An unlikely vegetarian movement is taking root in Mongolia, where livestock outnumber people 14 to 1, and annual meat consumption tops 200 pounds per person.
The first vegetarian restaurant in Mongolia, Ananda’s Cafe, opened in 2006. Today more than 20 vegetarian and vegan restaurants dot the capital, Ulaanbaatar, and a handful of others are scattered throughout the country. Ananda’s has launched a catering service, and another popular restaurant, Luna Blanca, now sells frozen faux-mutton dumplings in local supermarkets.
The vegetarian restaurateurs are mostly Mongolians. Many follow Christian and Buddhist-influenced spiritual movements that promote vegetarianism, some of them fringe foreign sects, such as the Indian-based meditation group Ananda Marga, and followers of the quasi-Buddhist Supreme Master Ching Hai, who promotes vegetarianism and veganism.
To read the full story
Andrew Cullen is a freelance journalist based in Hovd, Mongolia.