Most people in Hulunbuir still keep the custom of their origin, and their staple food includes porridge, noodles, steamed bread, rice, etc. However, people living in the western region generally drink milk tea, eat beef and mutton, which is same as the Mongolian, Daur, Ewenki and Russian, the only difference is that the Han people eat more vegetables. Vast grasslands in Hulunbuir are natural grazing grounds for cattle, sheep and horses. Numerous lakes and rivers here teem with fish and shrimps. All these provide abundant stock for local cuisine. Besides the common Mongolian food, Hulunbuir has its own specialties including Roasted Lamb Legs, Whole Fish Feast, Mongolian hot pot, Mongolian pot tea, blood sausage, deep-fried lamb’s tail, Russian Meal in Mongolian Style and etc.
What to Eat in Hulunbuir
1. Roasted Whole Lamb (烤全羊)
Roasted whole lamb is a traditional Mongolian dish, it is also popular in Hulunbuir. The roast lamb, which looks golden red and tastes quite delicious, is laid on a square wooden dish. When eating whole roasted lamb, slice it with a knife, and eat it with smoked salt or cumin powder, chili, sweet sauce, scallions, or Onions, cucumber strips, lettuce, etc., according to your personal preference. If you visit a Mongolian household, the host will serve you the kumiss while people from inland prefer to drink beer while eating the roasted whole lamb.
2. Mongolian Hot Pot (涮羊肉)
Mongolian hot pot, originated in the Yuan dynasty, now has grown into a chain store naming Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot, and is very popular national wide even can be found abroad. The mutton used for the hot pot is usually taken from the Lion, hind legs sheep's tail and other parts, cut the mutton into thin slices, place it into the boiling soup in the hot pot, then comes the most important step, slide the mutton piece seven times and the mutton is ready to eat at its best taste, the whole action is done by using chopsticks. The ready mutton doesn’t taste greasy if accompanied by the dipping sauce made of sesame sauce, fermented bean curd, leek flower, scallion, ginger, shrimp oil and other seasonings.
3. Hand-picked Mutton(手扒肉)
Hand-picked mutton, one of the Mongolian’s Red Food, is the most common and favorite meal for people living on grassland, and it is also a basic dish for them to treat guests. Tourists can only make their trip worthy by tasting this delicacy and local host fully express their hospitality by serving hand-picked mutton. Therefore, it is almost a rule in Mongolia to serve guest with this dish. The hand-picked mutton is ready to enjoy directly after it is cooked in boiling water. The method and preparing the delicacy is to separate the mutton with bones according to the joints, put it in a big pot without adding salt and other spices, and boil it thoroughly. When eating, use one hand to catch the bone, with the other hand using a Mongolian knife to tick off the mutton, and serve it with delicious Mongolian sauce.
4. Roasted Lamb Legs (烤羊腿)
The roasted lamb legs are a precious kind of dish for entertaining distinguished guests in Hulunbuir. The roasted lamb legs were evolved from the roasted whole lamb. Compared to roasting the whole lamb, roasting lamb legs is quicker and it tastes more delicious. So gradually roasted lamb legs took the place of roasted whole lamb. After a long time development, people begin to apply various ingredients and sauces during the course of roasting lamb legs to make them fragrant and fresh. You can find this famous delicacy in almost every restaurant in Hulunbuir, and it is a must-try dish for tourists.
5. Whole Fish Feast (全鱼宴)
Hulunbuir boasts more than 500 lakes and 3000 rivers, and its water resource takes up 56.4% of the Inner Mongolia’s total. The abundant fresh fishes and lake shrimps produced from the lakes can be made into more than 120 kinds of dishes, known as “Whole Fish Feast”. There are different scales of such feast, with 12, 14, 20, 24 or even more than 100 dishes for a table. Fish dishes are not only fresh ad tasty but also nutritious, good to our body, and are worth tasting when you come to Hulunbuir.
6. Mongolian Pot Tea (锅茶)
Mongolian pot tea is new practice of Mongolian milk tea which is a kind of traditional hot drink of Mongolian nation. It is made by boiling the brick tea water with fresh milk, and you can add salt, butter, soaked parched rice and dairy products when it is ready to drink. However, to Mongolians, pot tea is not simply a drink, but a culture, and it is popular to drink the milk tea while boiling it, adding dried beef, cheese and crème.
7. Deep-fried Lamb's Tail (炸羊尾)
Deep-fried Lamb's Tail is a dish with Muslim cuisine flavor. Originally, people adopted the lamb’s tail as its stuffing, but they found it unpopular due to its greasy taste and unpalatable odor; then they used the red bean as a replacement and made it into bean-past filling as its stuffing, covered by egg white paste, and then deeply fried the roll. This dish has good looking, sweet and crisp taste, with fruit flavor, and is usually used to treat guests. Although it contains no lamb’s tail anymore, but it is also called the Deep-fried Lamb’ Tail.
8. Blood Sausage (血肠)
Mongolian blood sausage is usually made with sheep blood as the main material. People live in Tibetan area do not use the sheep blood for cooking, they generally pour it into small intestine, then boil it in water for about for 10-15 minutes, and it is ready to eat. The blood sausage is a typical food in the Tibetan area. It is fragrant and tender taste, satisfying your appetite with its unique flavor.
9. Mongolian Milk Tofu (奶豆腐)
Milk tofu, called "Hu Ru Da" in Mongolian, is a common dairy food in Mongolian household. It is made of milk, goat's milk, and horse milk through process of solidifying and fermenting. The milk tofu looks like the ordinary tofu, but it is not bean curd, it got its name due to the tofu appearance. There are two kinds of the milk tofu, raw milk tofu and cooked milk tofu, with slightly sour or sweet flavor, the best of it is milky white. Milk tofu is the favorite of the herdsmen, often soaked in the milk tea or just taken as dry food. Milk tofu is the essence of milk. It is rich in nutrients and delicious. Its protein content is as high as 70.84%. It is rich in amino acids and other beneficial elements. Tourists often buy it as a gift to families and friends.
Where to Eat in Hulunbuir
After we have know what to eat, now let's get down to where to eat in Hulunbuir. To help you figure out the places to enjoy the local delicacies, the following restaurants receiving high comments from visitors are listed for your choice.
Qifangjian Mutton Restaurant (七房间全羊馆)
Address: No.3 Building, Lv Bo Residential District, Manzhouli Road (满洲里路绿波小区3号楼)
Opening Hours: 11:00-15:00; 17:30-22:00
Description:All the taxi drivers know about this restaurant. You can try the most authentic dishes here including roasted lamb chop, hand-picked mutton and blood sausage.
Caoyuan Restaurant (草原饭店)
Address: No.3 Building, Zheng Bei Residential District, Wudao Street, Manzhouli City (满洲里市五道街政北小区三号楼)
Description: It is one of the most welcomed local restaurant, so there is probability for waiting. The specialized dishes included milk tea, Mongolian hot pot, hand-picked mutton, fresh mutton and etc.
Xiangyue Caoyuan Mongolian Restaurant (相约草原蒙元文化食府）
Address: No.16 Outlet, Jinduhui Residential District, Nuomin Road, Hailar District (海拉尔区诺敏路锦都会小区A16号门市)
Description: the restaurant serves traditional and authentic Mongolian food.
Lubuli Western Food Restaurant (卢布里西餐厅)
Address: No.178, West Sandao Street, Manzhouli City (满洲里市西三道街178号)
Description: It provides authentic Russian food and is popular among the Russian people in Manzhouli city
Nuomin Tala Milk Tea Shop (West Street Branch) 诺敏塔拉奶茶馆(西大街店)
Address: Northwest Corner, Haicheng Jiayuan, West Street (西大街海晨嘉园西北角)
Opening Hours: 06:00-23:00
Description: It is a shop in Mongolian style serving local food such as Mongolian milk tea, home made yoghourt, hand-picked mutton, roasted lamb chop, blood sausage and etc.
Xingfu Road Food Street (幸福路美食街)
Address: Xingfu Road, Manzhouli City, Hulunbuir (呼伦贝尔满洲里市幸福路)
Description: It is know as a food street by local people, the street is dotted with hot pot restaurants and KTV, consisting the nightlife of the city.