Bones, Buuz & Booze
Cosy evening in Mongolian jurt

The typical Mongolian "bone game" (Photo: C. Reichert)
The typical Mongolian “bone game” (Photos: C. Reichert, S. Schückel)

How far do you need to travel to enjoy traditional Mongolian food in a jurt? You could travel to Mongolia, of course – or you could visit Tschuka in her original Mongolian jurt in Tharandt. During our ride there and the short walk to the jurt, the rainy weather didn’t stop our excitement for the evening and in the end, the sound of rain pouring down on the roof of the jurt made everything even cozier.

The warm welcome of Tschuka and Bayartaa, a guest researcher from Mongolia working in Tharandt, included a ritual that would bring luck to the  group. Once inside the jurt with its beautiful furniture, it was hard to believe that we were still in Germany. Traditional snacks  and a presentation on Mongolia gave us a first impression on this very interesting country and culture and made us hungry for more.

The next highlight of the evening was the meal, Tschuka and Bayartaa prepared in front of us. They showed us how to steam cook the traditional dumplings, called “buuz”, in a special pot that had several layers. The dumplings were served with Mongolian potato salad and thankfully Tschuka and Bayartaa had prepared a second serving, everything was just too delicious to stop eating. As a special surprise, we were able to taste Mongolian Vodka, which is a smooth tasting drink with a much lower alcoholic strength than expected.

After dinner, we were taught a traditional game: The Bone Game. Everyone got three little bones and had to decide how many of those they’d like to gamble. Then, hiding the chosen number of bones in their fist, everyone held out their fist and had to guess how many bones were hidden in total. Once each player had guessed a number, everyone opened their fists and revealed the bones they were hiding. The player who had guessed the correct amount of bones won and could collect the gambled bones from the other players. Then the next round would begin.

In the end, there were no losers and we all won: For a few hours we were on a holiday in Mongolia, had a delicious dinner, joked and laughed and talked and, almost too soon, we had to catch the train back to Dresden.

A trip to Tharandt is perfect to get a glimpse into the Mongolian culture and it definitely won’t be the last time that we visit Tschuka in her jurt. And who knows, maybe some of us are already planning a trip to Mongolia for their next holidays. If you would like to book the jurt for your research team or a party with friends, check this webpage:

Thank you so very much, Bayartaa & Tschuka, you were fabulous hosts!


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