You have already booked your ticked, you are at the train station in Moscow and a 25-hour train will take you to Yekaterinburg the next morning… This means you’ll have to eat at least two times on the train. What and where to eat? Here are some tips about how to survive long-distance trains in Russia.
On the train, you have at least four choices concerning food:
Every train has its own Restaurant wagon. It generally offers a variety of different dishes, from soups to salads and sandwiches and prices are not expensive. Seating in this area is also an occasion to socialize, meet new people or catching a break from your noisy neighbors.
Every 2-3 hours some lady from the restaurant car will stop by your wagon with a basket full of food and drinks.
You can buy warm piroshki, noodles, vodka and beer. Attention: prices are usually higher in this case, so try to avoid buying stuff on the train.
At the various stations, when the train stops (at least for longer stops, half an hour or more), you will have time to get off and walk along the railways, where you’ll either find small “produkti” (the typical Russian grocery shops) and kiosks or Russian “babushke” selling drinks, biscuits, ice-cream and delicious home-made pastries for really low prices. Be careful and ask at what time the train leaves before getting off!
You can also bring your own food. But…What to choose?
Food shopping on the Transsiberian
A typical Russian-style dinner on a train is made of beer and dried fish, with some shots of vodka at the end. You can find these products in every “produkti” and supermarket in Russia.
Too much for you? Then try a smoother version of the Russian food.
In every carriage there is a water boiler (samovar), which you can use whenever you want, just bring your own cup.
Take some warm water and have a coffee, tea or any other warm drink you want – remember to bring with you powder coffee/tea or whatever. Then bring some packs of cookies or croissants and you’ll have the perfect breakfast!
We suggest two options, depending on how much time you will spend on the train.
You can bring with you fresh food. A good choice is bread, cheese, fresh vegetables (carrots or cucumbers) and ham or salami. Take a pocket knife and you’ll be able to make a tasty sandwich with these basic ingredients! Be careful: in summer inside the train it can be very hot, so you should eat this kind of lunch as soon as possible.
“Drinking” a noodle soup. Obviously this is a last resource, but sometimes you spend so much time on the train that only dried food can survive. Go to the boiler, fill the container with warm water, wait some minutes and dinner is served! We tried everything, from noodles to instant mashed potatoes, to Russian grechka. Maybe noodles are the best choice, you will find them at a really cheap price in the supermarket. Unfortunately, after a while you will be disgusted by them!
So, other than food, we suggest you to bring the following items on the train:
A fork, a knife and a spoon
A plastic dish
Tissues or toilet paper