The word “Mongolian” isn’t rare when it comes to restaurants. But Mongolian barbecue is actually Taiwanese in origin. Mongolian hot pot like Happy Lamb Hot Pot in Falls Church really does have roots in the country, but the way we know it owes more to the Szechuan province of China than its motherland. Want real Mongolian dumplings in NoVA? You’ll have to head to a Thai restaurant.
Buuz Thai Eatery in Rosslyn is currently operating as a takeout-only business with a limited menu, but that doesn’t mean that co-owner Zola Enkh is overlooking her Mongolian heritage. From the already concise Mongolian bill of fare, there are currently three dishes available. Since I was eating in my car, I skipped the khuitsaa noodle soup but tried both varieties of dumpling.
Buuz, which give the Thai restaurant its unlikely name, are round dumplings with a puckered top, making them resemble a Nepali momo. But the flavors of the buuz owe more to Eurasia than the Himalayas. The beef dumpling is heavily mixed with tender chunks of onion and not much else. This allows the flavor of the meat to take center stage, and it bursts with juice at first bite. It’s served with a side of egg-heavy niislel salat, the Mongolian version of Russia’s mayo-based olivier salad.
Khuushuur, identified on Buuz’s menu as “beef flat fried dumpling,” immediately made me think of chebureki, a snack that I first tried at Central Asian restaurants. The fried hand pies are filled with the same beef and onion mixture as the buuz and the torrid juice is perhaps even more appealing when dripping from hot, crisp dough. Mongolians know how to eat on a cold winter day. But I’ll head to Arlington for buuz and khuushuur anytime the mood for something truly different strikes me.// 1926 Wilson Blvd., Arlington
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