Up in The Air Dining

Travel always excites me. I am excluding the packing and preparation portion, which I absolutely dread. I am also weeding out the plane's take off and landing when my ears pop and I can barely hear a thing,  The thought of going to a new destination is one of the thrills I absolutely live for. Seeing new sights, exploring new tastes, meeting new people, discovering new cultures, the list goes on and on.

And then there is airline food.


I am not talking of top brass business or first class dining. But coach, economy meals. My parents travelled a lot and the first thing I used to ask them was, "What did they serve on the plane?" And more than half the time,  I always got a nonchalant answer.

And now that I get to travel a bit, when I don't exactly like my food on the plane, I tell myself, hey, no complaints...

And then I convince myself, remember budget airlines? Where you have to pay even for a bottle of water? Or when somebody else ordered food, and you didn't? And the flight attendant parades through the aisle with the food tray. And the entire area smells of his food? So I put my mind at ease with that thought.

This time, no budget airlines. It was my first time onboard Emirates. And I was thrilled. It is one of the highly noted airlines out there. All I thought about is the food they will serve. I had such high hopes. But I also kept my expectations in check, I didn't want to get disappointed. I then thought of documenting it. Never mind if my seatmates started giving me the weird stare. Nothing special about the food, why take photos of it? Oh well, to each his own, right?


I always love finding a menu inflight. Never mind that it does not have many choices. But the time spent to eloquently describe the food on offer is well appreciated by me! Thank you Emirates!

I mean it all boils down to the tiny details. I got excited when they started talking about regionally inspired meals and using locally sourced ingredients. Ooooh fancy, my mind was playing tricks on me. I can't wait to get to the choices.

Adobong manok sa gata..

Ginataang suwam na mais...

Sounds like yesterday's lunch to me.


Then again, be thankful for the bounty before you.

Two words that continually calmed me down..

Budget. Airlines....

This was breakfast. Croissant, mini cinnamon muffin, fruits in season..


And then lunch. I have to admit, the fried aubergines went well with the adobo in coconut milk. And the yellow rice made the tray more colorful. No complaints on this square meal. Good that I managed my expectations well. And I am thankful they gave me real utensils. I did not feel disposable :)


I told myself, I will give myself a reward when I get to the Dubai Airport. I will find myself a place to sit, and enjoy good food. And browse to my heart's content. I am sooo treating myself during my layover.

Or so I thought...

I alighted the plane. Then, I led myself to the connection area. I could not find my flight. None of the signs pointed where I could get to my terminal. I read all about the Emirates terminal and I could not wait to choose my pitstop for the next 10 hours. I played out in my head how I will get through that long layover.

I was told I needed to get on a bus to transfer to Terminal 2 where I will be flying out of. A rickety old bus was there to drive me there.

And so this was what I found.


A Costa Coffee stand, which was the only place I could get internet. There were other food stalls to choose from. But I needed internet to amuse myself and get by.

The Terminal looked like a jazzed up version of the Batangas Port Departure area. A lot of the sales people and service crew were Filipino. And it felt good speaking in Filipino in foreign soil. It almost made me feel like I was REALLY at the Batangas Port. But what brought me to reality?

The Duty Free Shops.


Back to my Costa coffee break-slash-study area, I was happy I found a quiet corner where I could sit, and study, and write. The one hour internet that came with my cup of coffee was enough to tell my folks and friends back home that I landed safely in Dubai. That I was ready to burn the next 10 hours in the airport.

There was a food court behind Costa, Subway and a Juice bar. I wanted to try something that we did not have back home in the Philippines. There was Paul, KFC and McDonalds. And an Indian place called Bombay Chowpatty.


My eyes were drawn to the long line before it. Food must be good there. Minutes later I found out, there weren't lining up for Indian food. It was McDonald's they were after.. (McDo was right beside it)

But I was not to be swayed, I still opted for Indian food and ordered a vegetable biryani. It was a good serving. Lots of rice, not a lot of veggie. Though a bit bland for my taste, it needed salt and pepper. But it was filling, alright. To get me through to the last few hours of waiting.


Soon it was time to board my next flight. The last leg of my almost 24 hour journey will take me to Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

Talk about going to some place exotic, right?

This time, I flew Somon Air, one of Tajikistan's own airline. It felt like flying local, but they served dinner. And guess what was on the menu?



This was wayyy better than the one I had at the airport. Yay to Somon Air for feeding my soul on air.. And for feeding me more biryani than I've ever had in one day.

Now I can't wait for my flights back, and what's in store...


This article originally appears in my personal blog, Chowpowwows, where chow is always on the lowdown. 




Published by Michelle Africa


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