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Nice Mongolia Cafe

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Nice Mongolia is, to the best of my knowledge, Ulsan’s only combination Mongolian restaurant/karaoke bar.  The Mongolian karaoke I can’t speak to, though you will get to enjoy hearing it through a wall while you eat.  I know the food’s good.

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The restaurant itself should be familiar to anyone who has enjoyed Central Asian food before.  I assume there’s some store that does nothing but outfit these places.  Enjoy the light ball on the ceiling and jars of mystery pickles while you confront the menu.  Also, in the drink fridges they have said pickles as well as Russian bread and a few other things for sale.  The bread is dense rye stuff and quite good, the pickles are… pickles, but they aren’t sweet so that’s nice.

The menu’s not too extensive, but what they do have is all quite good.  Basic Mongolian favorites like buuz, a Chinese-esque dumpling filled with mutton and then steamed.  The skin is great, with a good balance of flavor and quantity to go with the meat within.  There’s plov, a rice dish that here is rice with a few vegetables and mutton cooked in mutton broth.  I believe it’s the same broth the soups use, and it is to die for.  It’s like an entire lamb sitting on your face, in a good way.  It may look a bit boring in the picture, but the depth of flavor they manage in such a simple dish is incredible.

_MG_6432Buuz

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My favorite dish is shul, which is a type of mutton soup.  They have two, one with mutton ribs (you may be noticing a pattern in the meat selection developing–if you don’t like sheep, there’s no reason to come here) and one with dumplings.  I’ve only had the rib one; I assume the dumplings are the buuz.  Nice meaty ribs with potatoes and carrots and a fantastic broth that I would happily drink bottles of.  It’s wonderful.

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There are also an assortment of salads, we had the potato one.  It was potatoes and stuff mixed together.  Nothing remarkable, frankly, but it’s fine.  The soups, dumplings, and plov were all exceptional.  There are also a few stir fry type things, I haven’t tried any of them but given the rest of the food, they’re probably great.  There’s also a booze selection, which largely revolves around vodka.

The service is a bit slow and they always seemed slightly weirded out by white people, but nothing to worry about.  No English is spoken, only Korean or Mongolian.  The menu is in Mongolian; thanks to Deirdre Madden’s student whose name I don’t know, a translation is at the end.  This is also apparently the go-to place for Mongolians around town, so it’s the real deal.

Nice Mongolia Cafe is in Samsan, south of Trevi on the big east-west restaurant street that has the huge boshintang restaurant.  I don’t know how else to describe it.  It’s right around here if you stick it in Google Maps:  1302-21 Dal-dong, Nam-gu, Ulsan, South Korea

All the pictures are credit to the sadly departed from Korea Ryan King, as my camera sucks and he is better than me at these things.

Menu:

Бууз (Buuz) – Steamed mutton dumplings (9 pcs)

Цуйван (Tsuivan) – Stir fry with handmade noodles

(Dish consisting of meat, potatoes, onions and carrots chopped up and with handmade noodles, fried in oil)

Өндөгтэй хуурга (Undugtei huurga)– Stir fry with chopped egg

(Dish consisting of meat, potatoes, onions, yellow and green bell pepper, carrots and number of eggs chopped up and fried in oil)

Плов (Plov) – You know what plov is  (Basically stir fry with rice)

Нарийн махан хуурга (Nariin mahan huurga) – Stir fry with chopped meat

Хавиргатай ногоотой шөл (Havirgata nogootoi shul) – Vegetable soup with pieces of mutton ribs

Банштай цай (Banshtai tsai) – Milk tea with mutton dumplings

Банштай ногоотой шөл (Banshtai nogootoi shul) – Soup with vegetables and mutton dumplings

Нийслэл салат (Niislel salat) – Potato salad

(The most popular salad in Mongolia)

Өндөгний салат (Undugnii salat) – Egg salad

Луувангийн салат (Luuvangiin salat) – Carrot salad

Огурцы помидорны салат (Ogurtsi pomidornii salat) – Cucumber and tomato salad

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