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What food to take on the train

Miami, Florida
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What food to take on the train

We are a family of three taking the Beijing - Lhasa train (T27, hard sleeper)). Since it's going to be about 48 hours on that train, and I am concerned about the food. I read several times that the dinning cart is not that good and that there is only boiling water available (by the way, how do you get it?)

I am assuming that there is no microwave available ether. So, what type of food should I take for two days? are there supermarkets around the BJ West Station to buy food before departure? What do locals normally take to the train regarding food?

By the way, is canned food at the supermarkets labeled on Chinese characters only ? (I apologize for my ignorance on this subject..)

Side subject:

Do they have electrical outlets to plug-in a laptop?

Do the 6 people in the cabin share (sit) the two bottom beds during day time? any other option to sit?

Again, sorry for some of these stupid questions...

Sherbrooke, Canada
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1. Re: What food to take on the train

You bring whatever food you think you want to eat. You'd better go to western supermarkets to get food that you are familiar with.

Chinese like instant noodles which is why you have hot water dispensers on train.

Dublin, California
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2. Re: What food to take on the train

There are hot water dispensers on board. Better bring dry foods (crackers, nuts, instant noodles, tea bags), and not bother with items you need to cook (except for the instant noodles). Buy disposable forks and spoons. You may want to buy a couple of cheap thermos or water cups from supermarkets (everyone in China has these) to carry your water.

Manila, Philippines
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for Hong Kong
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3. Re: What food to take on the train

Train food isn't good but it's not THAT terrible either. It's very much edible. I've had worse food in China, probably the worst in my life and train food is at least 5x better than that. For some, it may be even better than airplane food.

I suggest bringing sandwiches like burgers or other bread products which do not need heating. Maybe you can also bring stuff like potato salad (if you can find a store that sells them). Canned goods can be a good alternative, you can "boil" them with the hot water. The train also sell cup/instant noodles. You will still have to buy food aboard the train for your "real meals" though, otherwise you'll go hungry.

There's a section that houses the hot water dispenser. Can't remember if canned goods are bilingual but foreign canned goods like Spam should be bilingual.

There are power outlets but not all of them work. So tough luck if the one near you doesn't work.

People sit at the lowest level bunker but sometimes stay in their bed to talk. There are foldable seats on the walkway but you'll be blocking the already narrow path.

48 hours? That's a pretty long trip. I took a 30 hour hard-sleeper train and that was very long already.

Sherbrooke, Canada
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4. Re: What food to take on the train

Sandwiches and burgers? You can't keep that very long, a few hours at most. Not healthy if you cannot refrigerate.

Dry food is fine and try the train food, less likely to be sick than if you bring sandwiches or burgers.

Dublin, California
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5. Re: What food to take on the train

And definitely not potato salad. You don't want to get food poisoning.

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: What food to take on the train

Don’t know Beijing- Lhasa train and current facilities.

I took Chengdu- Lhasa train in 2006.08. I brought instant coffee, sugar, Kjeldsens for my coffee break. A military meal set and stainless steel mug to carry water and meals.

From Beijing, I suggest you brought some vacuum mutton or beef for your main meals. ‘Yue Sheng Zhai’ is my favorite brand.

In my memory, there are some (2 or 3) electrical outlets in each hard sleeper compartment. However, it fully occupied for cell phone charging. I’ll suggest bring an extension cord.

The Chengdu- Lhasa hard sleeper same as the other regular hard sleeper, i.e. one side with 2x3 tiers berth and the other side has 2x folded pad.

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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7. Re: What food to take on the train

There is very little canned food sold in China so most stuff is likely to be imported eg Tuna, baked beans so labelled in English. If you are still at home, stock up on some instant soup sachets that you drink in a mug with the boiling water. Fruit is available on the platform at some of the stops (Xi'an was one I recall). Nuts are good; bring muesli/granola bars from home if these are popular with your family.

Miami, Florida
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8. Re: What food to take on the train

Great replies! Thank you ALL. Now I have a better picture on what to expect, I see that instant soups, dry nuts, granola bars, instant coffee are the way to go… I’ll stock-up to avoid the supermarket hassle.

Now, a question for my westerners travel partners (not used to Chinese fresh food). Did you have any problems with fresh fruits and vegetables? I know by experience that in Mexico that is a no no… even though they looked GREAT, you are normally advised to stay away from fresh food and stick to cooked food.. What about in China?

Sherbrooke, Canada
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9. Re: What food to take on the train

Never had a problem with fruits and vegetables. Obviously you should wash then before eating.

Vancouver, Canada
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10. Re: What food to take on the train

I’m not encouraged fresh fruits and vegetables if you should wash before eating.

The reasons are;

1. don’t know the cleanness of water tank.

2. waste of water.