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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Flying flavor

Trapped in a narrow tube, strapped in with a bunch of unpredictable characters for a good few hours can make for testy diners. But the limited confines of an aircraft make for an exercise in culinary compromise. Particularly on long flights, few things liven the experience beyond the meals served, and all too often, those meals disappoint. Specially in economy class seats, the food can be so bad that they are the standard butt of jokes. 

AirlineMeals.net invites people to post pictures of their meals and describe the experience. It can be a fascinating site to visit. I should contribute my experience: on a flight from Incheon, Korea to San Francisco, I may have had the most impressive airline meal I've ever had. In Economy class, no less. The airline was Asiana Air, a Korean airline. 
Bo Ssam - airline meal. A multicomponent marvel on a airplane tray.

The airline, in keeping with Korean sentiments, had the chutzpah to serve and pull off bo ssam with the trimmings. Ssam is slow cooked pork belly, served with roasted garlic, rice, and is wrapped in leaves for eating. The paper-like sheets are tofu, flavored and pressed into convenient sheets for wrapping. There are at least four different varieties of leaves in the bowl, from chard to shiso, and each one was impressively cut to almost the same convenient size. The pork, garlic and rice were nicely cooked. Finally, the requisite accompaniments of soybean paste, kimchi, and miso soup, with fresh fruit salad at the end, round out the meal. 
And there was a small manual on the side explaining how to eat it.

When was the last time you saw fresh chile in an airplane meal? 

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