Local food


BERRIES


Baikalsk can be named as a strawberry capital of the region as most of the strawberry from around Baikal is being produced here. Due to special micro climate and despite short summer it provides perfect temperature and moisture conditions for its growth. During the last decade of July the annual Strawberry festival takes place in town which attracts both tourists and local people.

Nature took care of everything. Several types of berries ripen following one another in allotments and forests around Baikal. Strawberries season begins in July and lasts until August, it is then followed by blueberry, blackcurrant and then cowberry which arrives in the beginning of September and cranberry towards the end of the month.


MUSHROOMS


In August-September you can go for mushroom hunting in the forest. Ceps, milk mushrooms, suffron mushrooms, different types of boletus - all these you can find in local forests.


PINE NUTS


Pine nut ripens in the first half of September. It is interesting that a pine cone takes two seasons to develop and gives nuts only in September two years after its formation. The process of nutting is very interesting - it is worth coming and participating! The whole area around Baikal - from Slyudyanka to Babushkin which get a lot of snow in winter - is rich with pine nuts.


HERBS


Crystal clear mountain water and fresh mountain air create great conditions for ramson - wild leek. This very wholesome herb grows in the mountains in May and being sold everywhere. Apart from ramson other salads and herbs can be found in the area - e.g. sagan-dailya (rhododendron).


FISH


Fish occupies a very special place in everyday life of Baikal people. You cannot say that you have been to Baikal if you have not tried Omul in all its variations. Only a few years ago Omul was cheaper than average herring, the price was starting from 10 RUB per kilogram but nowadays the rules for fishing have become more strict and local people cannot afford to buy this fish anymore. Omul is a unique fish which can only be found in Baikal. It is relatively small fresh water species of 150-200 grams from the whitefish family which is the main Baikal delicacy and is available throughout a year. It can be prepared in many different ways - salted, hot and cold smoked, simmered, baked on open fire, "v raskolotku" (frozen and then hammered into pieces), etc. It is interesting that Omul eats another endemic species of Baikal - golomyanka which is a tiny fish around 10 cm long without scales that consists of 35 percent of fat. Since Omul as any other fish is rich of phosphorus most of the local people have brilliant white teeth throughout their whole life.

Apart from Omule the rivers which flow into Baikal are rich in grayling. The best time for fishing at Baikal is second half of August and September when fish flows from the top of the rivers into Baikal and eats actively on the way preparing for winter. With good skills you have a chance to catch Lenok - noble fresh water salmon. And if you are really lucky you can catch Taimen - the king of Siberian rivers. A meter long taimen has already turned into a legend in this place. But remember that taimen is included into the Red book of Russia and Irkutsk region (as protected spieces). To fully enjoy fishing you will need to travel up closer to the top of the rivers where you can find more fish which will also be less familiar with an idea of being caught.


FOWL


Hunting season for waterfowl starts in the end of August. No doubt the best place for ducks is delta of Selenga river which is 40 kilometers wide. Various species of ducks nest around here, this location is also a temporary stop for the ducks and geese travelling from North to South. Wild duck meat and liver will be a great delicacy addition to your table. Delta has a great deal of channels and without knowledge of the site and navigation it is very easy to get lost. From Baikalsk you can get to a good spot in about 4 hours by an asphalt road. Do not forget to buy a license for hunting in advance to your trip.

If you are coming for a more serious trophy we recommend Buryatiya: Okinsky district, Tarbogataysky district and Zakamensk, These are remote from densely populated areas and have a big variety of ungulates, Siberian stag, goats, roes, boars and bears. The spaces are vast so you will need a rifle and local guides. You will also need to purchase a license.



We believe that you will really enjoy local delicacies!

Team VisitSiberia.Ru