Buryatia is a region which was originally inhabited by Mongols. This ethnic group still constitutes an important minority here and theirs traditions have shaped the lives of the Russian families who settled around Lake Baikal by will or by force. Therefore, it is no surprise that the local cuisine still holds a strong link with the Mongolian cooking techniques and even the ancient recipes.
One of the oldest dishes that you can try in Buryatia is Buuza, which is a meat dumpling cooked on steam. This traditional dish is known to have saved many Mongol riders from starvation in the past. Because of the cold weather here, this dish could have lasted for weeks without decaying. You can ask for a Buuza in the Tengis Restaurant, one of the best of its kind in the capital of Ulan-Ude. This place is renowned for its special soup which carries the name of the restaurant, and for the hospitality with which they treat their guests.
Another establishment that could make the shortlist of the best restaurants near Lake Baikal is Marco Polo, located in Ulan-Ude as well. Now, we are not completely sure that the famous explorer and from the Middle Ages stopped here on his way to China to have a snack or two, but if that really happened, then he surely left satisfied. Here you can try a great selection of traditional dishes or you can stick to a Westernized menu that offers cheesecake and strudels among others.
A trip to Lake Baikal and Ulan-Ude should not end without serving a meal at Orda, one of the capital’s oldest and most notorious restaurants. This is a place often visited by locals and tourists alike because of its festive atmosphere, the great food they have on offer and the affordable prices on the menu. Whatever your choice may be, Ulan-Ude will not leave you with a bad taste.