Mongolia tour, food of the Nomads

“Understand Mongolia through its cuisine on this 14-day foodie tour, living, eating and cooking alongside local people, with time to explore, too. ”

Highlights

Ulaanbaatar market visit and preparing lunch with local family| rural community in Middle Gobi | Khogno Khan Nature Reserve, Central Steppe | homestay with yak herders in Tsenkher | Tsetserleg local market | Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park | stay at ger camp | stay with retired herder in Suman Gol | Kharkhorin Market | stay with nomadic family in Orkhon River Valley

Description of Mongolia tour, food of the Nomads

The guests who enjoy our trips to Mongolia and the rural families we work with suggested a holiday to explore the food of the nomads, so we put together this 14-day tour. It's the chance to experience life on the high steppe of Mongolia’s beautiful middle Gobi, the central heartland and Khangai Mountains, learning alongside locals about their life and the traditional, delicious cuisine the cook and enjoy.

Mongolia food gets a bad press, but it’s not all boiled mutton! Simple ingredients are processed using a surprising variety of methods, and combined with vegetables, handmade noodles and other flour-based foods, to create fresh homemade meals. You’ll learn about tsagaan idee or white food. These are the various dairy products that Mongolians enjoy, including airag (fermented mare’s milk) and shimiin arikh (yak’s milk vodka).

This is an interactive trip, involving shopping at bustling local markets for the ingredients for a menu of traditional Mongolian meals that we have designed. You will learn how to prepare these dishes side by side with your host family in a relaxed, informal and fun setting. Cookery classes take place in the morning or evening, leaving lots of time for you to go out and discover the local area for yourself. You will also have the chance to take a day-hike or go horse or camel trekking.

Classic Mongolia dishes that you will prepare include tsuivan (stir fried flour noodles), khuurshuuur (mutton pancakes) and buuz (Mongolian dumplings). It’s not problem if you are a vegetarian, as nearly all Mongolian national dishes can be made as a vegetarian version. Feast your eyes on the images shown here – all taken by guests on this trip. This is the Mongolia that you will also experience!

Your accommodation for most of the trip will be with rural families. Some are retired herders, some still live as herders and migrate twice a year, while others make their home in the central grasslands. This combination gives you a really deep insight into rural and small town life in Mongolia.
We are a very small holiday provider and supporting local life is at the core of our philosophy. It’s also central to each experience we offer. Supporting the rural communities through which we travel, working directly with them and accessing their local knowledge leads to a more personal style of holiday for you. We make sure the itineraries provide variety, are flexible and will help you to get under the skin of this wonderful country, to experience the real local Mongolia.

Our team has been working together in Mongolia for over 11 years now, and consists entirely of Mongolians with just one westerner. We research, design and operate every detail of the holidays we offer, working independently. We don’t follow the typical stereotypes of a tour company either. We have nothing to do with big groups, must sees or all-inclusive packages.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Mongolia tour, food of the Nomads

Environment

Always a tricky one this. We can promise you the world but how do we prove it? Responsible, sustainable or ethical travel - in recent years, it has developed many labels and is now a widely-used selling tool in the tourism industry. But, what does it mean? Although there is no real clear definition, it has to be more than ensuring that we collect all of our rubbish, asking before taking a photograph or being aware of the cultural norms. That’s what we should be automatically doing anyway.

Below are some of the elements of my responsible travel philosophy for our Food of the Nomads itinerary where we can show real evidence of our practise.

Our itineraries and departures

My philosophy is to have a limited amount of departures for each of our itineraries. We also do not concentrate specifically on one area.

Mongolia is a country of incredibly diverse yet fragile ecosystems. By limiting our presence in certain areas, we help to preserve and protect and help to avoid the area changing environmentally due to repeated and extended exposure to tourism.

Wherever we visit, supporting local is at the heart of what we do and at the centre of each experience we offer. By not focusing on one specific area, it also means that we help to support communities that might not otherwise benefit from the tourism industry.

As an example, my Food of the Nomads itinerary does not focus on the guidebook highlights. Instead, it focuses on rural communities where local members such as Jargaa and Batbold at Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur are keen to work with and learn from international visitors.

Our trips also focus on 21st Century Mongolia - yes, you’ll get to experience the traditional way of life but at the same time gain an overview as what it means to be Mongolian in 21st Century Mongolia. Tumee and Jargaa have a mobile phone. It doesn’t mean their way of life is dying out and that they’ll be shortly moving into the city - just that their way of life is adapting.

The people we work with are ‘real’ people. Not tourism professionals. You’ll meet people from Ulaanbaatar, you’ll meet herders, you’ll meet Mongolians that live in the provincial centres as well as the smaller town and rural communities. They are all Mongolians. Take time out to meet them.

Group Size

Unlike a majority of the larger tour companies, where small group travel can mean being in a group of up to 12-18 people, when I say small group travel this is what I mean. Our group size on this trip has been kept small - a maximum of six. This means that experiences during this itinerary become more personal and authentic for you - especially your stay with Tumee and Jargaa and their family at the Orkhon River or Batbold and Jargaa at Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur. We are not an overwhelming presence - on the local communities or the local environment.

Waste

The disposal of rubbish is a major issue in Mongolia - especially with plastic. As part of my Responsible Travel ethos I pay a local Mongolian NGO (Mongolian Quilting Centre) to make fabric tote bags for our guests which we hand out for free as a welcome pack at the start of each trip. This is a souvenir for our guests but it also helps to support the project and helps us to cut down on the waste we produce. As part of your Mongolia experience, you will also receive such a tote bag.

Also, you can book knowing that we finance our own three-day rubbish collection at Terekhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park in Mongolia where you will be staying yourselves for three days. Arranged through the local community and protected area rangers, we have been organising this event for the previous two years.

Community

Cultural Impact

My small company is not a ‘world specialist’; we concentrate on the country we know and love – Mongolia. We research, design and operate each itinerary ourselves and do not source our itineraries from other agents.

Supporting local is at the heart of what we do. Part of this philosophy is that we used ger accommodation provided by the Mongolian families. At no point have we ever rocked up and demanded accommodation. Our relationships with the families we work with are genuine - forged over time and with plenty of tea.

Families offer ger accommodation to help supplement their income. Most are small rural businesses providing extra accommodation. Some accommodation is offered by herders, some is offered by ‘retired’ herders who no longer migrate, some by families that live in small town communities and some by families that own small ger camp businesses. By using this form of accommodation it provides you with a more genuine insight in to the real way of life in Mongolia and it benefits the local communities through which we are travelling.

However, these are real people with real lives to lead and at no point do we ask the families to change their way of life for our/your own benefit or comfort. If they don’t have a shower, neither will you! (Don’t panic!…see below!). We ask our guests to try and embrace (!) and enjoy any differences that they come across in Mongolia. Experiencing the differences is all part of any trip and makes it a more authentic and positive holiday for you and a more respectful and enjoyable experience for the locals as well.

One example of this is our use of the local town shower houses. Very few families have access to running water from a tap. We do as the locals do and use the local town shower houses such as the one in Kharkhorin. They’re a great way to meet members of the local community but it also means we do not put too much pressure on local resources. In the words of author Jack Weatherford in Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World – ‘Compared to the difficulty of daily life for the herders, living permanently in those areas, ours were only the smallest of irritations.’

Photography

We have a photography philosophy that we employ on all our trips. At the back of every ger is the family khoimor – the family altar. Very few families have a camera. Some have cameras on their phones but no way to print off the images and therefore few families have photographs. I have a rule that if you promise a photo then you must send the photo. I make it easy for you - email the image of the photo to me once you get home and I will print if off and will make sure the photos are delivered. We have given photo albums to the Tumee and Tomorbat families - all families you will stay with on this trip. They often bring them out to show you!

Popular similar holidays

Mongolia family holiday for all ages

Mongolia family holiday for all ages

Journey through stunning Mongolia with your family

From £1560 - £1600 15 days excluding flights

Mongolia adventure trekking holiday & Naadam Festival

Mongolia adventure trekking holiday & Naadam Festival

Summer time trekking and Naadam adventure through Mongolia

From US $2450 - US $3640 16 days excluding flights

Mongolia adventure holiday

Mongolia adventure holiday

Off the beaten track adventure through spectacular Mongolia

From US $2518 - US $3885 23 days excluding flights

Mongolia adventure holiday, small group

Mongolia adventure holiday, small group

Discover the remote Mongolian countryside

From £3059 - £4049 15 days including UK flights

Convert currencies