by Mark

We’re starting Spring Break week for the kids from school (wondering what happened to the Spring part).  I wanted to clear a few blog posts I have been meaning to write. 

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Buuhz are a staple food in Mongolia (think meat dumpling)  every guanz (small restaurant) will usually have buuhz on the menu.  They are made  with finely chopped meat (usually mutton)  some seasoning and depending on what is chosen green onion, garlic and even dill.  This is then wrapped in thin dough made from flour, water and salt and then steamed for a short time. 

Although the method for making buuhz is pretty much the same,  everyone has their own twist on the theme.  Some Mongolians use beef, others add onions or some less garlic.  Cinda and I experienced some with a lot of black pepper which were excellent (relatively, in Cinda’s opinion)! 

Buuhz also come in different sizes and types.  For Tsagaan Sar (White month or moon) buuhz are the traditional food which is served.   Families prepare buuhz by hand-making anywhere from 500-2500 of them.    When you come to visit you are given potato salad and a plate of buuhz and urged to eat.  Most of these are easy to pop into your mouth and chew in a few bites.  The joy of buuhz (for me at least)  is the flavor explosion (sometimes really, really hot) in your mouth.  I lost track of how many I ate this year while we visited nine families over the holidays.  The important thing is to eat them while they are hot.  The Mongolians say you must drink hot liquids along with the buuhz.  The thought is that if you drink something cold you can get a stomach ache. 

During the year buuhz are usually much larger, a bit smaller than your fist.  I have found that my favorite type of buuhz are vegetable buuhz however I need to be careful around Mongolians when I say this.  Our head teacher asked what type of food we should have for our Tsagaan Sar party and when I suggested vegetable buuhz, another teacher made a coughing sound that made me think she might need the Heimlich.  Vegetable buuhz are not buuhz!  It’s like suggesting a tofu turkey. 

The other variation of buuhz are “manto” buuhz.  Manto is like a steamed bread dumpling.  It’s filling but not really my favorite.  

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