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Airag

Raw mare's milk is inedible at least for lactose-intolerant Mongols, but when fermented—it is quite the opposite

Airag in Mongolia 2019 - Best Time
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© Laura Bute Photography

In Mongolia milk is considered a symbol of purity, kindness, and selflessness. Even mare's milk is given credit, though it cannot be consumed raw owing to the high content of lactose, and Mongolians are especially lactose intolerant. The milk-loving nation still found a way to use mare's milk in their summer dairy diet—they merely ferment the milk to destroy extra lactose. The new product is called Airag, though tourists also refer​ to it as "Kumys" which is the name of Russian origin. The iconic Mongolian drink is available mainly between May and September.

Milking the horses 2019
Milking the horses

As a result of the fermentation process, the drink contains roughly between 0.7 and 2.5% alcohol.

Milk or coke ? no no ! that's alcohol. Aïrag is done with fermented horse (mare) milk 2019
Milk or coke ? no no ! that's alcohol. Aïrag is done with fermented horse (mare) milk
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