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AirAsia spices up its Santan menu with Filipino flair

Because plane food doesn't have to be plain!

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By Vianca Gamboa | Images by Noel B. Pabalate

Frequent flyers have developed a love-hate relationship with airline meals over time. There are two options, choosing between eating food served on-board and eating at the terminal before boarding.

It is not entirely an airline’s fault that the food served is sometimes bland or dried-out, especially in economy class. In-flight chefs strictly follow the preparation, preservation, storage, and environment protocols for safety and proper flight operation.

This is where we commend AirAsia. The long-standing best low-cost carrier worldwide has gotten all aspects down pat when it comes to giving a great sky experience—from hassle-free check-in, cheap airfare, and flight connectivity, to good food catering. In fact, its food brand Santan was recognized by a publication as the best in-flight meal of 2019 for its extensive Asian offerings, diverse international menu, and even vegetarian dishes.

IMG_6743Philippine vice chairperson Sheila Romero shares the airline’s menu expansion is in line with its goal to improve as a lifestyle brand

This 2020 or “Air Asia’s banner year” as Philippine vice chairperson Sheila Romero claims, the carrier focuses on customer experience and Filipino culture as part of its ongoing expansion as a lifestyle brand. Staying true to its promise, AirAsia rolls out a whole slew of Filipino favorites to invigorate Santan’s award-winning menu originally composed of Malaysian, Japanese, and Chinese dishes.

A special hands-on team prepares ingredients sourced from Malaysia and cooks them inside Red Point’s commercial kitchen to ensure the food is packaged well, while an in-flight quality assurance team makes sure to retain the packed meals’ flavors even on board.

“Our competitive advantage doesn’t rely on our budget-friendly fares, but the experience we provide,” says Romero. “It has dawned on me a long time ago that in-flight meals need more careful consideration since Filipinos love food and it brings family and friends together. So we pushed through with an all-Filipino menu.”

We recently got to try out Santan’s roster of new offerings and we have to say that AirAsia might just smash the negative stereotypes associated with in-flight meals. Its Filipino dishes are as tasty as the hearty meals served at home.

Crispy Chicken Sisig

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On-Board Price: ₱180 (à la carte)

Most airlines do not have customizable meals with separate sauce and toppings, so customers can have a dish however they like. The sisig meal, which comes with a special side of mayonnaise and crunchy chicken skin bits, is indeed crispy, savory, and filling just the way you like it.

Pinoy Spaghetti

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On-Board: ₱150 (à la carte)

It’s the typical sweet-style Pinoy spaghetti with hotdog slices that everybody loves. The cheese sauce makes it extra creamy, its taste a cross between spaghetti and carbonara.

Bistek Tagalog

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Pre-Book Price: ₱140 (comes with water or coffee)

On-Board: ₱180 (à la carte)

This bistek is definitely a must-try with its combination of salty and tangy flavors, courtesy of the Philippine lime.

Beef Tapa with Scrambled Egg

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Pre-Book Price: ₱140 (comes with water or coffee)

On-Board: ₱180 (à la carte)

Santan’s take on the breakfast staple doesn’t disappoint. The tapa is tender, garlicky, and saucy.

You can pre-book meals and access the whole menu on airasia.com

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