1. This reminds me of some of our meals in Kyrgyzstan. Good advice, especially gnawing on the bone as long as possible so no one puts more meat on your plate.

    One of my Peace Corps buddies in Estonia had served in Mongolia for a couple of years. He was a vegetarian and was living in the middle of nowhere. He thought that he would eat meat if he was put in that situation, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it so he essentially lived on rice. So much to the point that he started to get malnutrition and started to lose his eyesight. The Peace Corps nurse found out and loaded him up with beans and other healthy stuff from Ulanbataar to get some protein and nutrients in him. He got better and ended up in Estonia, not an easy place for a vegetarian but at least there are vegetables served regularly.

  2. Great stuff Matthew; who would have known you were such an artful eater!

    Audrey, I really can’t believe someone would do that to themselves. If you’re vegetarian you need to be such a smart consumer of food. Stunned.

  3. WOW. That’s what I call Extreme Vegetarianism! Glad to hear that your vegetarian buddy survived Mongolia… our vegetarian travel companion actually wound up enjoying some of the meat dishes by the end of the trip… after the head-in-the-stomach ordeal, meat off the bone was a cinch! she converted back to her leaf-eating ways when we got back home though… 😉

  4. Just surf a little bit more patiently on the internet and you will find that there are options in the countryside for both vegans and vegetarians. You will also find plenty of tour companies that know how to work with vegans and vegetarians. In the city you can buy vacuum packed ready to eat vegan meals, soy milk, meat substitutes, etc for your trip (www.lunablanca.org) .
    Don’t be fooled by a young journalists attempt to get a sensational story. There are many many thousands of country side vegetarians. Including herders themselves (difficult to believe but yes,..some of them raise the animals only for the wool but don’t kill or eat their meat).

  5. An interesting perspective… I’m not sure how imported, processed soy-based substitutes are appropriate in an area with -40C winters and a 90-day growing season.
    Agree with @bluesky, in that I also encourage readers to do their own research on what is appropriate for cultural & climatic conditions and your personal lifestyle choices… and then to make your own decisions from there.

  6. Michael K. says:

    I have the goal to resist all offers of meat, also when tourist guides want to tell me that this is allegedly ‘impolite’ – it is not in my opinion that this is impolite at all. As a guest you are not obliged to eat things you dont want to eat. I guess that this extreme meat thing in parts of Mongolia is not at all due to natural reasons – a hot vegetable soup would fit the winter there very well. I think it is more due to the long-time warlord history of this country and the resulting social pressure.

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