“Transmongolian” by Álvaro Laiz (Spain, 1981) is the representation of a world of solitude and crushed dreams within the Mongolian community of homosexuals and transgender.

“Transgender people usually live in between two genres without being fully accepted by one or the other. Mongolia is a male driven society where acceptance for this collective becomes difficult and many of them are forced to live aside society.”

This is an extract from the interview on GUP Magazine.

“Transmongolian” was presented at Slideluck London.


Buzz (Steamed Filled Pockets)


– 250 g flour
– 1.5 cl water



– 300 g minced meat
– 1 onion, minced
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– 3-5 tablespoons of sea salt Pepper
– Caraway


Traditionally, mutton is used; other types of meat such as beef work just as well. Mongolians consider fat meat to be of higher quality, but there’s no problem in using Western-style lean meat. Borts can also be used.

Mix the minced meat, onion and garlic. Add water until the mass is smooth to work with. Season with salt and spices (as the dough has no salt).

Mix the flour and water to create pliable dough. Let it rest for 15 minutes. Cut the dough into 2cm (0.8ins) thick slices. Roll the slices out.

Cut the rolls into 3cm (1.2ins) pieces. Flatten the pieces with a finger.

The decorative design of the Buuz is a matter of honor for the cook. At first, the result will probably look a bit clumsy. Mongolian experts produce small miracles in no time, almost without looking.

There are several different possibilities to form the Buuz, but the beginning is always the same. The pieces of dough are rolled into circles of about 7cm (2.8ins) diameter, making the center slightly thicker than the edge. It is best only to roll as many circles you can process further within a few minutes. Forming the pockets will be more difficult as the dough begins to dry.

Hold one circle the open hand (the left one for righties) and place about one teaspoon of the meat mass in the center.


Cooking the Buuz

The finished Buuz are cooked under steam without pressure. The easiest way to do this is a special pan with perforated inlays. Such inlays are also available for normal pans. Flat and wide inlays are used for the wok-type pan used on the stove in the yurt.

Oil the inlays, or dip the bottom of each Buuz in oil. Place the Buuz on the inlay, ideally without touching each other. Fill sufficient water into the bottom of the pan.

Insert inlays and close the lid. Don’t open it until the Buuz are finished. Keep the steam going for about 15 minutes. Now open the lid, and fan some air to the Buuz, eg. with a cutting board. This will give them a glossy look, and a tasty looking slightly reddish color.


Round Buuz

This is the most traditional shape, differing from most of the other forms of Mongolian filled pockets. Fold the edge at one side, and press it together with your fingers. Create another fold next to the previous one, slightly offset to the outside, and press it together as well. Continue this way, continuously rotating the Buuz as you go along.

When done right this will result in a ring, which keeps the pocket together at the top. A small opening remains open in the center.


Folded Buuz

This method doesn’t require as much dexterity, but also yields an aesthetically pleasing result. Fold the circle from both sides, and press the opposing edges together in the middle over the meat. Fold the edges from across as well, and press them together into the previous connection. The result is a flower-like pouch, with four openings around the top. With a little practice, you can also try to make six ‘petals’.


Semicircular Buuz

This shape is normally reserved for Khuushuur or Bansh, but as shown here, it is extremely quick to produce. Fold the circle into half, to create a crescent shape with the edges lying on top of each other. Press the edges together along the semi-circle to close the Buuz.

Place the Buuz on its ‘back’, and compress the round edge by lifting the ends. This will result in various shapes, with a meandering edge.

Multimedia Tips

a. What program was used to create the multimedia?

Adobe Premiere.

b. How and why did you choose that sound/music?

For Transmongolian the process was very simple.  By then Jose Bautista (a multimedia producer) and I have not met yet. So I introduced myself, granted the music rights and edited my images according to the rhythm of the music.

c. Tell us about the editing process when you think of a multimedia.

Editing multimedia is not very different from editing a photo essay. You need a narrative. Building it is the tricky part. There are some sequences that always work of course, such as close-ups, situations and action shots, but for the most part of my time, I was trying to know what does this story needed or missed. It is almost a metaphysical question because you are not only trying to build a narrative. You are trying to build a world with its own laws, which must be coherent. From my point of view the more coherent  you become, the more consistent the story becomes. It is always helpful to have an external opinion like Jose Bautista, of course…

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Álvaro Laiz | Transmongolian