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Swallow is my new favourite food magazine. It is bi-annual and in hardcover and pretty.

The second release is the Trans-Siberian issue, moving from Moscow through Irkutsk, Ulaanbaatar and Beijing. The focus upon Russia might seem a little odd for a food magazine, but Swallow presents a food-themed study of culture that is all the more interesting because it shows the bad along with the good.

The issue demonstrates the hunting and preparation of wild (and endangered) Siberian marmots, graduates from the dining car on the Trans-Siberian Express, visits the lonely gourmands of Russia, and discovers that the Moscow food scene is more concerned with visual spectacle than actual food.

“When I’m not hungry and not paying, one of my favorite restaurants in the world is Bon, a Novy Russki haunt that probably started as a prank, but ended up the real thing. Industrial designer Phillipe Starck, harboring a sick fascination with Moscow elitny excess, chose the city for the third instantiation of his international restaurant chain Bon. Teaming up with a restaurant group whose previous effort was called Billionaire (to give you an idea of the scale of ridiculousness they were aiming for). The result is fantastic, gleeful, over-the-moon camp: Kalashnikov gun stands, obscene frescoes, taxidermy iced out in Swarovski jewels—essentially, it’s Starck’s ironic vision of what a rich man with no taste would want his restaurant to look like. The irony is that none of its patrons, minigarchs and molls, appreciate the irony.”

- Micha Rinjus, ‘Embarrassment of Riches’, Swallow #2