A Taste of Mongolia for Richmond Residents
on November 19, 2019
When it comes to Asian food in Richmond, one might first think of Chinese or Japanese restaurants. But surprisingly, there is a restaurant in town that provides Richmonders with the rare opportunity to enjoy authentic Mongolian cuisine.
A Mongolian married couple Erika Terish and Battulga Ochirpurev are owners of EurAsia, a restaurant located on San Pablo Avenue which opened in 2012.
As its name suggests, the restaurant serves a variety of cuisines – including Japanese and Russian, as well as Mongolian. The most popular dish among customers is Mongolian steamed dumplings called buuz. The dumplings are filled with a choice of beef, chicken or vegetables. Once you break a dumpling open with your chopsticks, gravy bursts from it. The beef or chicken options are packed with meat, and more filling than one might expect. One bite floods your palate with savory flavor.
Among the 11 soups on the menu, the classic Russian delicacy called borscht is one of the favorites. This soup simmers a variety of vegetables including onions, carrots, celery, and beets and red cabbage which help render its wine-like color. It tastes a little sweet and is rich with a deep beet flavor, while vegetables cut into large pieces contribute texture. Stirring in the sour cream atop a bowl of borscht adds creaminess as well as tartness to the mix.
Eurasia’s far East offerings feature an array of popular Japanese dishes, ranging from Ramen and Udon to Bento and Rolls. Attracted to its dynamic texture, I ordered a roll called “Super Dynamite.” This is a deep-fried roll in which a strip of salmon, cream cheese, seaweed, and sushi rice are all rolled up. On top of the thick batter are stripes of spicy mayo sauce and sweet unagi sauce. It’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, with a lot of creaminess coming from the sauce.
Terish and Ochirpurev came to the U.S. about 15 years ago. Terish started her career working as a chef for a Mongolian restaurant in downtown Oakland, while Ochirpurev was engaged in a delivery service for a Japanese engine company. After three years, Ochirpurev launched a printing business, and began making menus for restaurants which drew on his experience in Mongolia. During this time, one of his customers running a Chinese restaurant told him that it was going out of business, so the couple decided to open EurAsia on the site.
Terish cooks everything– making good use of her experience working at the restaurant in Oakland. Ochirpurev purchases ingredients, delivers food to customers and washes dishes. But the restaurant is not the only thing they have to care about. He gets up as early as 5 a.m. in order to buy food and drop off their three children at school, while his wife handles morning and evening housework.
This wide array of foods attracts diners of various ethnicities – a mix of Mongolians, Tibetans and Americans. A young Mongolian regular, Lkhagvaa Batseseer, said, “Food here is authentic. It’s the same as my mother made for me when I was in Mongolia.”
Getting such feedback motivates the couple, Ochirpurev said, adding, “I want customers to feel like family members.”
EurAsia, located at 12221 San Pablo Avenue, #6, is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The restaurant’s menu, price list, and online ordering options can be found on its website.
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