Most common in Mongolia, Airag is a popular drink throughout Central Asia. Yes, it’s milk, but not as we know it. This is a product that is best described as fermented mare’s milk.
There’s no question that Airag is an acquired taste. It’s pungent and slightly alcoholic. Even here, where it’s still consumed in great quantities, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea.
The taste is sour and it tends to sparkle a little on the tongue. Rich in vitamins and minerals, this provides a nourishing drink for nomadic people. For travellers to these parts, it demands to be tasted. But it’s quite a challenge — and there’s no shame in finding it too much to bear. Airag can also be found in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and China. Popular here, perhaps. But for those not used to drinking sour fermented horse milk, this is one that might just be a little too weird.