Tuesday, December 27

Thailand 2011 - Airplane and Hotel Food

These were some very familiar settings for us on our 2 week honeymoon to Thailand. We visited 4 different Thailand cities with a layover in Seoul, Korea between our flights from and to SFO. Although Asiana Airlines and Bangkok Airways are 2 of the best serviced airlines I've flown with (beat that Southwest!), I grew weary of eating foods like the meals below. For the most part, they were quite tasty and cleverly packaged but airline food always holds with it the unpleasant memories of flying economy class for 12+ hours.  

The best and worst of airline food
 Bangkok Airways fed us on every flight, even if it was under 1 hour. The snacks were usually cold sandwiches and in the interest of remaining interesting, I am not posting pictures of boring sandwiches. Also, at the passenger terminal of each Bangkok Airways flights, they provided a variety of snacks which we liberally grubbed on. Not pictured.
mm pretty good for airline bibimbap

can't recall

a little plain tasting

not so good

gross orange chicken

Not the best bulgogi but all together a really good meal.

 Terrible. The menu listed gnocchi as potatoes and I was expecting potatoes. Yes, gnocchi is a potato dumpling but that is not the same as a potato. LIES! Plain and unseasoned everything. The apples were the best part.

The best and worst of hotel food
Asiana Airlines changed the flight time of our connecting flight and as a result, gave us a complimentary stay in Incheon, Korea for one night. They put us at the June Hotel which is most closely equated to a Holiday Inn or Best Western in the States.

A Korean toilet and also how I imagine a Japanese toilet to be based on a Simpsons episode. The seat can be heated and should you wish, you can press a button to have a jet stream of water wash your tush. Be careful though, the water may be high pressured. Clench!

We had complimentary meal vouchers for the hotel and here are a few samples of our meals. As you can see, we had slim pickings...
Unidentifiable gross soup

Freezer burned salad with unidentifiable green dressing
Choice of pork, chicken, or beef cutlet with tonkatsu sauce. I don't know which protein this is but they all look the same.
In Chiang Mai, Thailand we also had free breakfast buffet vouchers and this time, hotel food was much more pleasant. As a matter of fact, Maninarakorn Hotel's breakfast buffet food really surpassed my standards for any hotel and even some restaurant quality meals.

A sample of our daily offerings. Excellent fried rice. Fried noodles, their attempt at French toast and some fresh tropical fruits. They also had eggs, porridge, and cereal options too.

After spending practically the entire day at the airport waiting for one delayed flight after another, we arrived late at the Renaissance in Koh Samui.
Luckily, they greeted us with 2 scoops each of house made mango sorbet. It was delicious and refreshing. I'm not sure if we got this special treatment because we had stated on our reservation that it was our honeymoon, but hey, I will take free ice cream when offered.


 More honeymoon goodies!

It was already approaching 10PM by now and nothing was open except the hotel restaurant. We came with very low standards for hotel food. These house made bread rolls were quite delicious. I cannot recall what the dipping sauces were but they tasted strange. The middle one is melted butter.

Tom Yum - spicy prawn soup. This dish is pretty mainstream in American Thai cuisine. It's a clear broth, spicy prawn soup with lemongrass, mushrooms, and other herbs. This specific bowl was just not outstanding. It tasted a bit one dimensional and that is disappointing because Thai food is all about layering flavors.

Spicy beef salad - same comments as above. Boring and one dimensional. Spicy, but still just one flavor.

Pad Thai - the pad thai was a bit better than the other dishes. It tastes similar to pad thai from Krung Thai in Santa Clara, which is my favorite Thai place. By this point in our trip, we had tried so many authentic street vendor versions of pad thai that to have this obviously westernized version was underwhelming. Don't get me wrong, it's still a good portion of pad thai and had I never eaten authentic street vendor versions, I would have loved this. And such is the pity of having higher standards...I can see why a hotel catering to mostly non-Thai guests would put seasoning on the side (they do this in CA too) but I would rather have the chef season it himself as a way of saying, "Here, this is how we eat it in Thailand."

I hope you've enjoyed the first of many Thailand recaps. I have forgotten much of the pricing at these eateries but the conversion rate from USD to THB makes it very cheap. Except if you eat at a hotel, then the prices are just about the same as the US. Stay tuned for more!


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