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On Russian long-distance trains that include restaurant cars, should I in 2019 expect that I can buy full vegetarian dishes there? On those pictures of a 2015 menu on the Trans Siberian Express linked by this answer, it seems that virtually every dish contains meat or fish. Should I expect difficulties as an ovo-lacto-vegetarian (but not vegan)?

I will be travelling in classes 2К and 2Т on trains 024Й, 042В, 041М, and 009Щ, where the trains do appear to have some 10 minute+ stops to stock up on food (and water) off-train if food on the train is too limited, assuming such is available on the platform.

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    Vodka is vegetarian :) – Harper Aug 17 at 19:01
  • I have fairly much assumed that vegetarian dishes would be unavailable which led me to ask this question: vegetarianism.stackexchange.com/questions/1864/…. – badjohn Aug 18 at 21:48
  • @badjohn Thanks a lot for the link. I'm going to use this as an opportunity to finally try one of those complete food products! – gerrit Aug 18 at 22:36
  • They don't appeal to me much. I wouldn't use them if more normal food was available. However, they seem to fulfil this requirement. – badjohn Aug 19 at 4:35
  • Of course down-voting is allowed, but I would appreciate if some of the four down-voters could comment on how they think the question can be improved, made clearer, made more useful, etc. – gerrit Aug 19 at 12:42
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No, you definitely cannot count on having vegetarian meals on long-distance trains in Russia. In fact even the menu is misleading, as quite commonly only a very limited selection of dishes are actually available on any given train.

Beware that fresh/hot food selections at stations are also quite limited, and vegetarian options even more so. (They've cracked down on unlicensed sellers, they need to rent stalls now and this has cut down on the selection a lot.) Vegetarianism in general is poorly understood in Russia, and even notionally vegetarian Russian staples like piroshki cabbage pastries may contain lard.

You're not going to starve, because you can always buy vegetarian packaged snacks (potato chip, peanuts, etc), but I would strongly encourage you to bring along enough staples to last you until your next stop. Hot water for noodles, porridge etc is always available.

You may find my little review of food options on the Trans-Siberian last year useful: https://driftingclouds.net/2018/07/04/from-siberia-to-tibet-life-on-a-train/

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@jpatokal is right, "you definitely cannot count on having vegetarian meals on long-distance trains in Russia" (as well as on a menu).

However, there might be something in a restaurant car as, e.g., a salad suitable for a vegetarian. In fact, I traveled with a vegetarian girl this July on 056Ы, and she was quite happy with salads from a restaurant car and vegetarian snacks we bought on train stations.

There are classes where you can preorder food (full board, half board (breakfast, dinner), only breakfast or lunch or dinner, with a choice from the menu -- unfortunately, I cannot find this info in English). Breakfast is usually a porridge (kasha); however, I don't know whether you are OK with milk or not. Here a passenger provides a review on food options on the Trans-Siberian in 2018 when you preorder food online (the review is in Russian but full of pictures).

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    I can have milk, eggs, honey, etc. I'm vegetarian and one rule of thumb is that I don't eat what I wouldn't feel comfortable "harvesting" ;-) – gerrit Aug 17 at 10:57
  • Does preordering food make any difference for a vegetarian? Can one order food with special dietary restrictions? – gerrit Aug 17 at 11:27
  • The picture in your preorder food link actually does show a picture of vegan food. – gerrit Aug 17 at 11:52
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    Interesting! I couldn't readily find out how to preorder food, so I've asked a new question. – gerrit Aug 17 at 15:55
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    I found out how to preorder food that I already paid for and tried: the choices were "rice with chicken" and "pasta with meat". Maybe I should have bought the ticket that did not include meals... – gerrit Aug 17 at 21:22
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I strongly recommend to bring along food. Train restaurant car's dishes are not popular. It's not the same as meal in planes.

  • Is this general advice or specific to Russian trains? – Bernhard Döbler Aug 19 at 9:32
  • I suppose it's specific to Russian trains. On trains in the US and Canada (Amtrak and Via Rail), the meals in the restaurant cars on the long distance trains are excellent. In Sweden, UK, Germany, France, Spain it's mediocre to intermediate, certainly better than on planes where it ranges from poor (most airlines I've flown) to outright disgusting (British Airways). – gerrit Aug 19 at 12:43
  • Yes, defenitely in Russian trains and in Kazakhstan trains. – VDR Aug 20 at 8:59

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