10.059 Khuushuur


5 (Tue) March 2019



in ger



Mission to Mongolia, Day 3 (see previously 10.058 Tsuiwan).

In Ulaanbaatar.  As part of a coordinated region-wide retreat to work on the new Regional Director’s vision for the future – Tue to Thu – I’ve been deployed to facilitate the proceedings at the Mongolia Country Office.  Could be construed as a recognition of my skills as a facilitator, but probably not.  Anyway, happy to be in Mongolia for the first time.

A ger – also referred to as “yurt” in Turkish – is a traditional Mongolian tent, originally used as portable dwellings by nomads, still are, though many are now built as permanent structures, ubiquitous across the sprawling steppes of the countryside just beyond the city; the term means “home” in Mongolian.

The first day of the retreat was held today in the country offices, all connected to the Regional Office via VC, linking over 600 staff in real time.  The second day will be held tomorrow at off-site locations.  The third day will bring everyone back to their respective home bases for another region-wide plenary.

Deep-fried in oil over the same stove that provides heat for the home.

On route to the off-site location this afternoon, the head of the country office took a quick detour to treat the two visiting staff (me and a guy from the China country office) to a cultural experience inside a living ger.  Much to the utter delight of GMTD, the visit entailed food and drink – prepared, served, and consumed exactly as it would be, even without the tourists.

Secretly, I did crave a bit of hot sauce.

Living up to the reputation as the Mongolian national dish, the khuushur were amazing.  Perfectly crispy and chewy skin, not all greasy.  Perfectly seasoned beef filling, succulent with a bite.  I could eat these every day – in fact, I did have them the day before in the hotel, and I would have them again for dinner at the resort in a few hours, though neither coming close to the homemade.   And if the singular experience of eating them in a ger colored my perception, so be it.

The ayag is a traditional Mongolian copper cup believed to convey health and fortune – I would later be given one by the country office as a token of appreciation.

Arkhi is a Mongolian homemade vodka distilled from fermented cow milk.  Around 15% – 20% ABV.  Tangy, in a yogurty kinda way.

Despite three cups, I was unable to acquire the taste for it.


A few hours later, I was less than delighted to find that we were having khuushuur for dinner.  When I told everyone it was the third time in two days, they said: “Welcome to Mongolia.”

Red Rock Resort, where we’ll be conducting Day 2 of the retreat tomorrow.
Luxury ger available for rent. Way off in the distance, another ger community.

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