I am considering taking the Trans-Siberian railway. London to Moscow followed by Moscow to Beijing. I have made many long rail trips in the past so comfort, boredom, etc is not an issue. However, on this route, diet is. I don't expect many, or even any, vegan or vegetarian options on board. So, I need some survival food.

I am not so concerned about the health of the diet. I eat very healthily most of the time. A couple of weeks on a poor diet won't kill me. Anyway, I hope that I will be able to get the occasional piece of fruit. So, what I mainly need is some energy top ups for when I can get no suitable food for an entire day. So, the requirements are:

Energy dense - I don't want to carry too much.

No need for refrigeration.

Can survive rough handling.

  • Note that some routes do offer vegetarian options, see e.g. here and here. Of course that will mean it will likely contain both dairy and eggs. Check the availability beforehand on the route of your choice.
    – undercat
    Aug 22, 2019 at 13:38
  • 1
    Also, I feel the premise of the question is somewhat unreasonable. You say that you don't want to carry much, but that's what most people do on long-distance Russian trains: they bring a huge bag of food, stick it into the luggage compartment under their couchette and live off that stash for the most part of the trip, perhaps only buying some more food during train stops from local sellers. Moscow offers plenty of non-perishable vegan options you could bring along in a "food bag". Such bag won't inconvenience you in any way during the trip. If you like, I can expand on that.
    – undercat
    Aug 22, 2019 at 14:37
  • @undercat Thanks. I have conflicting wishes: to remain vegan; to blend in. These frequently clash and I feared it here. I'll probably adapt my strategy. I'll take some of these "complete foods" as an insurance policy but try your suggestion as the primary solution.
    – badjohn
    Aug 23, 2019 at 16:44
  • Another suggestion I'd like to give is to travel during (or shortly after) the "Great Lent" period ("post") which is an extended religious period of fasting from March to April. Most animal-based produce is prohibited with the exception of fish(on specially designated days) and honey, and you will find it easier to buy proper veggie meals. RZD, the railway company, will offer special "post" meals which will likely suit your vegan needs.
    – undercat
    Aug 23, 2019 at 17:32
  • Generally, the Russian cuisine has plenty of vegan dishes. If anything, it's the protein intake that may become an issue in your journey, and while cooked canned beans are available ubiquitously throughout the country, something like dried soy meat, let alone tempeh, are only sold in the major cities. Personally, I just take noodles along with dried soy meat along with me when I'm on a train, but I've never ridden the Transsiberian railway.
    – undercat
    Aug 23, 2019 at 17:59

2 Answers 2


Most complete food products are vegan.

"Complete" refers to the nutrients: these products are nutritionally-complete, i.e., they contain all nutrients humans need (based on recommendations from health/nutrition organizations).

They usually come in powder form (you only need to add water), but some also come in bottles (ready to drink) or as bars.

For powder products, the typical preparation takes maybe 3 minutes:

  1. Fill as much powder as you want (= how many calories you want to eat) into a shaker.
  2. Fill the shaker with the recommended amount of water.
  3. Shake it.
  4. Drink it.

Advantages in your case

  • You only need water (and a way to clean the shaker), you are not reliant on anything else.

  • There probably isn’t any other nutritionally adequate food that takes less space / weighs less.

  • The products typically don’t need to get refrigerated, and the minimum shelf life of unopened packs is usually at least several months.

  • Unopened powder packages should survive rough handling (some products have backpackers, among others, as target market).

  • Many ship world-wide, so you could even get a ration shipped to a trusted location on the itinerary.


(attention: some of them also offer vegetarian products in addition to the vegan ones)

  • Ambronite from Finland

  • Bertrand from Germany

    • it’s (as far as I know) the only one that contains only certified organic ingredients, so the B12 (from algae) is not necessarily bio-available
    • it’s (as far as I know) the only drink that contains chewable parts (nuts)
  • Huel from UK

  • Jake from Netherlands

  • Jimmy Joy from Netherlands

    • formerly Joylent
  • Mana from Czech

  • Queal from Netherlands

  • Saturo from Austria

  • Soylent from USA

  • Thanks. I had considered bars but choosing the better ones is a challenge I had not thought of powders; I tend to regard those as weird things that I see in the gym. However, they make sense here. Soylent as a vegan product - ha ha We had that question on whether consenting cannibalism is vegan.
    – badjohn
    Apr 15, 2019 at 8:24

Couscous and peanut butter are the most energy-dense vegan foods by both weight & volume that don't require cooking (excepting sugar, which is more energy dense but doesn't satisfy hunger).

Consider the following items:

  1. Couscous
  2. Bread (or tortillas = more dense)
  3. Peanut Butter
  4. Nuts/seeds
  5. dried fruit
  6. Spices (easiest are bullion cubes or the just-add-water soups)
  7. Ramen Noodles (can be eaten raw)

If you can get the staff to fill your thermos with boiling water on the train (free on most trains I've ridden), then you can pack a small steel or titanium trekking pot and just add the boiling water to make:

  1. "Quick-Cut" Oats
  2. Rice Vermicelli
  3. Parboiled Rice
  4. Dried Seaweed & Mushrooms
  5. (Dehydrated) miso soup packets/soy sauce
  6. dehydrated veggies (usually sold by the kilo for soups inc onion, tomatoes, peas, peppers, celery, green beans, parsley, etc)

And if you want fresh food, then you can sprout lentils by soaking them in an old peanut butter jar for 24-hours, draining & rinsing them in the bathroom sink, then letting them sprout in a sprouting bag.

If you have a knife (but I also recommend one of those small "cheese" graters--the size of your thumb), then you can also just cut these up and eat them with your more energy-dense foods above, but they are not energy dense themselves (just for flavor and nutrition). These items are durable and usually last days or weeks without refrigeration. All of them can be eaten raw.

Carrots, Cabbage, Radish, Onions, Lemons, Garlic, Ginger, Chilies, Olive Oil, etc

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