Wednesday, December 4, 2013

AirAsia Zest with HotMeals - The Right Way to Fly!

I'm not a frequent traveler like others but I do fly a number of times a year. Like this year, I flew a total of 16 times to different places and most of us will find two things very important when flying. The airport and the airline service. You can't do much on the first one because you have to live with what's available but you have options on which airline to take. It's very crucial that the experience in both the airport and from the airline is good because it can make or break your entire trip.

One detail that I'm particular about is airline food. Usually, full service carriers offer meals included in your airfare but when we're talking about low cost carriers, most have an add-on fee to avail of the food on-board.

To tell you the truth, when I went to have a taste of AirAsia's new dishes, it debunked the myth I have at the back of my mind that you do not expect anything from low cost carriers lest you want to be disappointed. More than that, I think what they offer is more than what most will expect. Some LCC here in the Philippines simply offer cup noodles, 2 to 3 selections of packed meals and some chips. You'll be surprised with what AirAsia offers as it'll feel like you're in a restaurant 35,000 feet up in the air! They have appetizers, main course, dessert, snacks and more!

AirAsia calls them 'HotMeals'. Well, it's really hot and we were happy that someone from their catering team and the chef himself explain the process on how they prepare airline food for AirAsia.

Scenario: Your flight is today and you pre-booked/ will order AirAsia HotMeals.

1) Ingredients are delivered on the day to their commissary
2) Kitchen team prepare the food and cooked home style. They do not use preservatives so shelf life is max of 2 days only because... (#3)
3) after cooking, they use a technology called 'Blast freezing' which cools the food down to a safe temperature of 4 degrees Celsius. This stage happens so fast that even bacteria do not have time to grow keeping the food very safe.
4) From the commissary, truck delivers it to the plane.
5) Before serving, food is heated on-board in the plane oven.

You'll have peace of mind as you know you'll be eating something that do not have preservatives thus, healthier and made on the day of your flight. Another thing they are proud of is the presentation. Most plane food looks mashed at some point and honestly, it won't be aesthetically appetizing. With AirAsia's HotMeals, it will still look good and will taste good. Another trivia is that they match the food on the flight's destination. If you'll be coming from or going to Manila, you'll be offered Filipino food and maybe a food or two from or to your destination. Plus, since AirAsia is a Malaysian company, they'll also be offering some of Malaysia's signature dishes like Nasi Lemak (in original state)!

Check out some of the photos I took from the AirAsia HotMeals food tasting event:

    Honey-Glazed Chicken [P299 set menu with drinks and dessert]
Out of all the items in their menu, my favorite one is the Honey-Glazed Chicken which will be launched on December 1, 2013. I highly recommend this because out of the 20+ or so food tasters in the event I attended, more than 65% liked it! The crunchy chicken went perfect with the sweet honey glaze sauce and is definitely a perfect match with rice! Onboard, this I think is the best meal to get because for only P299, you get this, a soda and a dessert plus, it's really good that you might want to order another one!

    Junior Cho's Korean Beef Stew [P200/P168]
My second favorite out of the 5 meals we had that night was the beef stew. The beef was surprisingly very tender. We were told not to finish our food, specially the rice otherwise, we won't be able to try everything. Well, I still finished this dish off. For this dish, almost 70% liked it! For my very recent flight, this is what I ordered because the honey-glazed chicken was sold out. It was really served that way and it was weird because I enjoyed it more on the plane! This meal is also highly recommended!

    Chicken Adobo Ala Mariles [P200/P168]
This dish I forgot to take a photo of so I used AirAsia's image as reference to I describe what I tasted. Not the usual adobo that I like because each has his own style of cooking adobo. Some like it sweeter and maybe some like it saltier or a bit sour. For me at least, it was just okay but the leafy vegetables on the side was very good! Actually, this is a more balanced meal than the Honey-glazed chicken and the Korean beef stew. Overall, the food tasters who liked this dish was around 45%.

    Pak Nasser's Nasi Lemak [P200/P168]
By this time, I was full. Judgement maybe biased but I did try my best to enjoy the dish and judge it accordingly. Nasi Lemak is very famous in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Southern Thailand. It has several ingredients which when served, is separate from each other. Some of the ingredients include peanuts, egg, lamb curry, vegetables, sambal and anchovies. In AirAsia's version, you can clearly see how hard they worked for it to still look good and taste good. Check out how the Nasi Lemak ingredients are separated from each other even though it's inside the airline food box already! If you don't like spicy food, this is definitely not for you. I liked it and so did 90% of the food tasters that night!

    Chicken Rice [P200/P168]
I felt that it was just an ordinary plate of chicken and rice. But you know, AirAsia is trying to serve everyone here. You know how kids don't want to eat tasty and fancy stuff like we adults do? Well, some kids just like their food to be chicken+rice, porkchop+rice, or Spaghetti. Well, here's AirAsia's way of serving their customers whatever age they may be. Like I said, it tasted ordinary and it showed in the results. Less than 30% liked it but your kids will love it!

    Pasta Arrabiata [P200/-]
Similar to the chicken rice, less than 30% liked it. Partly, I'm sure that it was because this dish was the last one served that night. It's spicy and has the tangy tomato taste similar to when you eat authentic red-sauced pastas in Italian restaurants. I think it deserves better.

We didn't get to try the Beef Caldereta but that dish is also available for online booking at just P168!

Flying with AirAsia soon? Tip. Pre-book your meals! Not only will you get a 15% discount off the menu price, you'll also get a free 100mL bottled water! Check out the prices I places above. The first price indicated is if you buy on-board and the second one is for pre-booking online)

[To pre-book AirAsia Zest Hotmeals, go to via Manage My Booking.]

Other food we tried that night:
Cinnamon Breadsticks [P80]
Choco Banana Pound [P90]
Chocolate Chip Cookies [P80/5pcs]
Fudgy Brownie Bar [P90]

Snacks that they serve:
Chicken Caesar Sandwich [P130]
Roasted Chicken Sandwich [P130]
Sundried Tomato Sandwich [P130]

Check out the official AirAsia Inflight Menu
Just recently, Zest Air merged with AirAsia and they are now known as AirAsia Zest in Manila. They are now using the NAIA Terminal 4 (formerly known as the domestic airport) unless otherwise marked as seen below:

Cagayan De Oro
Puerto Princesa

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Miri, Malaysia
Incheon, South Korea (NAIA 3)
Shanghai, China (NAIA 3)
Macau, China

They also have direct flight from Cebu! Fly from Cebu direct to:
Cagayan De Oro
Puerto Princesa

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Book your flight now! Visit
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AirAsia Zest, The Right Way to Fly!

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