Obscure Restaurants

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Irkutsk Restaurant

Mongolian Barbecue

Bel Fiore Italian Restaurant

The Russia Restaurant

Chao Phraya Thai Restaurant

The Eskimo Cafe

Some Chinese Place

The Star One

Beijing Restaurant

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Douglas J. McGay
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Year 2000 Archives
Obscure Restaurants of Ulaanbaatar
by Shel & Doug

Shel and Doug

It is a reasonable statement to say that Ulaanbaatar is not one of the gastronomic destinations of the world.

The Mongolian people have never had the time to develop anything other than a basic meat and animal product cuisine. Life in this harsh but beautiful country has always had other imperatives, such as simple survival. Some of the uniquely Mongolian dishes are indeed tasty and filling, but there are very few, and even fewer well done.

Pre 1990, we are told that there was a total of three establishments approaching anything near what we would term a restaurant.

In the decade since democracy, a free market and a minor turning to things "Western", a restaurant society has slowly grown.

Broadly, they fall into three categories:

  • Firstly, some very fine and well known favourites. To the local expatriate community, these are oasis of good food and fellowship. The owners are like family friends and one can always find an eating companion if you are alone. We have a page herein dedicated to these, our friends and favourites.
  • Secondly, the type which Shel and Doug have classified as "obscure". The qualifications to enter this category are listed below. Of course, there is some blurring at the edges between these first two categories. However, we are trying to bring a little a little more variety into the lives of our friends and visitors by diving once a week into the dark corners of Ulaanbaatar to ferret out dining "gems".
  • Finally, there are the tsani gazar's, guanz's, zoogin gazar's and pectopah's that had best be left to hardier travellers than us. There are a myriad of these. Ulaanbaatar is, if nothing else, a city of bars and eateries. We try to watch for any of these that graduate to category two. It is our sincere hope they all do, we get to review them all and we live to a ripe old age doing just that!
Our Guide to Obscure Restaurants is designed on the following basis:
  • Obscurity: Hard to find
  • Reputation: Little known in the expat community
  • Location: The remoter the better
  • Cuisine: Eclectic. All cuisines are embraced. But the same national cuisine will not be tried twice in a row.
  • Quality of food: We only demand that we personally survive the experience..
  • We rate our reviews on a scale of 1 to 5. You will get the idea.


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