ALL NIPPON AIRWAYS (ANA)
RECOMMENDED DISH Grilled ‘Sangen’ pork on steamed rice
WHAT’S IN IT? Sangen pork, served with carrots, peas, assorted mushrooms, and an egg
WHY WE LOVE IT I mean, just look at the picture. ANA’s dish is full of colour and life. We all know that the Japanese take great pride in creating kawaii (cute) consumer products, and food on ANA economy is no different. The Sangen pork is amazingly tender, and we love the look of that rich, glistening orange egg yolk. Very Japanese indeed!
NOTE ANA will be offering new meals in economy from December. Travellers can look forward to chicken leg and minced meat in yakitori soy sauce on rice, and cheese hamburger steak with rice.
MALAYSIA AIRLINES (MAS)
RECOMMENDED DISH Grilled lamb chops
WHAT’S IN IT? Lamb chops with sautéed new potatoes, and chopped vegetables
WHY WE LOVE IT As the old saying goes… “you get what you pay for”. Well, that’s certainly true here. By adding RM70 (US$22) to your basic economy class fare, you can upgrade to a more premium meal. And boy, is it worth it! Malaysia Airlines’ grilled tender lamb chops are virtually unheard of in economy. After that, who still wants fish or chicken. Anybody? Huh? Just remember, the cheese stands alone…
NOTE Other paid premium meals available on MAS’ economy include braised beef cheeks, chicken cordon bleu, skewers of prawn piccata, glazed cod teriyaki or beef rendang.
ASIANA AIRLINES (ASA)
RECOMMENDED DISH Bibimbap
WHAT’S IN IT? Bibimbap is a signature Korean dish. The word literally means "mixed rice". Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul (seasonal vegetable) and gochujang (red chilli and fermented soy bean paste), soy sauce, or doenjang (thick bean paste). A raw or fried egg and sliced meat are common additions.
WHY WE LOVE IT To those of you not from the Asia-Pacific, bibimbap will probably neither mean anything to you, nor be love at first sight. The dish tends to look rather messy by virtue of having been mushed together, but it tastes just that much better for it, like true comfort food. Besides, on a 10+ hour flight you’ll certainly find the time to mix up a few ingredients.
NOTE Asiana also does really good ‘bulgogi ssambaps’ – marinated and flash fried beef wrapped in a variety of leafy vegetables.
SINGAPORE AIRLINES (SIA)
RECOMMENDED DISH Stir fried shrimp with Chinese noodles and assorted vegetables
WHAT’S IN IT Shrimp served with e-fu noodles, asparagus, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and carrots
WHY WE LOVE IT This dish is a perfect balance of luxury and simplicity. The generous serving of king prawns is the highlight but let’s not forget the ever popular e-fu noodles that are deliciously sinful. Meanwhile, the mix of Asian and western vegetables brings colour and is highly representative of Singapore’s multiculturalism.
NOTE Why are e-fu noodles super sinful? Well, this quintessential Chinese dish has been identified by a number of studies as one of the most fattening. The reason is the way the noodles are made: they contain egg and flour, and the process involves soda water so that they become spongy. When cooked, the noodles absorb most of the sauce, which contains a lot of oil.
To learn more, check out the "Tidbits A-Z of Asian cuisine" article in the brand new September 2014 issue of Business Traveller Asia-Pacific (see here). To subscribe, click here.
CATHAY PACIFIC (CX)
RECOMMENDED DISH Chicken Parmigiana with toasted pine nuts
WHAT’S IN IT? Chicken topped with Parmesan cheese, pine nuts coriander and served with tomato sauce penne
WHY WE LOVE IT We admit to being cheese lovers and there is nothing better than indulging ourselves in some good quality Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan). The toasted pine nuts and coriander are a nice added touch to the dish, and provide a lot more flavour.
NOTE Other popular and highly recommended economy class dishes by CX include sweet and sour fish with steamed jasmine rice, and braised minced pork with eggplant in mild chilli sauce on steamed jasmine rice.
AIR NEW ZEALAND (ANZ)
RECOMMENDED DISH Chicken and wedges
WHAT’S IN IT? Coq au vin style chicken with mushrooms and bacon, potato wedges and green beans
WHY WE LOVE IT This dish wins us over as the coq au vin style chicken has been slowly cooked in the oven, leading to extremely tender meat, whose flavour is intensified thanks to the excellent red wine reduction. Serve this alongside potato wedges and green beans, and you’ll be all set for any long flight!
NOTE It’s not only the lunch and dinner services on ANZ that are outstanding. Breakfast is a joy at 33,000ft especially when you are able to enjoy quality dishes such as “scrambled eggs with grilled chicken sausages”, and a continental breakfast selection that includes “fresh yoghurt, Anchor blue light milk, orange juice, best breakfast all natural cereal and fruit selection”.
Dominic Sebastian Lalk & Clement Huang