Meals tend to be served in four courses, starting with a salad. Potatoes in a mustard dressing accompanied by sliced carrot, onions and lettuce and topped with dill, is a popular choice.
There’s always soup. Borscht — a tasty beetroot soup, usually with stewed beef or lamb — is a Russian favourite, though any kind of broth could end up on your table. It’s traditional to add a dollop of sour cream.
Siberians stock up on protein whenever they can. Pelmeni (dumplings filled with minced meat, rather like ravioli) are standard Siberian fare, though in the Baikal region you’ll more likely get fish. Omul, a fish endemic to Lake Baikal, is a local speciality. It can be served raw, smoked or baked in sauce.
Sweet dumplings and pastries with a hearty fruit filling, usually apple or cherry, are served as dessert, just in case you hadn’t had enough stodge already.
Russians go either for tea or vodka. A samovar (tea urn) will accompany every meal, and it’s drunk black with sugar to taste. Toasting is standard before, during and after Russian meals. The idea is to knock back a vodka shot with a resounding ‘nazdarovya!’ (cheers) each time.
Don’t drink it!