their secret.

It looks a bit rough

But served on the table it regains stature, especially when Russian bubbly is on offer

A beautiful meal is waiting for us

..with some preserved vegetables…

..and potatoes and white cabbage as staples

PS: It was a delicious meal, I must say. I have to get used to the way the Mongolians cut their meat.

Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to taste the Russian sparkling wine. It was given to the women; we men drank vodka, of course.

What do you expect in Mongolia?

Mongolia – a paradise for beer and vodka drinkers

September 6, 2011

Mongolia is a great place. The capital city Ulaan Baatar is humming away with energy. Many “watering holes” are available for the thirsty (there is food for the hungry as well). Since our host is (among others) also the president of the Mongolian beer association, we indulge in this drink (plus some good vodka).

Two of the many beers I want to mention here, first, the Sengur beer and second the Chinggis beer brand, are both very delicious. Even after excessive amounts the “digestibility” is just perfect. This country seems to be a haven for beer drinkers.

Bottled Sengur beer

Chenggis draft beer

PS: I am off to the grasslands for a couple of days and will return to blogging only next week. I promise some new entries about the liquid made from grapes. Cheers

Vodka from Mongolia – Chinggis Gold

August 31, 2011

Since I am leaving for Mongolia tonight, I thought I share with you a unique vodka experience. Chinggis Kahn Vodka especially the Gold brand is a great drink. It is the leading vodka brand in Mongolia. After a meat rich meal and even without any food (but preferably after dinner), Chinggis Gold is just a treat.

This vodka is produced from high-quality, domestically grown wheat, and mountain spring water. Because of the very special distillation process (8 distillations and filtrations through quartz-sand and silver birch activated-carbon) it has an extremely fine taste and a very smooth palate.

The gold edition has already won three gold medals (from ‘Prod Expo 2009’, the ‘San Fransisco World Spirits Competition 2010’, and from the ‘Monde Selection 2010’). Chinggis Gold seems to become a luxury item. Treasure it. Cheers