The Organic Stream is a campaign to save cuisine from the edges of disaster. Cooking has become lazy. We have become reliant on fast food and uninterested in where our meat and vegetables comes from. Mystery meat has become too readily accepted and there is little interest in where our food is produced. This blog aims to highlight the truly amazing cuisines that there are around the world and the amazing restaurants that we have on our doorsteps.
"Men have looked upon the desert as barren land, the free holding of whoever chose; but in fact each hill and valley in it had a man who was its acknowledged owner. The desert was held in a crazed communism by which nature and the elements were for the free use of every known friendly person for his own purpose and no more."
T.E Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom
is nothing I enjoy more than being stared at, pointed at, and having pictures taken of me. Luckily in Mongolia
there was plenty of this. When we arrived in Mongolia we arrived like
Kings, we had 100,000 togrogs in our wallets and felt like world was
our oyster. Sadly though Ulaanbataar (or UB to those trendy
travellers out their) was unable to cater for the culinary journey
that we were looking for. I had wagered before we arrived that there would be no Western influences in UB, and that we would finally be
free of the global westernisation that we had left behind in Russia.
I had a hefty sum of 5,000 togrogs* on this wager and was confident
of a huge windfall. As we entered into the centre of UB we were greeted
by Sukhbataar Square an oriental feast with glistening marble pillars
and domineering statues. Directly opposite the square was an Irish
was decided that if we wanted to see the real Mongolian cuisine we
may have to go a little further afield.
travelling to the outskirts of the city and integrating with the
locals; oddly enough I found a home from home in Mongolian cooking.
It had a lot of similarities to the traditional British style of
cooking of meat and two vegetables. It was very carbohydrate heavy
food but was finished in such a way that the density of the food was
not overpowering. Meat was minimal in Mongolian dishes but it was not
sorely missed. The variety of spices and texture was enough to tempt even the most devoted carnivore. Their simple way of cooking put new
mod con kitchens to shame. A simple wood fire was more than enough
for them to cook up some luxurious culinary treats.
curiosity had taken us to a small tribal village on the outskirts of
the capital. We encouraged others to partake in our diplomatic mission
and managed to rope in a motley crew of transatlantic ambassadors.
Our group contained a pair of southern Chinamen, a bunch of very
excitable Koreans, a Slovenian and two Americans who spent the whole
time informing us about the National Museum of Mongolian History. It
was not Genghis Khan's armour or the ancient dinosaur fossil held
with that had titillated them. Rather they had become fixated on a
Mongolian Barbie doll outfit they had found in the museums gift shop
that came complete with hat and boots and how disappointed they were
that they had no younger siblings to present this gift. We debated
whether this would be an appropriate gift for our hosts but decided
that they were probably very familiar with Mongolian Barbie attire
and that they would more readily appreciate tobacco. Our hosts were
very amiable and showed us to our accommodation. Sadly Mongolian
Yurts don't cater for the western man and so a 5ft high house didn't
really cater for our 6ft bodies. Nevertheless, the hosts were
extremely hospitable and entertained with horse riding in the day and
singing at night. It was at night that we presented our
of homemade vodka we had previously picked up in Russia. We presented
everyone with a shot and drank to new friendships. Sadly our guests
and some of our fellow ambassadors were unaccustomed to a more beer
hardy western livers and were soon in a rather too jubilant state.
Within the hour, two of our hosts ran off into the night trying to
chase off an imposing looking bunny and our two chinamen were laying
on the floor looking rather green around the gills. In the morning
our hosts were no where to be seen but we deemed our diplomatic
mission a success and boarded our next train that would take us
further south. We had successfully managed to leave a British mark(s)
on the Mongolian countryside.