Dine at flying restaurant called AirAsia

(THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - AirAsia likes to tag its selection of meals served on-board as its "restaurant in the sky". I must say that the dishes it serves certainly give its full-service competitors more than a run for their money. I, for one, can't resist its nasi lemak.

Its in-flight food menu with hot meals is called Santan (Malay for coconut milk), a name most Malaysians can connect with.

It has created special dishes to serve certain regional sectors - with those dishes being some of the most popular and favoured in that region.

Said AirAsia group chief executive officer Tony Fernandes at the launch of Santan back in May: "Food is a great unifying factor across the region. We are bringing the wonderful flavours of Asean into Santan to create a unique food experience, with the vision of replicating the on-ground gourmet experience on board.

"The flavour profile and in-flight food prices have always been a challenge but we believe that, with Santan, we can create the first restaurant brand in the sky that spells both tasty and affordable."

Tan Sri Fernandes also came up with Santan as the name of the menu.

It took one year to create all the dishes for Santan, which offers 90 different meals across the AirAsia network.

As it's also Asean's 50th anniversary, Star2 takes a look at some of these dishes.

But let's start with the two most popular in Malaysia.

Note: AirAsia's flight codes for specific sectors are in brackets.

Malaysia (served on AK flights)

Pak Nasser's nasi lemak - Known as Malaysia's national dish, the traditional fragrant coconut rice dish is served with Pak Nasser's chilli sambal and chicken rendang, complemented with fried anchovies, crunchy groundnuts and half a hard-boiled egg.

Pak Nasser's nasi lemak. PHOTO: AIRASIA

Chicken vindaloo biryani - This popular Indian curry that's savoury, tangy and spicy is perfectly paired with fluffy biryani that is loaded with spices, herbs and vegetables. It's a tantalising meal.

Chicken vindaloo biryani. PHOTO: AIRASIA

Thailand (FD flights)

ML Noi's basil fried chicken on rice - From ML Noi's royal kitchen comes this authentic Thai rice dish, with stir-fried spicy chicken and fresh basil leaves to give it that signature robust flavour.

(FD & XJ flights)

Thai green curry with rice - This aromatic Thai green curry chicken is infused with authentic Thai spices and ingredients, promising a mouth-watering experience, especially when served with fluffy, fragrant, white rice.

Thai green curry with rice. PHOTO: AIRASIA

Indonesia (QZ flights)

Nasi padang - This popular Indonesian meal consists of white rice, beef rendang, stir-fried cassava leaves, ikan bilis balado, green sambal and tasty prawn crackers.

Nasi kuning manado - A popular dish from Sulawesi served with smoked cakalang (skip jack tuna), egg balado, fried sweet potato, potato soya with beef and chilli sambal.

Nasi kuning manado. PHOTO: AIRASIA

Philippines (Z2 flights)

Chicken adobo ala Mariles - the Philippine's favourite cuisine marries chicken, vinegar, soya sauce, bay leaves and peppercorn for an unforgettable gastronomic experience.

Chicken adobo. PHOTO: AIRASIA

International meals

Chicken lasagna - Savour this classic, heart-warming dish that's a staple on all flights. Layers of juicy chicken in tomato sauce, cream sauce, pasta and shredded cheese are baked to perfection, and served with vegetables. Makes a gratifying meal.

Are any of your personal favourites on this list?

At the moment, there are no specific regional meals for flights to Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. But you never know when that might change. Check out the menu next time you're onboard and wait for your nose to twitch with delight.

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