Lords of the Drinks

Bantan, the Mongolian substitute for pickled sheep eyes in case of a hangover


Mongolian bantan soup, just needs some spring onion rings.

We already gave you some tips and tricks to get rid of your hangoverBut every country has its own traditional dishes to make the process go faster. We like to give you a taste of the international anti-hangover cuisine. This time we will take you to Mongolia, where fearless horsemen have roamed the wild steppes for ages. Their ancestors have inherited these strong genes and therefor are not afraid of a night of hard drinking. In the morning their favorite hangover cure is called bantan, a soup with meat and dough crumbs.

So far we let you in on two special drinks of Central Asian people, called kunis and arkhi. Well the Mongolian name for kunis is airag, but it’s the same stuff. Fermented mare’s milk with an alcohol percentage of around 2,5 percent. Once distilled the percentage goes up to 10. Rather have a beer? In Mongolia you usually have a choice between Chinese and Korean import brands. The minimum age to buy alcohol is 21.

It all sounded pretty innocent so far right? Well here are some statistics that show a different side of Mongolia. A report of the U.N.’s World Health Organization from 2006 showed that 22 of all men and 5 percent of all women in Mongolia are dependent on alcohol. These rates are three times higher than in Europe. It’s said the lust for alcohol increased heavily after Mongolia reached independence from the Soviet Union in 1990. But with these percentages it’s no wonder there is a demand for a good hangover cure too.

A famous Mongolian cure is pickled eyeballs of a sheep in tomato sauce, also known as a ‘Mongolian Mary’. It’s actually a traditional cure that dates back to the times of the great Mongolian leader Genghis Kahn. But since this might not be a tempting idea to everyone, here’s a modern Mongolian dish that is quite popular as a cure for hangovers. Bantan is quite an easy dish, a creamy soup with meat and dough crumbs. Here’s how to make it.

200 gram meat (preferably sheep, otherwise beef)
100 gram spring onion
200 gram wheat flour
1,5 liter water

Cut up the meat in small slices (leave the fat on) and put it in cold water, add salt and bring to a boil. This will be your stock, so while it’s cooking (about half an hour in total)  start preparing the dough.
Mix a pinch of salt with cold water and add it to the flour in a bowl. Blend this mix with your fingers to small dough crumbs. Add the crumbs to the stock and let it boil for 5 minutes. Now season the soup with more salt and the spring onion (cut in rings). If you want, you can garnish the dish with some extra herbs or spices from your choice. Now it’s ready for serving.

Micky Bumbar

Check out more tasty hangover cures from around the world