12 Delightful Must try dishes on The
Trans Mongolian Railway
Following the Trans Mongolian Railway all the way to Beijing remains a dream for many travelers. Being attracted by the endless forests and stunning landscapes of Mongolias magnificent Steppe, this journey is one of the most desirable Bucket List objects. This year we made the legendary train journey towards East. Our main focus was food discovery between Russia and Mongolia. Here are 12 delightful must try local dishes that you encounter en route.
And Here are the 12 dishes
No journey through freezing Russia would be complete without a hot bowl of Solyanka. Warming you up within an instant, this queen of soups is certainly a great energy booster, that will fill you up for a long while. Whether based on meat, fish or mushrooms, Solyanka will be tickling your taste buds and gives you the savoriness that you crave on a cold winters day. Iryna from LavenderandMacarons has put up a great recipe of Solyanka on her webiste.
Another classic that you will probably discover on your eastern food safari is Salad Olivier! The simplicity of this rustic traditional new years salad can not be beaten. Drenched in Mayonnaise and topped with freshly chopped dill, humble veggies like potatoes and carrots dress up like rockstars for a day. Keep your eyes open! Salad Olivier is everywhere, especially on the trains being eaten by locals. Also check out the old Soviet style canteens as Salad Olivier is part of almost every menu.
No journey through Russia is complete without a plate of Pelmenis, especially if you are travelling for food. Whether served in a clear hot broth or with simply plated with sour cream, deliciousness of Russias elegant meat filled Dumpling can not be denied. So make sure you do not miss out on that one. Arriving back home from your Trans Mongolian adventure without having eaten at least one plate of Pelmeni, can certainly be considered as a foodies faux pas. This is Russia on a plate, go for it! Here is a fantastic Pelmeni recipe from Vakalinka.com
Another classic you will encounter on Trans Mongolian Route: Plov or Pilaf. The ancient rice dish of Central Asia has a long tradition and made its way around the globe. Slowly simmering away in a delicious broth, this flavorful and lavishly spiced up rice dish can be considered as the Paella of the East. A good Plov is a juicy Plov and thats what you get served in most of the street stalls in Eastern Siberia and around Lake Baikal. The rice gets cooked in a lamb broth, mostly containing pieces of lamb and various vegetables such as onions and carrots. If you don’t like eating food from the street stalls you can find a more sophisticated version of Plov in modern Cafes and Canteens. Here is mouthwatering Plov recipe from Natashas Kitchen.
Also known as Baikal Omul this famous sub species of salmon attracts countless Tourists to the village of Listvyanka on Baikal’s lake shore each year. Being regarded as delicacy amongst locals, this mascot of Lake Baikal is preferably enjoyed freshly smoked or steamed. The steamed version of Omul is equally tasty and best eaten with a piece of Nan bread often comes for free with the fish onListvyanka’s daily local market . If you are a foodie you have to make the journey to Lake Baikal to convince yourself. Yes, I meant it! You should go there for that fish!
Although tea can not be considered as a dish, it would be ignorant not listing the delicious black gold, that nobody can avoid on the train rides towards east. An impressively designed Samovar is actually never really far and you will find it at the end of every train compartment. Drinking black tea is a ritual amongst locals and a bag of cookies is never really far. Teatime is your best chance to make new friends! Offering sweets to locals can be a great opener along the journey and often you end up with an invitation to a local home.
Borscht! It’s barely getting any more traditional than this. The famous soup which is well known for its bright red color, definitely deserves your attention. While absorbing its beautiful red color from fresh beets, Borscht’s main flavor is rooted in the beef stock and roasted vegetables. While Ukrainians claiming Borscht to be their national dish, in Russia nobody really seems to bother about its origin. The soup does have a deep tradition in the country and hardly any other dish represents Russias food culture more then a home cooked bowl of Borscht. Just like sister Solyanka, this dish will warm you up on cold days. Try our Borscht recipe made by Anna from Ulan Ude, Russia.
As your travels lead you towards Eastern Siberia you will notice a slight change of your beloved Pelmeni. When the Dumplings suddenly triple in size, you can tell that Mongolia is not far. In Eastern Siberia along Lake Baikal, Pelmeni’s big brother Buuz is taking over the Restaurants. But don’t panic! They are equally mind blowing in their taste. Being filled with beef and mainly served with soy sauce or Mayonnaise, the Buryatian/ Mongolian Dumpling is a tasty culinary welcome to Asia. It is the dish of the nomads. Make sure that you suck out all the delicious broth out of the Buuz when first biting into these dlicious fellas. You will get used to the mess quickly and improve the more Buuz you eat. Check out our Buuz recipe from Ulan Ude here!
After all the savoriness here is something for the desert lovers. When you visit one of Russia’s many beautiful Cafes, ask for Syrniki. It is the desert that you should not dare missing out when traveling through Russia.These tiny fluffy and extremely tasty pancakes are based on quark, sugar, eggs and will be your best friend for teatime. The name of this awesome desert derives from the Russian word syr, meaning Cheese, since cottage cheese it is the main ingredient of those incredibly yummy sweeties. Syrnikis is usually served with a Strawberry Varenye which is the perfect accompaniment for this desert. On CookingTheGlobe you can follow Igor’s awesome Syrniki recipe.
During your Ger stays with the nomadic families, Tsuivan will be offered to you almost every day at lunch time. Tsuivan are basically fried noodles with mutton and vegetables. The dish is super easy to make and delivers quick energy for you walks in the cold. During our home stay in a traditional Ger we have learned how to make Tsuivan as well. Here is a Tsuivan recipe for you from Lisa Gershenson’s awesome website Cooksgazette.
These word famous delicously seasoned meat skewers are an extremely popular street snack in Russia and all over Central Asia. Shashlik is widely spreaded in cities along the Trans Mongolian Route. Mostly consisting of big chunks of lamb, these lovable skewers are slowly char grilled until perfectly tender. Served with a piece of bread and topped with raw onions, this street food classic will make rustic foodies truly happy. Here is an amazing Recipe by Russ from The Domestic Man.
Medovik- Russian Honey Cake
Yes, again a sweety! But this is not just an ordinary piece of cake! The layered honey cake is Russians baker’s pride and be considered as the most popular cake in the country. So if you are a desert lover, then there is no way around Medovik. Not trying this divine masterpiece is like you have never been to Russia. We tried it in Irkutsk at Rassolnik. Now get yourself to the next Cafe and indulge yourself with this heavenly sent piece of cake. Here is a beautiful recipe of Medovik on Natasha’s Kitchen.
Let us know what dishes you loved on the
Trans Mongolian Railway!
We would love to hear from you.