Tag Archives: food

Geothermal-gastronomical.

There are just two ways to get to the white waterfalls I told you about in a recent post post. You can either walk from the village Pauzhetka (en route to the peaks of Koshelev volcano), or – just the opposite – walk from the same volcano en route to Pauzhetka. So you see: all roads lead to and from Pauzhetka. Accordingly, this post is dedicated to the small yet significant – and most curious – village of Pauzhetka…

Pauzhetka is a village of extremes:

First: It’s probably one of the remotest settlements on the whole of the peninsula. To get there in a regular road car is probably impossible. To get there in a 4×4 or off-road vehicle from nearest town of Ust-Bolsheretsk takes up to two days (including a long stretch along the shore of the Sea of Okhotsk, and probably entailing a few ferry crossings). On the other hand, getting to the village by air isn’t too much trouble: there are scheduled flights once a week (from Petropavlovsk) to Ozernaya airport, which isn’t far from the nearest village on the coast – a mere 30 kilometers from the Pauzhetka. The only other means of transport that can be used to get there is chartered helicopter.

Second: It’s tiny. Locals put the population at a mere 42 folks ((co)incidentally, a magical number:).

Third: Still – as of summer 2018 (!), there’s no cellphone coverage – at all!

Fourth: Though the village is tiny and very inaccessible, it nevertheless has its own… geothermal power plant – Pauzhetskaya (the first power plant of its kind in Russia (or maybe even the USSR – I’m not sure)! As a result, the local area is supplied with free electricity and hot water! Free, as in – zero rubles! And it comes in seemingly unlimited supply: no electricity meters… nothing: as much as you want to use, whenever. Leave the TV on – fine! Never turn the iron off (if that’s what really floats your boat) ok! And it’s not as if the local authorities discourage such wanton waste of energy supplies: they don’t bother turning off every home’s central heating… ever! See – told you the place is one of extremes ).

(Btw: I’ve written about Pauzhetka before.)

AAAnnnyway, that’s all beside the point (yes, I do like to digress).

What makes Pauzhetka so significant to me is that you need to go through it to get to the nearby OMG-stratovolcanoes – Koshelev and Kambalny. Now, since Pauzhetka is located in such a touristic paradise, you might think that it’d be all… Davos-like: nothing but hotels and guesthouses and restaurants to cater for the tourists. Alas – nope. Pauzhetka doesn’t do tourism – for a few reasons.

First, this place is inaccessible, literally middle-of-nowhere, and literally unheard of (almost). Just try Google photos of Koshelev Volcano: my photos are the first to be shown!

Second, getting here ain’t cheap (in part because it’s so hard to get to), which reduces its average-tourist magnetism to around zero. And for the serious explorer-expeditioner-climber, the volcanoes are just too easy to conquer:

– What were you climbing this summer?
– I did a couple volcanoes in Kamchatka.
– Cool. I hear Kamchatka’s the bomb when it comes to serious volcanism. What altitudes did you get up to then?
– Ah. Er… 1800 and 2200 meters.
– Oh…

Accordingly, every tourist passing through Pauzhetka fits easily in this here ‘tourist base’ made up of two buildings with sleeping quarters, the inevitable pool filled with hot thermal water, and lots of vegetable patches and greenhouses:

But these aren’t just regular, common-or-vegetable-garden greenhouses…

First, these are greenhouses supplied with as much free hot water as needed all year round. Second, the soil here is super fertile volcanic soil packed with mega-doses of the minerals fruit and veg love. Third, there’s the industriousness of the locals who tend the greenhouses…

Read on…

A Chinese gastronomic enigma.

Many of you may have noticed that I rarely write about food. Photos of food or meals on Instagram are not my strong suit :) However, it would be wrong to say I’m indifferent to food. Absolutely not! These are my favorite kinds of cuisine:

  1. Chinese cuisine. To be more precise, all types of Chinese cuisine, and above all, South Xianggang cuisine (is that the proper name for it?).
  2. Japanese cuisine. To be more precise, all types of Japanese cuisine with their fresh, fried, grilled, roasted, boiled, etc. food. (Which reminds me of this video about the mysteries of Japanese cuisine.)
  3. All other Asian food.
  4. The entire culinary spectrum of the Caucasus. (The challenge here is to stay within the confines of lunch and dinner rather than succumbing to all-out gluttony…which I don’t think is right.)
  5. Borscht.
  6. That’s probably enough, or we may descend into the aforementioned gluttony :)

So now, I need the help from the audience.

There is a remarkable vegetable that grows in China (or, more correctly, on Hainan island). When cooked, it looks like this:

Its name in Mandarin is 四角豆.

“Four-cornered beans” according to my translation tool. Indeed, this veg has a very distinct four-cornered stalk. When preparing it, they chop the stalk at an angle (which results in rectangles with sharp corners) and pour on some seasoning.

I’ve never seen this vegetarian dish anywhere outside Hainan, and that includes Hong Kong which is just next door. This vegetable only grows in Hainan, and that’s where it all seems to get eaten.

So, two questions.

  1. What’s the proper name for this vegetable in Russian and English?
  2. Just in case I’m wrong, does anyone know if this tasty veg is on sale anywhere outside China? Would be great to know.

Thank you all in advance!

// After all that I have a strong urge to go and have lunch :)

Weekend Volcano.

Volcanism. It’s one of my hobbies. I just love getting up volcanoes all over the planet. Something about their beauty, power, hooliganism, infamy, aliveness, hotness, lava, craters, calderas, lakes… you get the picture.

But there’s one thing about volcanism that can be a bit of a pain: you normally need a good few days – if not weeks – to engage in any properly. This is because volcanoes of course tend to be massive, inaccessible, and often there are several in one spot that demand conquering. But then I heard about Mount Aragats: the quintessential ‘weekend volcano’.

Here she is. As you can see, she’s not far from the Armenian capital – so there’s the ‘inaccessible’ point crossed off as a volcanism-hindrance. She’s big and has more than one peak, but there is just one of her. All that is to explain its ‘weekendness’ :). But enough words; check out the pics:

Read on: Ruined over the millennia; but that’s half its charm…

Rocking the KasBar.

Hi all!

Ahhh – July: always tons getting done in the KL camp before the August lull when lots of us are on vacation – myself included! We’ve had our birthday bash already; there’s all sorts going on corporate-wise, which I’ll not go into here; and here’s the latest July event: the opening – finally! – of our corporate eatery @ our HQ! It’s called BarKas. Yes – the ‘Bar’ of ‘Kaspersky’. We decided on ‘bar‘ as, though it’s more of a restaurant than a bar, it is, in true KL spirit, informal and relaxed just like a bar, only nicer, if you follow me. Also, ‘Restaurant-Kas’ hardly has a ring to it. Plus, there’s the curiosity value in the fact that, in Russian, a ‘barkas’ is… a paddle boat! ‘Perfect’, we thought :).

The ‘beta testing’ of the paddle boat was back in March of this year. And just the other day it finally opened its doors to all and sundry (it’s not a KL-only canteen kinda thing), which I guess includes us – so we decided to give it some ‘alpha testing’…

Read on: First impressions? Nice.

Cuisine on the road, pt. 1: Kamchatka

Some time ago I was asked about what I pack in my suitcase on my frequent long trips round the globe – to kinda come up with a list of essential travel items I really can’t do without. Yeah, I thought – I’d seen some of those lists before – real hi-tech affairs. Mine sure is a lot simpler…

So, a few initial thoughts on this:

First: The more you travel, the lighter the suitcase. That’s perfectly logical: only the experienced traveler knows how to pack minimally – to do away with stuff you deffo won’t need at this or that destination. The experienced traveler also knows how a few extra kilos are a few extra kilos too many when walking ever greater distances to get to your gate in today’s hyper-airports.

Second: My list of ‘hi-tech’ kit is limited to a Sony RX-100 camera, a Lenovo X1 laptop, and some Bose QuietComfort 3 headphones – nothing top-of-the-range, but very reliable. Also, no super-duper camera lenses, no fancy smartphone, no video camera, no quad-copter, no tripod…

(Er, see – there’s my list. Didn’t take long, did it?)

Third: I’m quite sure you don’t want the low-down on my jeans, shirt and sock situation on the road.

No, something different, better than that was needed! And then it dawned on me…

…So here we are – the first installment of my new ‘column’ – ‘Cuisine on the road’: Gastronomical mini-guides to dinner-table food furnishings from different corners of the globe!

First up – a recent table in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, where we spent a day before our recent Kuril expedition

So, here we go…:

Cuisine on the road

Read on: the land of fish and seafood…