I’ll be heading to Singapore and Hong Kong next week, traveling in first and business class on Singapore Airlines for the first time. Now, this is not meant to be a post asking for everyone to help me plan my trip. I can do that quite well (but suggestions are always welcome). No, instead I need your advice with something far, far more important.
Singapore Airlines offers a service called “Book the Cook” whereby you can pre-order certain meals that are prepared specifically for you. This means you’ll get that meal and won’t have to select something off the in-flight menu. There’s something nice about the thought that I will have more control over the meal I eat in the air, plus it just sounds fun. Megan is going with me, and there are multiple meals on our long flights, so I think we will have plenty of variety. And I’ll probably dress up like this guy because I just love a snazzy tie and vest. Let’s hope they have the Wall Street Journal onboard instead of Financial Times.
My dilemma is that, foodie though I am, I have a hard time choosing among the dishes on offer. Some I’ve never even heard of, and others I recognize but haven’t tried. Usually I try not to eat things when dining out that I could make at home unless they are truly exceptional. That means options like the ribeye steak with potatoes and vegetables are out. I can make a mean steak au poivre with a brandied cream sauce. While Singapore surely does a great job, I’m uncertain their in-flight cuisine is that much better.
But evaluating new and interesting menu options is a challenge, so I’m asking you to help out. Even if you haven’t had these meals on Singapore Airlines, you might have a better idea of the local cuisine, as our previous exposure to Asian cuisine is entirely what is served in American restaurants (albeit those in quality destinations like Seattle, Vancouver, and San Francisco).
Right now one of my leading options is lobster thermidor. I know what it is, haven’t tried it, and most restaurants don’t serve it.
Boston Lobster Thermidor
Lobster tail sautéed in butter, flambéed in brandy, sprinkled with cheese, and served with creamy mushroom sauce, garlic and spicy mustard, and buttered asparagus
The Japanese and Chinese options I am reasonably familiar with. I think. Who am I kidding?! I’m usually just a point and eat guy when it comes to most Asian food. Thai and Indian are also petty familiar, but I’m sure these are a step up. A fish soufflé sounds interesting, though.
Fish Soufflé and Chicken
Freshly minced chicken, chilli and basil are pan-fried and accompany a traditional Thai dish soufflé. Served with pineapple fried rice and curried mixed vegetables.
But then we get into the Singaporean and Malay dishes. Some of these things don’t sound bad, but they are also unfamiliar enough that they don’t sound good either. Am I wrong? What should I expect of dishes like these? I have no existing standards by which to judge these cuisines.
Lontong Rendang Ayam
Chicken cooked in coconut milk and exotic spices with rice cakes, potato patties and egg
Nonya Assam Fish
Fish, okra, eggplant and tomato cooked with Assam spices Peranakan style, served with steamed rice
What I can definitely say is that I’m a fan of traditional Western breakfasts. American, British, Irish, French, German, …whatever. I like my eggs and bacon and pastry. If anyone is getting the dim sum for that meal, it’ll be Megan.
Here’s the whole list. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.