Food on board the Trans Siberian

Restaurant car quality is variable. Sometimes the staff are graduates of the Soviet School of Inhospitality majoring in surliness, indifference and awful food while other times they're really sweet and dish up tasty food. Food and service improves dramatically in the Chinese restaurant cars.

Dining Car view
Dining Car view
Dining Car view Chinese
Some trains have cabin takeaways
Bread Spread
Lingering long lunch Russian car
Mongolian Dining Car

The train runs on Moscow time, outside it's local time but the restaurant cars seem to have another time zone so check meal times.
General Dining Car Notes: The train (263 and 264) between Ulan Bataar and Irkutsk does not have a dining car. People stock up on items before departure and then suppliment along the way from station stops.

General Food Notes:

One can use the dining cars, but many passengers usually cater for themselves with the ever-boiling samovar at the carriage end providing hot water for drinks and pot noodles. Most stops have platform hawkers clamouring to sell fresh bread, fruit, vegetables, hard boiled eggs, tins of sardines, instant noodles, bottles of home made vodka, dried fish, toys and clothes. Platform kiosks provide the rest; forget the old images of Soviet-time queues and empty shelves, these are well stocked especially with varieties of beer and Kvas - popular drink derived from fermented bread. You will see Kvas vendoring all over Russia - quite a refreshing drink with alcohol levels that would allow it to be sold in the softdrink section of a supermarket.
Tea Coffee Vodka you name it - after 6 drinkies
Breakfast foraged from station hawkers and the train samovar
Typical station food hawkers

General Food Notes

The traditions of modern Russian cuisine is closely connected with the food that peasants cooked during the Russian Empire period. Basic dishes haven't changed. However, nowadays when people are in a hurry and don't have enough time to cook at home, they prefer fast food, cafe food, etc. Nevertheless, food and beverages that are served at home are almost the same as they were several hundred years ago.

Russian people are very hospitable. When you travel Russia you will experience the range food and beverages on offer, especially during holidays and festivals of Russia.

Usually, there are three main meal times: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Main courses are served at lunch and dinner. Meals first include soups and it's impossible to imagine a Russian dinner without them. There are different varieties of soups: “shchi” (cabbages with meat), “rassolnik” (hot soup of pickled cucumbers), “ukha” (boiled fish), “okroshka” (the ingredients aren't boiled but put in kvas or sour milk; it is usually made in summer), “kasha” (porridge) it's prepared from any grain (buckwheat, rice, wheat). Most soups are served with “smetana” (sour cream). Though Russia is a large country, these soups can be easily found almost in every corner.

Other popular dishes are made from meat (sausages, pelmeni, chops, steak) and of course potatos. There are also different salads made from seasonal vegetables and fruit. One should never forget that most food is served with bread as this is the most essential thing in Russian cuisine.

In Russia, people drink tea and coffee for pleasure as other nations do. Amongst traditional alcoholic free beverages there are prostokvasha, kvas, and kompot (stewed fruit). Among alcoholic drinks, vodka and samogon are the most well known. Read more about Russian cuisine.