Last weekend, I was invited to join my friend Dashka’s 11th grade class on a trip to Shargaljuut soum (a small town about three hours away) for a day in the sun. The soum is famous for it’s more than 100 mineral springs and many people visit from all over Bayankhongor to rest and rejuvenate. It’s said that there’s a different spring for every part of the body, so whatever ails you can be treated.
We didn’t take any treatments this time, but it was a great day by the river for a khorkhog—the traditional Mongolian barbecue made by pressure cooking meat and vegetables with hot stones over a fire. The family of one of Dashka’s students gifted us an entire sheep for the occasion. *Technically, this was really my second khorkhog (my first being at my sitemate’s home for her birthday). But traditionally, khorkhog is something you do in the countryside, and so this was my first countryside khorkhog. Thought you’d enjoy seeing some of the photos from the day.
On our way. Dashka’s students organized the entire day, including chartering a bus so we could all ride together. (This is one of the buses that typically runs between Bayankhongor and Ulanbaatar.)
At the entrance to the springs.
A bridge takes us across the river to the springs.
Testing the water.
Shargaljuut soum and a few of the ‘treatment’ houses and gers.
The father of one of Dashka’s students brought all of the khorkhog supplies on motorcycle from about five kilometers away. The guys lounging in the foreground were our drivers, who later also helped prepare the khorkhog for us.
Getting the fire started with wood and dung. River rocks are added and once hot will be added to the khorkhog.
A little volleyball in the meantime.
And a card game.
The metal container is the type that’s also used to store water in homes that don’t have running water. Here, hot rocks are being transferred from the fire so they can help cook the meat.
Students preparing onions, carrots and potatoes for the khorkhog.
Finally the meat.
The khorkhog cooks for about two hours.
And then it looks like this.
Everybody loves a khorkhog.
Me too. 🙂
This was a little creepy. After we finished eating, about 20 hawks arrived, looking for leftovers. Fortunately, they didn’t come too close to us.
Nothing like relaxing near the river after a great meal.