Food & drink

Even on the private train, expect classic Russian fare combining (in various forms) boiled potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes, fish and meat. Off the train, be sure to sample some Russian Black Bread (a dense rye bread) with butter. Also try omul (a local fish) at Lake Baikal, which they smoke and serve either hot or cold; and Blini (Russian pancakes, sometimes made from cottage cheese). Sampling vodka is virtually inescapable, and it’s always 40% proof. Be sure to try the local flavours, made from cranberry or pine. For a non-alcoholic tipple, try Kvas (aka ‘Russian cola’), a carbonated, fermented bread-based drink.

In Mongolia, be brave and taste the array of yak milk-derived products, such as aaruul (dried curd), yoghurt and suutei tsai (milky tea).

In China, eschew the very sweet red wine to sample the beer instead – Tsingtao is a decent choice. In Beijing, the signature dish is Peking duck.