The Mongolian cuisine primarily consists of dairy products, meat, and animal fats. Use of vegetables and spices is limited. Due to the close proximity with China and Russia, Mongolian food is also influenced by their cuisines. The meat-dependent diet arises from the need for hearty food to stave off the cold and long winters. Traditionally nomadic herders, they have for centuries been dependent on mostly animal products for their dietary staples. Mongolian nomads sustain their lives directly from the products of domesticated animals such as cattle, horses, camels, yaks, sheep, and goats, and sometimes game. Meat is either cooked, used as an ingredient for soups and dumplings or dried for winter.
Mongolia is known as the "Land of Five Animals" --sheep, goats, cattle, horses, and camels. The main meats however are mutton and beef. The Mongolian diet includes a large proportion of animal fat which is necessary for the Mongols to withstand the cold winters and their hard work. Milk and cream are used to make a variety of beverages, as well as cheese and similar products, yogurt, cheese and milk can be found anywhere. The most well known dish is called Buuz (steamed filled pockets).
Chinese and Russian teas are the two most available beverages. There is also Airag a fermented horses milk that has an alcohol content of about 3%. Many Mongolians distil it further to produce "shimiin arkhi" and get it up to 12%.
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