January 01, 2001

A Siberian New Year's Delicacy


f you live in Yakutia – a Siberian republic roughly the size of India – you had better like fish. Fish is the staple protein for many Yakutyane (inhabitants of Yakutia), especially  those who live in the republic’s northern regions.  Beef is expensive in such northern climes, and fishing is a primary occupation, though not necessarily a lucrative one. Today, many local fisherman still cast nets made of horsehair into local rivers and streams, and their families eat fish in all conceivable ways: raw, boiled, fried, dried and salted.

Yet, as often happens, a “common” dish to some is an uncommon delicacy to others. If dining on salmon is an expensive treat in the rest of the world, it is ordinary fare to your average Yakutyane. 

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