Mongolia. Under the Mongols in the 12th and 13th centuries it was (and is still considered to be) the largest contiguous land empire in history. In the 21st century,  it remains one of the  largest areas of contiguous common grazing land in the world, with approximately 73% of its landmass classified as grassland (World Bank 2013).

That’s why (as well as the arid/semi-arid climate with roughly only 100 frost free growing days out on the steppe) the raising and herding of livestock remains the predominant use of the land. If you have approximately 56 million head of livestock you can see why the herders of Mongolia sustain their lives primarily with the products of their domestic livestock (that will be meat and milk then!).

Shashlik in Mongolia is mutton on skewers. It is absolutely delicious – barbecued with with alternating pieces of meat and fat.

In Mongolia, you’ll find shashlik stands at Mongolia’s festivals -such as the Ulgii Eagle Festival where our guest Kairi Aun shot this great image. Also, in the high season months of July and August there are  pavement cafes in Ulaanbaatar – a canvas tent with simple tables and chairs. The ones outside the State Department Store overlooking ‘Beatles Square’ sell the best  shashlik – and cheap cold beer. Many an hour can be whiled away here!