7.200 VJML (TEKASM 9)


23 (Sat) July 2016

Vegetarian Jain Meal


by Korean Air

on Flight KE 624

-Somewhere over the Pacific Ocean-

with the family

The Home Stretch : Day 9 (see previously 7.199 Mineo & Myeongran Muchim).

At long last, the time has come.  Arrived in Seoul last Saturday.  Here for a week to pack up and ship our stuff to the Philippines, where we’ll be reunited to live as a family after 2.5 years.  Flying back together to Manila … tonight!

For lunch, at Samwon Garden (see most recently 6.252 Chicken Calderata)…
…one last bowl of MNM (see most recently 7.198 The Best MNM…).

TEKASM (Try Every Korean Air Special Meal).  Flying often as I do on Korean Air, I’d grown weary of the standard food offerings, certainly the bibimbap (see most recently 7.025 Bibimbap), even the meals on business class (see most recently 7.039 Sauteed Cod Fillet).  Whereas Korean Air offers a range of “special meals” available upon advance order, I attempted to try every one, 20 in all.  Though anticipating that the food wouldn’t be all that special, the project was intended to be about the exploration, better to be surprisingly blah than predictably meh.  However, TEKASM quickly turned out to be the lamest project in the “Try Every” series, each meal worse than the previous one, terrible to a comic degree.  With 9 down and 11 to go, I’m shutting it down.

I am curious, ever the food explorer, to see how bad it could get, items like “Bland Meal.”

Jain vegetarianism — deriving from the Jain religion/philosophy/culture, originally of western India — may be the strictest diet in the world.  Primarily for the prevention of harm to living beings, Jains don’t eat meat, meat products, honey, root vegetables (because pulling them from the dirt could hurt microorganisms in the soil), including garlic — never heard of any culture avoiding garlic on principle* — as well as mushrooms (which may harbor microorganisms).  They only vegetables — harvested gently — that aren’t killed by being harvested.  Bullshit “vegetarians” aside (see for example 6.329 Kam-Heong Pan-Fried Prawns), the intensity of such discipline has got to be respected.

* Reminds me of Isaac Asimov’s short story “Good Taste” (1976).  The protagonist, who lives in a society where all food is articifically/chemically manufactured, enters a cooking contest and wins.  When the judge can’t discern the flavoring of the winning dish, the protagonist reveals his secret ingredient to be garlic.  Everyone is horrified by the thought of cooking with something that had grown from dirt.  The protagonist is exiled.  Wonder if Asimov had been inspired by Jainism.

In any case, the Vegetarian Jain Meal wasn’t so good.  Just mushy beans and tomatoes in a bland curry sauce with steamed rice.  Marginally better than the past few meals, but not enough to salvage this project.

I may continue to try the Hindu offerings, which were pretty decent.

Thanks to W’s cousin, who works for Korean Air, we were all upgraded to business class — as she had done for me when I moved to Manila (see generally 5.004 Sitting Business…)!
  1. TERRP (…Restaurant in Robinsons Place) — complete (85) (5.247 KFC : Original Recipe Fried Chicken…)
  2. TEITY (..Item at Tao Yuan) — complete (36) (6.095 DONE)
  3. TERNWPPD (…Restaurant in New World, Pan-Pacific, Diamond) — complete (10) (6.081 Lobster, Baby.)
  4. TERSK (…Restaurant in St Kilda) — complete (6) (5.339 Roasted Squid)
  5. TEKREM (…Korean Restaurant in Ermita/Malate) — complete (45) (6.207 Dok + Ok)
  6. TEIBR (…Item at Bistro Remedios) — cancelled (10) (see most recently 6.359 Kangkong Lechon)
  7. TETRITSA (…Thai Restaurant in the International Terminal of Suvarnabhumi Airport) — in process (4) (see most recently 6.069 Spicy Stir-Fried Shrimp & Seafood with Basil)
  8. TERSP (…Restaurant in Serendra Piazza) — in process (9) (see most recently 7.189 Korean Beef Stew)
  9. TEKASM (…Korean Air Special Meal) — cancelled (9) (see most recently 7.192 Low Calorie Meal)

4 thoughts on “7.200 VJML (TEKASM 9)

    1. it must be genetic. i’m told that my paternal grandfather was such an MNM fanatic that he used to get it delivered home, back in the 60s, before food delivery was a thing in Korea. my father used to be just as crazy about it in his youth, but he later developed a crazy theory about the kind of cows used to make the broth, so he stopped eating it. so, i discovered it on my own without any influence. my father recently began telling me the family history when I started obsessing over MNM.

      1. I love that you know all of that about your grandfather. I also want to hear more about the crazy cow theory. No theory would be able to keep me away from a delicious bowl of MNM. The broth, to me, is the Most important part of the dish. I’ll be less critical about the noodle itself. It could be genetic… .I’ll have to ask the rest of my family about this one next summer. I’m hoping to be able to fly back to Seoul for the first time in….3 years? I miss it all.

      2. i’ll write about the cow theory in a future post, but to give you a sneak peak, i’ll just say it has something to do with old dairy cows that can no longer produce milk.

        i hope you get a chance to try old-school Pyongyang-style MNM, which is almost nothing like typical MNM. please let me know when you’re going to be in Seoul…

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