Dining on Singapore Airlines

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Sawatdee Khrap from Bangkok.

I arrived 2 days ago after a marathon 36 hour journey from New York.

IMG_4665My home for most of that time.

Why, you may ask, did it take 36 hours to get to Bangkok when usually it takes around 20 or so?  Well I wanted to travel the much touted Singapore Airlines so badly and the only way I could do it was on miles. The only routing I could get with miles was: San Francisco, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok and on the return, Bangkok, Singapore, Moscow, Houston.  I flew to SFO from JFK on American Airlines (which was surprisingly great), also on an award ticket and am not sure how I will get home from Houston as I still haven’t bought a ticket. I’m on the wait list to fly back directly into JFK and I am hoping, fingers crossed that I actually will be able to get on that flight.

For those of you who are not huge airline nerds like myself, Singapore Airlines has a reputation for having some of the best premium cabins in the skies, with particularly good service and food.  My favorite aspect of their catering is a service they offer called: book the cook, where by after you have booked a ticket you can choose from any number of dozens of dishes, ranging from strip steak to Nasi Goreng to Lobster Thermidor to any number of traditional Singaporean, Thai and Malaysian dishes.  It’s over whelming.  And really some of the best food I’ve ever had on a plane, certainly some of the nicest presentation.

To wash the meal down there was an extensive drink list which included: Tattinger Prelude Grand Crus Champagne. Oh and a selection of  15 different types of tea!

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IMG_4669Chicken and Pistachio Pâté, Apricot Compote, Bread Selection.

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Strip Steak au Jus, Roasted Potatoes, Asparagus and Carrots.  The vegetables were crunchy and delicious, and the steak, something hard to make just right on the ground, was actually served medium rare!

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And Crème brûlée for dessert. It was kind of pasty with no caramel crunch.  I think just a plain old pudding would have worked better, or dark chocolate pot de creme sprinkled with shards of praline – which would give you both the creamy custard and the crunchy toffee.  Still it was pretty.  And given it was 3:30 in the morning my time it really didn’t matter!

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When I woke after sleeping for about 7 hours the flight attendant asked me: Mr Owen would like a little snack?  She suggested the melted cheese and chicken croissant.  It was good, but I wish I had looked at the menu as a nice bowl of Asian noodle soup was also on offer.

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My journey included two breakfasts – on approach to Hong Kong and then taking off from Hong Kong.  Each one began with a nicely presented fruit plate.

IMG_4699Seeing as how I had been so western so far in my food choices for breakfast I had dim sum. It was great, but really needed soy sauce which was not on offer.  I was kind of put off by the sweet “duck sauce” as it seemed kind of like a gesture to Western palates. I wanted soy sauce and hot sauce!  Nonetheless it was great.

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IMG_4689Then I think this was for lunch just before landing in Singapore, because, you know, you need two meals on a 4 hours flight 😉

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On my final leg from Singapore to Bangkok I had booked the cook to try the dish everyone who writes trip reports on there journey’s talks about: Lobster Thermidor. 

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It was really creamy and a little too rich for me, the lobster was plentiful but overcooked the highlight was the perfectly roasted tomato which added much needed contrast to the dish.  Still I give them full credit for offering it, I think it’s nearly impossible to serve re heated lobster and be able to maintain it’s delicate sweetness and texture.  I think a lobster roll served with chilled lobster and hot drawn butter a little bit of old bay seasoning but be a more successful dish…this meal was served with a “salad” which also included seared tuna, a shrimp and crusted scallop.

IMG_4710And of course dessert – a chocolate layer cake which was tasty but the best part about it were the perfectly ripe and intensely flavored raspberries.

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Finally just to show you the detail and over -the-top nature of Singapore Airlines catering, below is the menu for the 2 hour flight which I had the above meal on,.  2 hours, yes you read that correctly.  On a two hour flight in the US you’d be lucky to get pretzels and water!

IMG_4704Some of the most ambitious and successful airline catering I have ever come across.  If you have a chance to fly Singapore Airlines you should take it – just be sure to board the plane with an empty stomach.

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note: urbanfoodguy@gmail.com
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One Response to Dining on Singapore Airlines

  1. cbcreates says:

    Holy Moly. What a fabulous flying feast. I’d encamp there fir a week to sit in those seats and eat that wonderful fare. I look forward to congee in the mornings on Asian airlines. My favorite breakfast. Maybe they’ll have on the return!

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