IN ARCTIC SIBERIA : Snacking on a hidden delicacy of fish or meat is a tradition. Best served raw, and frozen.

The Russian Arctic looks remote on the map, but more than a million people live here - for more than in the polar regions of Western Europe and North America. From the Bolsheviks' forced collective farming and the gulag labor camps to the chaotic collapse of Communism, outside forces beyond local control have shaped the lives of residents. 

The tundra at dusk looks like the open ocean, waves in shades-of-blue, gray and white. Indigenous reindeer herders traverse this terrain, eking a nomadic living out of the barren land. The biting cold this time of the year keeps their provisions frozen, but they sometimes lack the time - or the firewood - to cook them.

So when Mikhail Khudi, a reindeer herder, is hungry, he likes to take a bit of raw, frozen fish or reindeer meat from the sled-top pantry and dunk it in mustard before it disappears, chewy then creamy in his mouth.

Travel thousands of miles across Arctic Siberia - from the oil-and-gas heartland on the Yamal Peninsula just east of the Ural Mountains, to the nickel smelting of the lonely sity of Norilsk, to the Gulag-haunted banks of the Kolyma River as you approach Alaska - and you will encounter Mr. Khudi's snack: strognina.

It is raw, frozen fish or meat, shaved thin with a sharp knife so it curls off the blade. Hurry - eat it before it thaws for the best best flavor and texture, dipping the frozen shavings into salt-and-pepper  mix or your favorite sauce, and then chewing lightly as they on your tongue, like a Popsicle version of sashimi or carpaccio.

You'll rarely find stroganina on the menu in Moscow. But I am convinced that this is one Russia's greatest delicacies.

In Siberia, you'll find people who are stroganina connisseurs, critiquing the mustiness of frozen whitefish from smaller lakes or praising the clean leanness of the catch from the Gulf of Ob.

''I'm used to my Ob kind,'' said Ditry Kuybin, who fishes on that gulf, a 6--- mile long estuary along the eastern coast of the Yamal Peninsula that flows into the Arctic Ocean. ''This lake stuff'' preferred by reindeer herders, he said  -''tastes kind of mossy.''

For what to dip stroganina in, the possibilities are endless. Nellya Motysheva, who also lives on the peninsula, plans to collect her recipes in a book. What she calls ''mom's sauce'' is vegetable oil, mustard powder and reindeer blood. 

The honor and serving of the latest great writings on Travel and Tourism, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Anton Troianovski.


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