I'm back from China... happy to be home. It was a great trip, and we saw a lot of beautiful, interesting things. China is a thought-provoking place. The Chinese people were so incredibly kind and sweet. Nearly everyone, of every age and income bracket , that we met was eager to return a smile. I had very little information about China in my brain before this trip, and so there were no expectations . It was all a series of interesting discoveries. I gained so much appreciation for the Chinese people and culture and arts. The heavy-hand of the government is certainly troubling though. It will be interesting to see the directions that China moves in the future. Anyhow, I know this is a food blog! As far as food, China didn't score so high on my list, but I'll have more details on that in my next post. First, let's rate Air China and their "vegan" offerings.
First off... I don't even think they had a vegan option, just "vegetarian." You can be darned sure those muffins aren't vegan, but I took a leap of faith and ate the bun. I was hungry! That sandwich was crustless white bread with tomatoes and cucumbers and lettuce. Nothing else. At least there was no mayo, so it was vegan. Just low on flavor/nutrients/calories. Well, this was just a snack offering... so I kept hope alive.
Here's the next snack offering - Fritos! and apple juice! Not healthy, but vegan. And anyway, I can't deny it - I love a little Frito action every once in a while.
Here was dinner on the way there. The meal was not actually too bad, it was 3 Indian themed items and brown rice. Score on the brown rice. The curry item on the right had paneer in it, so I didn't eat that part. Then, you all know the feeling, one is left feeling vaguely disconcerted... realizing that possibly none of it is vegan. sigh! Otherwise, bread, fruit, tiny salad. Not too bad. Plus, every snack and meal came with one of these handy "Air China" moist napkins. I pocketed them all and have hoarded them for some future disaster when I need a big mess of napkin-sized handy wipes. I wonder if that moment will ever come. Of all the meals on both flights (to & from), this was the best one.
This was the second meal on the way there. Some sort of anonymous savory veggie concoction. Not too bad, but certainly not too good. A roll, whole wheat! Fruit salad, and a not-too-shabby tomato & cucumber salad. Fruit was the best part.
On the way home, the food was really bad. This picture doesn't begin to capture the inadequacy of this meal. Those noodles were swollen with being overcooked & were flavored almost solely with grease (thus left uneaten), the green beans were choked down in desperation, as were the brocolli florets - which was a challenge because they were so overcooked that they disinegrated upon fork-contact. The two small pieces of red pepper were okay though. Another dubious white roll, which I ate. Pickled vegetables in a foil pouch which didn't tempt me. The real highlight, albeit small, was the beautiful & tasty piece of dragonfruit in my fruit bowl! (it's that white speckled item in the top left) cool! Dragon fruit is mild, sweet, pleasant... a soft texture with many tiny seeds - not unlike the texture of a kiwi. But rather than the sour tang of a kiwi, the dragonfruit is mild, non-acidic, and has a calm sweetness.
By the time they brought me this last meal, I was practically starving. I had eaten my final bar, had too many handfuls of trail mix, and was *seriously* jonesing for some protein and fresh veggies. This meal, I didn't even bother with that "main dish". It was a big mess of creepy looking mushrooms, which is my most-challenging vegetable even when it's cooked right - with oily potatoes. I ate the fruit, and the roll, and the salad... and another handful of trail mix.
Those of you flying Air China, be warned! The meals & snacks don't come often, and they are pretty darned disappointing when then do come. I suggest a serious full belly upon boarding and a bag full of snacks.