Archive for the 'Airplane Food' Category

Air France

Before boarding my flight to Bangkok on Air France, I prayed to the airline gods that we would be served baguettes and brie cheese. Although my prayer for French food was not answered, the eats on board were above average. The Air France caterers could teach Vietnam Airlines a thing or two about preparing palatable sandwiches.

Our direct flight took slightly over an hour, which was just long enough to reach cruising altitude, scarf down some food and land safely.

On our flight to Bangkok, we were served a cold ham, lettuce, and tomato focaccia sandwich. The bread was lightly smeared with an herb cheese spread that I thought was a nice touch. If the sandwich had been toasted, I would’ve swooned. A container of fruit yogurt and a sticky rice cake were served on the side. Yay on the yogurt, but neigh on the cake.

On our flight back to Saigon, we were served a three-layer cucumber, cheese and pork sandwich on crust-less white bread. I was seriously starving at the time and killed the sandwich in less than three minutes. Who knows if it was actually good? The fruit yogurt made a second appearance on this flight, along with a jellylike red bean number. I was still hungry, so they both disappeared much too quickly to actually taste.

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EVA Airlines

Timezones are crazy. I boarded a flight to Taiwan at LAX on the evening of the fourth and arrived in Saigon on the sixth. January fifth never existed! Crazy, right?

But enough talk about international datelines and whatnot, here’s what I ate on board my flight! Once again, EVA Airlines came through for me with high-fiber meals. However, they weren’t as tasty as those on my flight to the states because two of the three meals originated in LA. Everyone knows Taipei makes better high-fiber meals.

The first leg of my flight took off at 11 PM. Everyone on board was served a fourth meal soon after reaching our cruising altitude. My main entree was a gravy-topped steak, buttered noodles and steamed broccoli and carrots. Sides included a non-whole wheat roll (boo!), an iceberg salad with one cherry tomato and cucumber slices, and pieces of honeydew and cantaloupe. Dessert consisted of two Oreo cookies.

I passed on the steak because meat at midnight is worse than meat in the morning. The noodles were heavily buttered and decent, while the carrots and broccoli were mushy, but edible. I skipped the white bread because it lacked the fiber I had specifically requested. The fruit and veggies were fine; the honeydew and cantaloupe were surprisingly sweet for being out of season. As always, the Oreos did not disappoint.

A couple hours before reaching Taipei, we were served breakfast. I received a plain omelet with sauteed spinach and mushrooms and a roasted tomato. Sides included a mini-croissant, banana and strawberry yogurt and fresh fruit (pineapple and grapefruit).

The omelet would have been much tastier with the vegetables incorporated into it and a little Tabasco sauce. The fruit and yogurt were both fine. The warm and flaky croissant was easily the tastiest part of the meal. EVA Airlines outsources a mean croissant!

The meal served on my flight from Taipei to Saigon was excellent—Taipei really does know how to make tasty high-fiber fare. The main entree was curry chicken with brown rice and steamed celery and carrots. Sides included another white roll (boo!!) and some fresh fruit (guava, orange, grapefruit). For dessert I had three chocolate cookies with dried cranberries.

Everything but the white bread was spot on. The curry had just the right amount of spice and the chicken was very tender. The fruits were excellent and the cookies once again contained an unknown “crunch” factor that really made them delicious (and hopefully fibrous).

Those on board without special dietary needs, were given Russian strawberry ice cream for dessert. The stewardess gave me one too, even though I had already polished off three cookies. I never knew Russia imported ice cream. Can strawberries even grow in Russia? No matter. It was good. And it’s good to be back in Saigon!

EVA Airlines

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Flying back to California on EVA Airlines was a pleasure and the food on board was defintely palatable. The coolest part was that the airline actually took my request for a “high-fiber meal” seriously! Back in September when I booked the flight online, there was a special tab for dietary needs. I scanned the selections and chose high-fiber from the menu thinking that the airline would not likely make special accommodations. I was totally wrong. While everyone on board was munching on refined flours, I was given super-special meals loaded with soluble and insoluble fiber. Neat!

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Lunch: The main course was a flaky white fish topped with tomato sauce served with steamed broccoli, carrots and noodles. Sides included a whole-wheat roll and a salad of sorts consisting of diced ham, celery and carrots. Dessert was an orange gelatin with pieces of fresh watermelon.

The carrots were overcooked, but the broccoli and fish were actually decent. I didn’t touch the noodles because they were a little too dried-out on top. The salad and dessert were ‘eh,’ but the roll was warm and moist.

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Dinner: This meal was my personal favorite! The main course was a little hunk of steak topped with oatmeal (!), a roasted tomato sprinkled with herb bread crumbs, a few asparagus spears and two squares of squash. Sides included another whole-wheat roll, a celery salad with shredded carrots in a light vinaigrette and fresh grapefruit and guava. Dessert consisted of three oatmeal raisin cookies.

I started with the celery salad, which was cool and crisp. Next, I moved onto the roasted tomato, asparagus and squash. All three were surprisingly well-prepared—the asparagus still had a nice snap to them, while the tomatoes and squash were solid. The steak looked a bit gray, so I scraped off the oatmeal and left the meat alone. The fruit was tasty; the guava was especially sweet. Dessert was bomb. Seriously. Lots of raisins and an unknown “crunch” factor that further added to the cookies’ appeal.

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Breakfast: The main course was not breakfast-y at all—turkey meatballs and edamame in a tomato sauce served with noodles. A croissant, banana muffin and “fish cake” with a cherry tomato and slices of red and yellow peppers were served on the side.

I started off with the croissant because I wanted to eat it while it was still hot. It was flaky, buttery and really good! How’d they do that? The banana muffin was cold, but retained its moistness and tasted like classic banana bread. The turkey meatballs were decent, as were the edamame, but I once again steered clear of the noodles. I also didn’t touch the fish cake. Ick. The pepper slices and tomatoes were only okay, but I ate them because they are a good source of fiber. And that’s what I asked for.

Vietnam Airlines

How can a country that produces one of the world’s finest cuisines serve such crap on board their national carrier?

The Astronomer and I took a business trip last week to Da Nang for a staff meeting on board Vietnam Airlines. On the first leg of our flight, we were served a ham and tomato sandwich on a roll. What grossed me out the most was the thick and uneven mayonnaise application. Clearly, the sandwich was not made with love. The Astronomer and I both ate our snack-sized Kit Kat bars and tossed the sandwiches back in the box.

On our flight back to Saigon, we were served another ham sandwich—this one contained cucumber slices and wilted lettuce leaves. Once again, we couldn’t bring ourselves to take a bite. Sadly, there was no chocolate bar to entertain us.

Vietnam Airlines

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Remember the mean things I said about United Airline’s food offerings? Well, I take them all back. I would have eaten their humble cuisine any day over the nastiness served up by Vietnam Airlines on our short flights to and from Da Nang.

From Saigon to Da Nang, the snack box contained a pre-fabbed cha lua sandwich, a package of snack mix, and water. The sandwich was smothered in mayonnaise, which grossed The Astronomer and I out completely. To be fair, the bread was sorta kinda whole-wheat-y, which was a nice touch. The snack mix contained savory Captain Crunch, dehydrated peas, and cashews.

While it’s hard to fathom, the food on our flight home was actually worse. We received a pate sandwich with a slice of cucumber and wilted lettuce leaf on a white bun. The Astronomer thought the pate resembled dog food. Neither of us could bring ourselves to take a bite.

United Airlines 869

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Chicago, July 11, 2007 – Fine dining reaches new heights with the arrival of Chef Charlie Trotter’s appetizers and entrées for United First® and United Business® class customers. Beginning this week, customers can select from individual menu offerings created by one of the world’s most famous chefs and legendary Chicago restaurateur, Charlie Trotter.

Customers can enjoy appetizers such as Citrus-cured Smoked Salmon and Sweet Crab Salad on Fresh Bok Choy. Innovative entrées like Apricot Curry Braised Lamb Medallions, Morel Mushroom Risotto and Herb-rubbed Chicken Breast, and Orange and Ginger Cured Duck Confit can be paired with wines to create memorable in-flight meals.

Regrettably, this airplane food breakthrough did not affect our two international flights from San Francisco to Hong Kong or Hong Kong to Ho Chi Minh City, so The Astronomer and I suffered through ordinary airplane slop. Hopefully we’ll have the opportunity to experience Chef Charlie Trotter’s gourmet mile-high cuisine if we fly United Airlines back to the States next year!

Our best onboard meal was served during the two-hour flight between Hong Kong and Ho Chi Minh City. Simply called Chicken Noodle by our steward, the “pan-fried” treat was hearty and flavorful.

The narliest meal was interestingly also called Chicken Noodle. The chicken bordered on gray, while the thick rice noodles not only adhered to one another, but to the serving tray as well.

Three meals and one bowl of instant-noodles later, we arrived in Ho Chi Minh City. Thank, goodness.