The mingling of nomad culture and Yellow River civilization has endowed Baotou cuisine with a strong flavor of Northwest China. People here have very similar taste with those in Hohhot, and usually take meat (especially beef and mutton), noodles, and dairy as their staple food.
At the city's main road "Gang Tie Da Jie", there are dozens of restaurants serving various flavored cuisines. Besides, you can taste inexpensive local snacks at the night market at the intersection of Huancheng Lu and Nanmenwai Da Jie.
Instant-boiled Mutton (Mongolian Hot Pot)
This typical Mongolian dish was originated from Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368 AD). When Meat from ovine tenderloin, rear leg, and tail, etc. is selected and cut into thin slices, and quickly boiled in hot pot. When the mutton is done, dip them in the flavored paste made of pickled tofu, sesame sauce, shallot, ginger, chili oil and many other condiments. After you finish with the mutton, you can make full use of the soup and boil vegetables or noodles with it.
When you are in Baotou, this dish is not to be missed. This is the hometown of the famous hot pot chain restaurant Xiao Fei Yang (Little Sheep). Here, you will get to enjoy the most authentic Mongolian hot pot.
Name: Xiao fei Yang Restaurant
Address: #9, Wulan Dao (near Baotou Hotel), Kundulun District
Finger Mutton (mutton eaten with hands)
Finger mutton is the traditional dish handed down from generation to generation among the herdsmen and hunting tribes on the grasslands. It is an essential dish to entertain guests, and it is believed that without savoring the finger mutton, you don’t get to appreciate the real charm of grassland food culture.
When preparing the dish, the animal is cut into dozens of hunks and boiled in clear water, without adding any condiments. The meat is boiled till it changes color and there remain some blood streaks in the meat. This is considered done. When it is served on the table, people sit around at the table, and grab the meat with one hand, while the other hand using a knife to cut out a piece. This is the usual way the herdsmen relish finger mutton. In restaurants, finger mutton is served along with special sauce mixed with sesame-seed oil, leek, chili oil and other condiments.
Shaomai (Steamed Open Dumplings)
Shaomai is a popular local dim sum with a long history. It is a kind of steamed dumpling shaped like megranate. Shaomai is prepared with unique technique and fine materials. Quality wheat flour is applied to make thin and chewy wrapper, and then mutton mixed with flavored ingredients are stuffed in it before steaming. The finished Shaomai has pleasing form, tender mouthfeel and palatable taste.
Genghis Khan Teppanyaki (roasted meat on iron plate)
This dish is very popular in Central Asia, Southern Russia and other parts of the world. It is served as a kind of barbecue. The making of the dish is unique. Meat, such as mutton, pork, beef, chicken or fish, is first sliced, and then grilled on a heated iron plate. Next, the meat is seasoned with sauce, pepper, mustard, ginger and mashed garlic before eating. According to an old legend, Genghis Khan liked this dish very much, and as he led his army on his many conquests of other tribes and countries, it also became wide-spread.
This is a traditional hot beverage that people take every day. It is made by boiling brick tea with milk and koumiss. When people drink it, they usually add a little salt, and sometimes butter, stir-fried millet, or milk bean curd. This beverage is Mongolians’ favorite and can be consumed any time. It warms stomach, quenches thirst, and helps with digestion.
It is a common dairy product in Mongolian herdsmen families. It tastes sweet or sour, with rich milky flavor and delicate mouthfeel. People simply eat it, or soak it with milk tea, stir-fried millet, boiled mutton. There is also a famous flavored dish called Ba Si Nai Dou Fu (candied-floss milk tofu), which uses milk tofu as the main material.