Mongolia: Surprisingly Appetizing


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October 15th 2017
Published: October 17th 2017
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For the first time ever, my holiday goal was to lose weight while I was traveling. I know it sounds counterintuitive. Who goes on vacation to diet? Certainly not this girl, who usually eats her way through trips like she is on death row. But whoever said, "Oh go to Mongolia, you will love the food?" Who has ever planned a dinner party and served fine Mongolian cuisine?

So the plan was that I would be working all day among the elements and then would be served some simple, not-so-appetizing campfire meal. It sounds like the perfect equation for weight loss. Perfect, expect for the one thing I did not calculate.

Mongolian food is fantastic. It is hearty and filling, but it is also tasty and satisfying. I can honestly say I did not have one bad meal in Mongolia.

I know we think we know what Mongolian food is like because of those popular Mongolian BBQ joints that dot our fine cities, but that is only a small piece of the story. I bid no disrespect to our local Mongolian restaurant as, I am not naming names, but there I am considered a regular. If we gauged our knowledge about Mongolian cuisine on these dining experiences we would be selling it short.

The Steppes to the West expedition team and our Australian Camel professors arranged for us to have two chefs at Camel Camp. They made every meal we consumed and they took very good care of us.

They dealt with unpredictability like schedules based on "camel time," someone stealing all the camp meat and cocktail hours that bled into the night, but they handled it like champs. Our chefs even stepped in when some of us Westerns struggled to learn how to tie all the proper knots!

We were regularly served soups, dumplings and noodle dishes. We had grilled meats, mixed salads and pastas. For breakfast we had eggs, meats and sometimes fried bread. Yes, they had me at fried bread! The regular schedule of meals was even occasionally punctuated with caviar, mulled wine and fresh fruit.

All of our meals were prepared in the ger where we ate, attended camel discussions and celebrated the day's accomplishments during our own version of cocktail hour.

So needless to say, there was not any tightening of the belt loops on this trip.


Additional photos below
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Lunch CrewLunch Crew
Lunch Crew

Photo credit: Gillian Barber
Cooking and Heating StoveCooking and Heating Stove
Cooking and Heating Stove

Photo credit: Kaila Frazer
Making DumplingsMaking Dumplings
Making Dumplings

Photo credit: Gillian Barber
Dumplings for SoupDumplings for Soup
Dumplings for Soup

Photo credit: Gillian Barber
Sheep HarvestSheep Harvest
Sheep Harvest

One night as we slept the camp meat supply was stolen, so it was necessary to butch a sheep the next day. Photo credit: Gillian Barber
Inside the GerInside the Ger
Inside the Ger

Photo credit: Kaila Frazer
Dining HallDining Hall
Dining Hall

Photo credit: Gillian Barber
Camel TalksCamel Talks
Camel Talks

Photo credit: Gillian Barber
Camel Camp Happy HourCamel Camp Happy Hour
Camel Camp Happy Hour

Photo credit: Gillian Barber


17th October 2017

Food
I got the 'simple meals by campfire' that you anticipated. One morning I woke up and looked at the top of our van and the leg of sheep/goat/deer that we had been sawing meat off each day was laying up on the roof! We put it in the van and kept driving...and eating...
17th October 2017

Lie?
Are you lying about the food??😳

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