Yes, But Would You Eat It? “A” is for Airag

Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge! Each day in April (except Sundays) I’ll be posting about unusual and exotic foods. 

photo courtesy

How about some AIRAG? Sometimes spelled ‘ayrag,’ this is the Mongolian word for fermented horse milk. The Russian word for it is ‘kumys,’ but this is letter A, so airag it is!

The milk is filtered through a cloth, then it’s poured into a leather sack. These days, a plastic vat may be used. Lactic acid bacteria plus yeast produces the fermentation, and the airag is stirred often, to make sure all of the milk is fermented equally. When the fermentation process is completed, it has about 2% alcohol. The beverage is a good source of vitamins and minerals.

If you visit Mongolia and are offered a bowl of airag, you should at least take a sip before passing the bowl back to your host. To refuse it outright would be very impolite.

Here’s a guy trying airag: