On most long-distance trains there will be a restaurant carriage serving freshly cooked local dishes and a variety of hot and cold drinks. Opening times will change during your journey as you change time zones so make sure you keep a note of them throughout your journey.
When you cross into a new country the restaurant carriage will be changed to match the country, so the style of food and staff will change. It's important to note, so will the currency! Restaurant carriages will only accept local currenncy. This can be tricky on Mongolian restaurant carriages as Mongolian currency can only be obtained in Mongolia. If you are not stopping on your journey in Mongolia, you'll need to make sure you have packed enough food to see you through that portion of the journey.
Price and availability can vary so we would still always recommend bringing a good supply of your own food. Because there is always a samovar with hot water available we would recommend bringing lots of instant noodles and soups, dried fruits, granola bars and other foods to see you through the journey.
Traditionally, Russian trains have operated on Moscow time within Russia, however, journeys from 1st August, which can be purchased from 4th May, will be moving to local time so the restaurant carriage time will be adjusted to local time. You'll be able to find opening hours in the restaurant carriage and can always ask the provodnista for help.
On some trains, there will also be snack trolleys wheeled through the train at regular intervals. If there's no snack trolleys you can often purchase snacks and drinks from the provodnista cabin.
Each carriage will have a samovar for hot water so you can take tea, coffee, instant noodles and soups. You can pack them in advance or buy them along the way, they're available at most stations or supermarkets near the larger stations.
Station shops won't open 24/7 so be sure to stock up on supplies during daytime stops.
One of the more interesting places to shop, especially at smaller stops, is with local traders who sell local produce from the train platform or through the window of each carriage. The goods in sale will be varied so should be seen as a bonus.
It's also necesarry to pack your own cutlery and travel mug.