No, that’s not a pile of twinkies! It’s a traditional Mongolian “shoe sole cake” called, Ul Boov.
In the same way we celebrate Christmas by putting up a tree, Mongolians celebrate the Lunar New Year with a days-long holiday, Ul Boov being the centerpiece.
It can also be seen as a family shrine, since families make the sole-like impression in each cake with a stamp that has been handed down for generations. Each stamp is unique, defining the family members by the design of their ul boov.
The dessert consists of layers of fried cakes – each of which resembles the cross-hatched bottom of a shoe – decorated with chunks of sugar, wrapped candies, and a sweet, hard cheese called aarul. Traditionally, elders prepare seven layers, young couples stack three layers, and everyone else makes five layers. Height relates to age and status, and odd numbers symbolize happiness.
Ringing in the new year is quite the spectacle, as stacking the cake tower involves precision and care. A finished Ul Boov symbolizes Mount Sumeru, a sacred Buddhist mountain. The dessert can also be served a weddings and other celebrations, or as a meaningful decoration in the home. What a sweet showcase that must be!
Y’all! This was a hard find! I hope those of you participating in this challenge had an easier time finding your “u” word!!