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Baikal and Irkutsk: What does it taste like?

a bunch of different types of food on a table

No matter where we go, we try some of the most traditional dishes and drinks. Irkutsk region neighbors Buriyat republic so we got used to seeing the Buriyats dishes on our tables.

In this article, you’ll find out what not to miss visiting Baikal lake and Irkutsk. We have asked different local people the same questions.

The questions are:

  • What’s the first thing to try in our region?
  • What does the region taste like?

Here are the tips on what to try staying in Siberia:

Buriyat Buuzy

a person holding an animal

aka pozy or buriyat dumplings. Different kinds of meat and vegetables can be used while cooking: lamb, beef, pork, chicken, onion, carrot, cabbage.

The Buriyat version typically consists of a mixture of beef, pork, onion, and garlic, and at Selenga, the dish is served with the grated carrot on the side.

Eating pozy use your both hands.

No knives and forks are welcomed. Firstly, take a little bite off the dough and drink the juice out of the inside then take a bite. Enjoy!


aka dumplings. You might say “It’s the same as pozy”. Sorry, you are wrong.

They are smaller in size.

Real Siberian pelmeni always have a filling consisted of several types of meat. According to classical recipe, basic meat must include, besides beef and pork, wild meat such as rabbit or bear.

The way to cook pelmeni is to freeze the meat for a short period of time then chop it very well and add onion and garlic. The filling is totally closed with the dough in pelmeni, unlike buzy. It takes 15 minutes to cook them just by putting it into the hot water.

Baikal fish

a group of fish

It may be salted, smoked, boiled, or fried.

Which one are you going to try first?

The Baikal fishermen’s traditional recipe is to make three to four cuts on the fish from the spine to the belly and rub it with salt. Then the fish is impaled upside down onto wooden skewers, which are thrust into the ground at a slant over a fire and are constantly turned while being roasted.

Zagutai, raskolotka

a close up of a plate of food

Raw fish snack. Zagutai is similar to stroganina. It’s made of fish cut. The fish is served with black pepper and oil.

Taiga berries

a close up of a flower

Wonder to know how to stay healthy? Just eat a lot of berries blue honeysuckle, black/red/white currant berries, bird cherries, sea-buckthorn. The Siberian climate is severe so it’s impossible to grow fruits. Berries are a great source of all the vitamins you need during the winter.

Try some berry jam or a berry drink. If you are coming in the summertime, don’t miss a chance to visit a local dacha. The second part of summer is perfect for picking berries right from a berry bush. That’s actually what we do.


a close up of a coffee cup

A traditional hot drink based on berries with adding honey and spices. The best thing in wintertime or for long walks.

Wild meat

a fire in the dark

aka Siberian-style meat. Hunting was widely spread among locals from ancient times.

How to cook a “hunting dish”? Wild meat must be cut into long thin slices, salted, and impaled on wooden bars that are stuck into the earth next to hot coals so that the meat is smoked with taiga fern. It’s also very important to add enough garlic. This meat is eaten with roasted potatoes and some berries.


a banana sitting on top of a wooden cutting board

aka pies. The favorite flavor from the childhood of thousands of locals is the smell of fresh pies that granny made in the kitchen. Here people make countless types of pies with diverse fillings starting with fish and meat(of course), a mixture of egg and rice, cabbage, cottage cheese, taiga berries or berry jam.

Try some of them with great pleasure during our Irkutsk city tour by night or Lake Baikal tour from Irkutsk and let us know if you liked them!

Enjoy your meal!

Now you won’t get lost among the various choice Siberian dishes. Will you?

This post is written by Katya, local guide.