Given Name: Kumis
Aliases: Koumiss, ayrag (Mongolia), 马奶酒
Place(s) of Origin: Central Asia
Place Consumed: Ürümqi, China
Common Features: Raw mare’s milk drink fermented by frequent stirring/churning
Background: Traditionally, kumis was consumed from a horse-hide vessel. The inventors) must’ve really disliked horses.
I was visiting Ürümqi, capital of the Xinjiang (mostly Uyghur) autonomous region, snacking on fried bones over stale bread and anger-tipped peanuts, when thirst decided to take center stage. What better way to squelch it than with an unwashed cup of uninviting kumis? I had no idea what it was, and felt sick immediately afterwards. You see, it was consumed hundreds of years ago because the fermentation process is supposed to kill off many pathogens left as a result of the kumis being unpasteurized. The joke was on me, for that big block of ice melted part of itself into my nighttime activities. Don’t worry! I’m fine now. Until I get offered another glass of it.
Judging by the taste, I could sense that it was fermented, but beyond that, it was more like “thick” water. You know how when you turn on the tap sometimes and the water’s cloudy? That’s on the right track.
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