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The Great Influence of Mongolian Cuisine: How Dumplings Spread Across Eurasia

Updated: May 29


Dumplings are a popular dish that has achieved global popularity and diversity. They come in various forms and flavours and are found in numerous cultures, from Asia to Europe. The Mongol Empire played a significant role in spreading dumplings across Eurasia through trade, migration, and conquest. In this blog post, we will explore the history of Mongolian cuisine and how the Mongols contributed to the popularity of dumplings throughout the continent.


Mongolian Cuisine:

Mongolian cuisine reflects the country's nomadic heritage and its unique geographical and cultural landscape. The traditional dishes are simple, focusing on using fresh and locally sourced ingredients. Meat and dairy products are staples in the Mongolian diet, thanks to the country's vast grasslands and livestock-based economy.


The Mongol Empire:

The Mongol Empire, founded by Genghis Khan in the 13th century, was one of the largest land empires in history that spanned from Eastern Europe to the Sea of Japan. With its vast array of cultures, languages and culinary traditions, the empire facilitated the exchange of culinary knowledge and ingredients between different regions.


The Spread of Dumplings:

Dumplings are a dish that spread across Eurasia with the help of the Mongols. They are small dough balls filled with meat, vegetables or other ingredients, found in various forms in many cultures, including Chinese jiaozi, Japanese gyoza, Polish pierogi, and Italian ravioli.


The Mongols have a traditional dumpling called buuz, which is a steamed dumpling filled with hand-diced or minced meat, typically mutton or beef. Buuz is a popular dish in Mongolia, especially during the Lunar New Year celebrations. The preparation of buuz involves making a simple dough with flour and water, filling it with seasoned meat, and then steaming or boiling the dumplings.


The popularity of buuz among the Mongols likely played a role in the spread of dumplings across Eurasia. As the Mongol armies moved across the continent, they brought with them their culinary traditions, including the preparation of buuz. The local populations they encountered adapted the dish to their own tastes and ingredients, giving birth to the diverse array of dumplings found across Eurasia today.


Conclusion:

The Mongol Empire's influence on the spread of dumplings across Eurasia is a testament to the power of culinary exchange in shaping the world's food culture. As the Mongols conquered new territories and established trade routes, they introduced their culinary preferences and techniques, which were then adapted and integrated into local cuisines. The humble dumpling, with its many regional variations, is a delicious example of how the culinary legacy of the Mongols lives on in the diverse and interconnected world of food.


Experience the tantalising flavours of Mongolian fried dumplings with hand-diced beef fillings, accompanied by our house-made Naadam sauce at Naadam Restaurant, Phillip, ACT. Join us now!


[1] Rachel Laudan, Cuisine and Empire: Cooking in World History (University of California Press, 2013) [2] "Mongolian Cuisine: A Rich and Diverse Heritage," Mongolian Food Guide, accessed April 03, 2024, https://www.willflyforfood.net/mongolian-food/ [3] "The Mongol Empire: Connecting Cultures Through Cuisine," The Mongol Empire, accessed April 03, 2024, https://www.history.com/topics/china/mongol-empire [4] "Buuz: The Traditional Mongolian Dumpling," Modern Nomads, accessed April 03, 2024, https://www.modernnomads.mn/blog/buuz-the-traditional-mongolian-dumpling

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