Food Options on the Trans-Siberian Railroad

One meal, as in one for the entire trip, is included with some regular tickets.

·       Regular trains offer a restaurant car. It has simple Russian dishes in Russia, and Mongolian food once it crosses the border.

·       Luxury tourist trains have “full-board,” and a better-quality restaurant and bar car.

·       At nearly every station, platform traders offer local delicacies. These can include fresh fruit and vegetables, pies and pastries. There is usually hot and cold food.

·       Although you can buy tickets with all meals included, everyone should bring some snacks to whip up with the free hot water on the train. Instant oatmeal, cups of soup, noodles, bread and tea bags are good choices.

A majority of tourists love trying new foods while on vacation. The food available on and off the train on the Trans-Siberian Railroad is part of the adventure. Onboard, most of the food is not exactly five-star quality. However, it’s still interesting and consistent. Some luxury trains offer fine dining options that will satisfy all but the pickiest diners. More interesting is sampling delicious smoked fish from Lake Baikal in Siberia. You can sip a Mongolian beer as you cross the Gobi Desert. For a full inventory of food options in distinct locations throughout Russia, read on.

Food Options Aboard a Trans-Siberian Train

Food options vary based on the train, route and class you have chosen. While bearing in mind that this train wasn’t designed for tourists, but rather for Russians to breach the vast expanses of Russia, you can adjust your expectations. The state railway company (RZD) runs it. While the menu isn’t especially impressive, there’s no reason not to visit the restaurant carriage.

Each Trans-Siberian train has a restaurant car. It serves at least basic Russian food. This includes meat and fish dishes, salads and soups. Snacks and drinks are also available. Sampling local beer and wine is a great experience. Most menus have English translations. Otherwise, carry a phrasebook or an app that doesn’t require internet. Dietary requirements should be transcribed in the local language so you can present them to waiters. Instead of traveling to the restaurant car, meals can be served to your compartment if you arrange it.

When booking, the two options of “with services” or “without services” refer to the inclusion of one meal per ticket. Most customers are only on the train for one day. Remember this is only one meal for the duration of your journey, not one per day. Even if you are aboard for seven days, you will receive a free meal once. Refreshments aboard, food bought at stations and packed food help one-day passengers, and everyone else, supplement the one meal.

·       You can pay with a credit card aboard if there is an internet signal. It’s a good idea to bring enough cash along in the currency of that country.

Full-board is available on tourist trains. It’s included in the ticket price. RZD has a tourist train named “Imperial Russia.” It runs between Moscow and Vladivostok. It also runs from Moscow to Beijing via Mongolia. This Moscow Beijing train is quite an experience, as it runs through three countries and visits diverse cultures. Both routes’ Imperial Russia trains cater to tourists with splendid restaurant cars offering more upscale food. A bar and lounge carriage offers Russian champagne, drinks and piano shows.

Food at Train Stations

Be sure to keep cash on hand to buy local delicacies from vendors and kiosks at the stations. They might offer fresh vegetables or berries plucked from the woods. Homemade pies and pastries can brighten up your dessert time. Dried or smoked fish, like omul from Lake Baikal, can add some protein. It’s best to follow the Russians’ interest in vendors if you can, in case they know who has the freshest food. Some food may have been sitting there, so do follow the Russians if you have a sensitive stomach.

Packing Food for the Train

Although our ticket may include a meal, or you may plan to purchase many items on or off the train, it’s still important to pack snacks. These can include:

·       Fruit

·       Dried fruit

·       Granola bars

·       Trail mix

·       Cured meat

·       Packable cheese for the first day (no refrigerators)

·       Instant noodles

·       Instant oatmeal

·       Chips

·       Candy

·       Instant coffee, tea or hot chocolate

A traditional Russian kettle called a samovar with free hot water is available in each carriage. Cold water must be purchased, however. Packing cutlery, plates, cups and a thermos is a smart move too.

To make friends and practice the Russian language, pack food to share. They might be interested in trying a snack or candy from your country. Russian neighbors on the train could likely offer you local treats too.