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28 Jan, 2010 06:48

Siberia: pelmeni and surviving in the cold

Russia's third-largest region, Tyumen, located in Western Siberia, is home to more than 30 ethnic groups and is believed to be the birthplace of the famous Russian dish, pelmeni.

You can tell an ordinary Russian and a Siberian apart in the blink of an eye, wrote one 19th Century anthropologist.

In those days, Siberians wore different clothes, ate different food, and hunted different animals.

But what about now?

Tyumen is a big city is all shiny oil-funded skyscrapers and shopping malls, much like any other prosperous Russian outpost. And Yalutorovsk is a small town just outside.

Maria Kondratovich, a radio presenter who works in Tyumen region, says the Siberian climate plays a huge role in how locals plan their lives. Preparing food for the winter (e.g. preserves) is an essential part of a Siberian diet during the cold season.

And expat Amanda Boatwright says the people are the main feature of Siberia’s identity.

“They don’t let the weather stop them!” she says.