Mongolian Vegemite

One of my very considerate and hospitable work colleagues generously gave this to me on Friday afternoon.

Not sure what it is? See if you can guess.

I was with Jess (aka the newest and arguably biggest Shantasia fan – love your work Jess!).

After some egging on from our Mongolian co-workers, we thought “why the hell not?”, cracked it open and… well… the results were not pretty:

It didn't take us long to figure out this was not going to be a fun experience...

Here goes nothing...

Down the hatch....

Please don't throw up there Jess...

Please don't throw up there Jess... you're right near my laptop... I don't know how I would explain that to IT

And she's off... "to get water"

Meanwhile, while I was wetting my pants with laughter and just to prove that we hadn't been set up by our Mongolian colleagues, I asked Tuul to take a swig. She drank it like a champion... she is clearly CRAZY!

You would think that after Jess’ reaction, that I wouldn’t be stupid enough to drink it. But I’m not the brightest, so I gave it a try. Maybe not my finest look, but it kinda sums it up…

So what was it?

No, it wasn’t Airag (fermented mare’s milk) as I suspect many of you have guessed. I actually am yet to try this local delight (Batbold and Uyanga this is NOT an invitation for you to give me some next time I see you guys!).

It was camel’s milk. And to be fair, it kind of tasted like cow’s milk… that had been in the fridge for about four weeks… and then left in the sun for two days.

When you think about it, it’s kinda like Vegemite… if you don’t grow up with it then you think the locals are nuts for loving it.

Got milk?

I reckon you could ask any expat living in Mongers and they’d all say they’re hanging out for fresh milk. Drinking UHT milk all the time can be such drag. Although, it does have its plusses… for example, I can throw these mini-milks in my gym bag and know that I will always have milk for my cereal when I get to work.

And, I don’t drink just any milk… oh no, only the best for me:

Yeah, I don’t know what that means either…

Little lamb

No really, it does, and I strongly advise you don’t read it if you are vegetarian or have a weak stomach. My intent is not to offend people. So please, do what you will with this information, but you can’t say I didn’t warn you… ok?!

* * *

I suspect we will find ourselves saying ‘Well, we are in Mongolia’ quite a bit during our time here.

Like the time I put the call out to neighbours to see if they had a hacksaw we could borrow… so we could carve up the whole lamb we’d purchased for about $60 that was now on our kitchen table.

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Vodka aisle

Kai and I have been busy scoping out supermarkets around town. It’s not like walking into a Woolies or Coles, where you can be pretty certain what will be on the shelves.

It’s a little more hit and miss here – sometimes you can buy milk, and sometimes you can’t.

But one thing you can be sure to find in every supermarket is a well-stocked vodka aisle.

This is one of the more modestly sized ones.



For the Aussies reading this: What do you get when you stick a rissole inside a pasty?

For the Nebraskans reading this: What do you get when you stick a meat pattie inside a Runza?

For everyone else: I got nothin’!


The International Women’s Association of Mongolia recently posted a link to a recipe on their Facebook page. So I thought, why not, live on the edge, let’s make Khuushuur for dinner!

They're essentially meat patties / rissoles inside dough. Fyi - this is them pre cooking!

Living in these far-away lands has made me very resourceful. No rolling pin? No problem! There's always a wine bottle on hand!

Just don't forget to put the lid back on after you take a swig and before you start rolling again!

Then you fry them up (hey, I never said they were healthy!)

And ta daaaaaa! Delish!

Now, if I was a better food blogger, like my friend Jen who writes Paddington Pantry then you would get a step-by-step recount, hilarious commentary and some highly stylised photos. Hmm… come to think of it, you’d just get an overall better blog experience.

Go read her latest post On grapefruit…
Seriously… the award for best line in a blog goes to: And why does such an ordinary tasting fruit have to be so comically large?

FYI: I’d love to link to the recipe I used, but it seems the website is now down. But a simple search for “Khuushuur recipe” will throw back many results – so be a devil, and why not make them yourself!