22 (Sun) Feb 2015
by Asiana Airlines
on Flight OZ 703
-Somewhere Over the Pacific Ocean-
The Prodigal Son Returns to Shephard His Sons, Leg 2, Day 2 (see previously 6.047 Kimchi Jjigae).
Flew to ICN last-last FRI night, arriving at dawn SAT, hung out, back to MNL on TUE night with whole family in tow (see 6.043 Bibimbap), spent holiday with them (see most recently 6.046 Pan-Fried Egg Bean Curd…), flew again to ICN with everyone last FRI, arriving at dawn yesterday, and back to MNL again tonight.
Upgrade to business class, fully deserved.
Though looking forward to comparing the Asiana business class bibimbap against its economy class counterpart (see generally 6.043 Bibimbap), as well as its competition on both levels over on Korean Air (see generally 6.021 Bibimbap), I was disappointed that the menu offered ssambap instead.
But then, once the ssambap was served, I was delighted to have been disappointed.
The pork, shrimp, and nuts in this spread–probably a non-issue for the vast majority of passengers flying to/from MNL/ICN–would categorically exclude many other travellers throughout the world from having it.
For wider accessibility, the airline should (i) adopt chicken as the main meat–untraditional, yes, but so is the very notion of ssambap on a plane; (ii) leave the soup plain, not even anchovy stock; (iii) remove the goddamn nuts from the ssamjang–ostensibly because of the allergy thing, but primarily because it’s weird–and forget about adding bits of octopus or whatever, which can creep some people out; and–so long as I’m taking it upon myself to redesign the entire menu–(iv) substitute something more universally embraceable–like maybe a couple pieces of jeon (see for example 4.084 The Hobak Jeon Taste Taste)–for the anchovies, which could be a bit much for the uninitiated. Such tweaks would not only improve the spread but allow most everyone to enjoy it, even vegetarians (if they set the chicken aside).
Side dishes aside, it was all about the ssam vegetables. Wide and well-balanced array, carefully selected to represent a bit of sweet, a bit of bitter, a bit of crunch, a bit of chew. Fresh and immaculate, neither a speck of brown in appearance nor a hint of sag in vitality. I can’t imagine how food on a plane could possibly get any more vibrant than this.
Overall, it was the finest in-flight meal that I’ve ever experienced.
So, in business and in economy, Asiana Airlines totally dominates Korean Air where Korean food service is concerned.