Eating in Irkutsk

Omul Irkutsk restaurant Snezhinka
Pan fried Omul with baked potatoes

This is a continuation from: Irkutsk, around and about: A Photo Story

After two days on the Trans Siberian train, with meals comprising mostly of instant noodles and  canned sardines, eating was a very important part of our stop at Irkutsk.

The first thing after leaving our luggage in the hostel room was to search for a place which served hot, authentic Russian food.

We first headed to Snezhinka, a restaurant located on Karla Marska Street which was recommended by Lonely Planet. It cost about RUB400/ USD12.5/ SGD26  for a main course. The food tasted quite okay. The pork went well with the sauce and so did the omul and potatoes. My only gripe was that the portions were very small.

Snezhinka, Irkutsk Restaurant
Snezhinka, located on Karla Marska Street. The words looks different as it’s in Russian. (Took me some time to figure that out)
Pork Irkutsk Restaurant Snezhinka
Pork with potato wedges and tomato sauce
An upclose view – looks much more appetising

 * * *

Kafe 16

As recommended by Lonely Planet, located on Sukhe Batora Street.

Our stomachs were not filled by the tiny portions earlier on, so we went on a search for a Kafe (cafe) to dine at – a restaurant would have burnt a hole in our pockets without doing it’s job (making us feel full). We located Kafe 16 quite easily. We ordered salmon in cheese sauce, cheese soup and our coffees. The waitress was probably the nicest we had met during out Russia trip – she was a university student and spoke some English. Took the time to explain to us what each dish meant, unlike most other service staff we met who were quite aloof.

Hot latte in Irkutsk
Hot latte in Irkutsk – very foamy and comes with straw.
Irkutsk, Coffee, cappuccino, Kafe 16
Equally foamy cappuccino – taste less milky than the latte though
Cafes in Russia, MTV russian songs
In most cafes in Irkutsk, there’s a TV playing popular Russian songs. So much so that I found several of them quite familiar on the train.
Cheese soup with croutons. Kafe 16 Irkutsk
Cheese soup with croutons. Russia food often comes with a sprinkle of dill on it.
Kafe 16, Irkutsk, Salmon in cheese sauce
Quite an interestingly decorated piece. Salmon in cheese sauce (tasted quite like the soup, with dill, lettuce and parsley as garnish
Chicken burgers, fast food, Irkutsk
Burgers from a random fast food outlet for breakfast. Tasted like McChicken, but more expensive!

* * *

Lake Baikal

We also bought Omul back when we went to Listvyanka to see Lake Baikal. It’s freshly caught from the clear, fresh waters of the majestic Lake Baikal. It costs a very affordable RUB50/ USD1.56/ SGD2 and taste very yummy. Best to eat it hot when you are there, or if your accommodation comes with a microwave oven, heat it up and it will taste great. We were over the omul like cats.

Omul, Irkustsk, russia, delicious, listvyanka fish market
Baked omul in a special sauce, taste delightful on a cold winter’s day.
Omul, fish market listvyanka, lake baikal, russia
The fish market in Listvyanka sells a variety of Omul cooked in different ways. Not all are ready to be eaten on the spot though. Ask!
Meatball and potatoes Russian food
Meatball and potatoes we had at Listvyanka – A Russian staple – We saw many of them eating that on the train. Taste great when you’re freezing!

* * *

A normal meal at Pop Cafe, Irkutsk

Pizza at Pop Cafe, near our hostel
Pizza at Pop Cafe, near our hostel
Lasagna - Pop Cafe, Irkutsk.
Lasagne – Pop Cafe, Irkutsk. Russian food seems to be quite Westernised.

* * *

Subway in Russia ; )

Subway irkutsk russia
Subway in Irkutsk

Alas, a familiar brand name. Quite a warm and empty place. It taste quite like the one you can get in Singapore though slightly more expensive. They have borscht which taste like a tomato based soup – for the authentic borsht, try it in restaurants.

A subway footlong - Irkutsk
A Subway footlong – Irkutsk
Subway in russia, irkutsk footlong
Brimming with onions, cucumbers and tomatoes
Subway Brosht
Subway’s Borsht – taste like plain old tomato soup

Eating in Irkutsk – all I can say that it was slightly expensive, but the omul certainly left a good taste in my mouth. Cafes also make a good resting place, especially when temperatures outside at a -7 deg. Have fun.

Watch this space for my next post on the trip to see Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest lake.

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