VLADIVOSTOK, December 7. /TASS/. Russia’s Far East has many opportunities to develop gastronomy tourism. The region can surprise the most sophisticated gourmands from Russia and Europe with fresh fish and seafood, meat of wild animals and taiga delicacies.
The Far East has just started developing gastronomy tourism but experts believe that it has a great potential and can attract many travelers from other Russian regions and neighboring Asia-Pacific countries, mainly China, South Korea and Japan.
The Far-Eastern cuisine has absorbed the great variety of traditions of local and Siberian ethnic groups, as well as Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian features. The Chinese, Japanese and Korean cuisines are also popular in the region.
"The Asian cuisine is well-known and loved in the Far East for decades. It long ago turned from something exotic to commonplace," said Natalia Ovcharenko, the acting head of the Far Eastern Federal University’s tourism department.
"We have hundreds of Asian restaurants and cafes in the Far East," she added.
"The region is mainly visited by tourists from the Asia-Pacific countries who prefer familiar cuisine even on vacation," a spokesman for the regional administration said, explaining the popularity of Asian cuisine.
The Asian cuisine is also adored by local residents who praise its variety and low costs. For instance, a lunch on the Sakhalin Island costs some 300 rubles ($5), and the average price for dinner is 1,200-1,500 rubles ($20-25).
"Korean dishes can be found at all festivities on the Sakhalin and Kuril islands," the regional tourism agency told TASS. "Foreign guests are always pleased with the variety of Asian dishes. We also have many Japanese restaurants with native with chefs from Japan."
The Primorye Region has many restaurants offering not only Korean and Japanese but also Chinse, pan-Asian, Indian and Vietnamese dishes.
"Gastronomy tourism in the Primorye Region has entered a new level and is becoming more and more popular," the local administration said. "Many tourists coming to the region praise the variety of delicacies and their affordability."
The average check in Chinese and Korean restaurants in Primorye is 300-500 rubles ($5-8.5). Japanese seafood dishes are more expensive.
However, authentic cuisine of Far-Eastern ethnic groups is what makes the region unique.
For instance, the Udege people offer spices made of garlic blossoms, salmon soup and dishes made of taiga herbs, meat of wild animals and river fish.
"The Yakut cuisine also deserves attention," Ovcharenko said, praising dishes made of elk, deer, horse and brown bear meat and salmon.
Tourists can taste these ethnic dishes mainly at folk festivals.
"Tourists are delighted with the Yakut cuisine. Chefs from Japan and Iceland come here for master-classes," said Yegor Makarov, owner of Yakut restaurant Muus Haia. "I think the gastronomy tourism has great prospects."
The neighboring Khabarovsk Region, home to eight small ethnic groups, is ready to surprise its guests not only with the exotic menu but also with fishing tours and trips to the Nanai village.
"A Nanai family wearing national costumes will welcome guests in the village of Sikachi-Alyan, a two-hour ride from Khabarovsk, and treat them with red caviar, steamed ferns, salted, dried and smoked fish," the regional tourism department said.
The Kamchatka peninsula’s most popular dishes are traditionally made of salmon. Local deer breeders will treat their guests with deer soup and other Even delicacies.