Stock up on food before venturing anywhere out of Kyzyl. Roadside cafes and village canteens do exist, but don't count on finding one whenever you need it.

Feature: Tuvan Food

Almost every rural household keeps a vat of khoitpak (fermented sour mare’s milk), which tastes like ginger beer with a sediment of finely chopped brie. Khoitpak is drunk as is or distilled into alcoholic araka. Roast dalgan (a cereal, similar to Altai’s bran-rich talkan) can be added to your salted milky tea or eaten with oreme (sour cream). Local cheeses include stringy byshtag and rock-hard Kazakh-style kurut balls.

Tuvans are said to have learned from Chinggis Khaan a special way to kill their sheep without wasting any of the animal’s blood. Collected with miscellaneous offal in a handy intestine, this blood makes up the local delicacy khan sausage. Beyond Kyzyl, truck stops, pelmeni (meat ravioli) steamers and temperamental but incredibly cheap village stolovye (canteens) are your best hopes for a hot meal unless you’re staying with families. Kyzyl residents often take their own supplies when travelling to the provinces.