Train food India

Train Food Options in India: Beyond IRCTC

An interesting part of any overnight journey by Indian Railways involves a very important aspect – food. While many of us prefer to carry our own home-cooked food, some might want to try their luck with railway food. A wide variety of train food options are available in the Indian trains and stations. Let us take a quick look at the food options available to us while we travel by train in India

IRCTC railway catering 

This is still the most favorite option of most travelers. In fact, many think of this as the only option at hand. IRCTC provides breakfast, lunch, evening snacks and dinner at proper intervals. The items need to be ordered beforehand via IRCTC representatives. Beware of fraudulent cases, where street vendors pose as IRCTC representatives, and sell overpriced or low quality food. The food options available are bread, butter, omlet or idli-vada for breakfast; veg and non-veg thalis for lunch and dinner; pooris, pakora along with tea or coffee as evening snacks.

Online Food Delivery Apps

This trend is becoming popular among the young travelers armed with smartphones. They order their food via online apps like TravelKhana, RailYatri, KhanaGaDi etc. The options are much more varied than the in-house railway catering, and one can order almost any national or local delicacy using these apps. The only flip-side of these apps is in case of a delay in the arrival to a particular station, the delivery might not happen as expected.


Earlier, we used to depend solely on the vendors  for train food, especially for short commutes. The frequency of vendors in reserved compartments have decreased a lot in the past few years. While most vendor food is tasty, the safety and health aspect is largely compromised in this choice. Vendors are still hugely popular in local trains, specially the snacks options like jhalmuri and samosa, that somewhat alleviate the pains of a long train journey.

Railway station stalls or restaurants 

If you have ample time while boarding your train, you can sit and dine at one of the station restaurants. They are usually clean and air-conditioned, and provide better ambiance and offerings than trains. Some of our traveler friends also use this option for quick snacks during station halts, since food stalls at stations provide better quality food than vendors on train. However it should be exercised with caution, and unless you are absolutely sure about the departure timings we do not recommend you to follow this practice.

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About Anandita Dasgupta

Anandita is a techie, an adventurer and a closet romantic. She eats to survive and backpacks around the world for nourishment.
Her practical worldview is reflected in her crisp and relatable writing style. She writes on a wide range of topics, but her core areas of interest are travel, career and culture!

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