From warming soups to unique fish dishes, experiencing traditional Russian food should be a highlight of any journey across Siberia. For passengers aboard the Golden Eagle, a luxury journey demands culinary excellence paying tribute to this cuisine. As such, gastronomy is an intrinsic part of our rail cruises. On the Trans-Siberian Express, our Executive Chef takes pride in offering delicious food that reflects the essence of the regions we travel through. Meals on board are skilfully crafted from scratch, with fresh ingredients locally sourced wherever possible. Here are just some of the culinary delights you can find on the menu.
Authentic beetroot and vegetable soup served in an earthenware pot with a shot of Piertzovka (chilli vodka).
Of course, the distinctive red colour of the soup comes from the main ingredient – beetroot. Combining this with a range of vegetables brings a sweet and sour taste and with a dollop of sour cream and a slice of freshly baked bread, this dish is perfection. The soup is delectable with or without meat. We use beef in this recipe, although as with all food on board, a vegetarian alternative is available.
2. Herring in a fur coat
Our chef’s take on the traditional Russian salad of herring, beetroot, carrots, onion and potatoes.
The origin of this dish is disputed, as many argue that the Russians have merely adapted a long-standing Scandinavian recipe combining salted fish with boiled vegetables. Still, the legend goes that the version we know today was created in the early 1900s by a Russian innkeeper called Anastas Bogomilov. Tired of drunken fights, he created a food that was very filling and prevented guests from becoming intoxicated too quickly. Nowadays, the dish is popular at parties, particularly at New Year’s.
3. Olivier Salad
Original recipe from Lucien Olivier of the 19th century. Roasted duck meat, gherkins, boiled veal tongue, quail eggs, capers and homemade mayonnaise.
Another traditional Russian salad created in the 1860s by Lucien Olivier, after which the dish is named. Olivier was head chef at one of Moscow’s most famous restaurants, Hermitage. Although now published, the recipe remained a secret for many years, much to the envy of other local chefs. Unfortunately, Hermitage did not survive the Russian Revolution but the original recipe for Olivier Salad, along with several variations, lives on.
4. Chicken Kiev
Stuffed chicken coated with seasoned flour, made to a traditional Russian recipe.
The name ‘Kiev’ suggests that it is Ukrainian but the origins of this classic dish are somewhat of a mystery. Some contest that it was created by Russian chefs inspired by French cuisine in the 19th century. Apparently, it originally carried a French name to make it fashionable to diners in Moscow. The reason for the change is disputed, with some suggesting that the anti-bourgeoisie feeling in the Soviet Union called for food to adopt simpler, more accessible names, while others argue that the name ‘chicken Kiev’ was created in New York as a way of enticing Russian immigrants to local restaurants.
5. Smoked omul
A Baikal delicacy, this fish is hot smoked over the barbecue ashes.
A consistent highlight for passengers on the Trans-Siberian Express is our Lake Baikal barbecue. Prepared by our own chefs, guests enjoy meat and vegetable shashlyk as well as freshly smoked omul fish. What makes this fish so special is that it is unique to Lake Baikal – like 80% of the species living here, omul cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Food enjoyed on board is often a highlight of the Golden Eagle experience and a particular delight our flagship train is our beautifully appointed restaurant car, a delightful venue in which to enjoy these delicious meals. You can read more about dining on board the Golden Eagle by clicking here.