Local delicacies to try in Baotou (Part 1)
Dairy food in Baotou, North China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region is made from cow, sheep, horse and camel milk.
In the nomadic area, cow milk is a top choice, with goat milk being the second. Not that many products are made from horse milk and camel milk.
The milk that has just been squeezed is called fresh milk or raw milk, and can be directly consumed, or used for fried rice or milk tea.
1. Mongolian milk tea
Milk tea can alleviate fatigue, stimulate the appetite, help digestion, lower blood pressure, and prevent arteriosclerosis. [Photo/internet]
Mongolians are a kind, hospitable people, who like to treat guests to a good table, with a plate of rice in the middle, and butter, milk curd, red sugar and pastries. To wash this all down, a cup of steaming hot milk tea is the preferred accompaniment.
There are various types of milk tea. Some records show milk tea dating back to as many as 1,300 years. Back then people consumed different types, for example, wild jujube milk tea to improve health, stop bleeding, or cure insomnia. On the Mongolian highlands, many plants are used to give the tea a special taste.
Milk tea can alleviate fatigue, stimulate the appetite, help digestion, lower blood pressure, and prevent arteriosclerosis. Another special type, Abaga milk tea, can help you get over a cold.
Kumiss is a traditional beverage among herdsmen in the Inner Mongolia region and across Asia, where it is drunk in summer, when the heavy fragrance can permeate the vast prairie. [Photo from baidu.com]
Kumiss is a traditional beverage among herdsmen in the Inner Mongolia region and across Asia, where it is drunk in summer, when the heavy fragrance can permeate the vast prairie. Whether it's meeting with neighbors, celebrating a wedding or festival, or just having fun with friends, kumiss is the drink of choice. People can hardly avoid being intoxicated by it.
Herdsmen on the prairie have drunk kumiss for generations, with many customs related to it. There are accounts of Emperor Kublai Khan of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) using it to reward an official as he got drunk at a royal banquet. The local people use it to show their respect and hospitality.
Kumiss is a cool, refreshing drink, only about 1.5 - 3 percent alcohol, so it does not hurt the spleen or stomach, and is considered good for general health and blood circulation and kidneys, and for relieving muscle tension.
3. Dried milk cake
Inner Mongolian dried milk cake is a traditional Inner Mongolian delicacy. [Photo/nmg.gov.cn]
Dried milk cake is a common dairy food in a Mongolian herdsman’s home. It is coagulated and fermented using cow's milk, goat's milk, or horse milk. The shape is similar to ordinary tofu. Dried milk cake can be consumed directly, or be dried for several weeks. The taste is slightly sour, while some are slightly sweet. It can also be soaked in milk tea.
Dried milk cake can be described as the essence of milk. It is nutritious and delicious. Its protein content is as high as 70.84 percent. It is rich in amino acids and other beneficial trace elements.