Monday, March 7, 2016

Airline Meal Review: Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian

Last week I went to Lima, Peru.

It was a 36-hour flight from Jakarta, with 5 hours transit in Amsterdam.

We flew with KLM, and what I am always concerned with when having intercontinental flights is the meal.

All standard airline meals might have pork. Some slices could line up nicely beside your omelette. Or maybe chopped and stuffed inside with the mushrooms.

Pork is strictly prohibited in Muslim dietary rules. Airlines, thoughtfully, do have a solution to various kinds of religious preference. They have Muslim, Kosher, and Hindu meal. Sadly enough, Muslim meals are mostly (if not always) Indian curry.

For me, the taste and aroma are just too strong. I'm not saying they're bad. In fact, the world's famous rendang I'm crazy about is a variation-slash-derivative of Indian meat curry. But the original Indian curry is just too strong.

Airlines from the Arabians have all their foods halal (of course!) so I don't have to worry. I like Emirates. That's the only one I've ever flown with and I liked their meals. Never tried Qatar or Etihad or Saudi Arabian yet. I wish Emirates could open many new routes.

Garuda Indonesia and Malaysia Airlines also serve all-halal meals. Garuda is always my first preference. Food and service is always exceptional. Better price, too.

If you want halal meals, Vegetarian Lacto-Ovo can be an option.

I've had quite a process before finally took the VLML. I searched all special meals they have on board. Here's what I found:

- Children meals: no.

- Vegetarian meals: okay. As I said before, this can be an option. I'm not a veg, but this clearly won't have pork or any other meat. So I don't have to worry if it's halal or not, and zabihah or not. Let's save this one.

Oh. Zabihah means properly slaughtered according to Islamic rules. Very much the same as schechitah in Jewish rules. The only difference? Well, the person must be a Muslim, and he must pronounce "Bismillahi Allahu akbar" (In the name of Allah, Allah is the Greatest) while performing it.

- Medical diets: Diabetic; Low-calorie; Low-salt; Gluten intolerant; Lactose intolerant. Hmm, nope. I need high calories for this super long journey  xD  And, they might still contain pork, too.

- Religious: Halal; Kosher; Hindu.

Okay this is it.

Halal must be Indian curry. So that's a no :)

Kosher, I'd love to try them. Jewish meal rules are very similar to Muslim's, and theirs should be more traditional (=restricted) than us, so it should be fine.

But I'm afraid the meat are not zabihah. I wouldn't know if they pronounced "Bismillahi Allahu akbar" in Hebrew or not. (Hey, we have the same God. It's just the language.)

And they don't eat shellfish, shrimp, clams, oysters, so my options will be even more limited. I guess I'll try it next time when I'm on the ground. I want a nice first experience :)

Hindu leaves out beef or pork. This sould be fine, too, but I guess it will taste like Indian curry as well. So, I'll skip :)

- Peanuts and nut allergies. Why, no! I love them!

Okay that's all, so we have only Vegetarian left.

We have three choices:

1.  Lacto-ovo vegetarian meal: no meat, meat products or seafood. Contains dairy products, eggs, vegetables --> Sounds great. I don't have to be worried about halal/not, or zabihah/not. And I love eggs and milk.

2.  Asian vegetarian meal: spicy vegetarian combinations with limited use of dairy products. --> Hmm I guess not. They might use sake or wine or any other alcoholics, which are also not halal. And I don't think their "spicy" standard is the same as mine. It might turned out weird, or a bit sweet, which I will regret for the next 36 hours. I guess not this time. Besides, I want the milk.

3.  Vegetarian vegan meal: no animal products, eggs or dairy products. --> Aw, no. Too dry. I need some energy!

So finally I chose the Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Meal (VLML).

I ordered the meal 5 days before flight. If you want to have special meals, make sure you order them at least 2 days before, because orders are closed 24 hours before departure.

So here's what they look like.

Jakarta to Amsterdam (Garuda Indonesia)

All foods in Garuda Indonesia is halal, so actually you don't need to order a special Muslim meal.

We had lasagna with omelette inside. Mushroom, tomato, green peas, carrots, and corns. There's bread, but no salads. Yoghurt on top right.

The lasagna and omelette was fluffy big and very fulfilling  xD

Fruit selection is modest. Watermelon, pineapple, and green melon.

This yoghurt Bio Kul is my favourite. So glad they served it on board. It's not too sour and tastes good.

My husband's got a yogurt, too. He didn't order special meals and went for the standard one. They gave him a red Yummy Yoghurt. I thought, what's the difference?

So I looked at the ingredients and found out his yoghurt has been added with extra strawberry sauce, cow's gelatin (halal), two types of stabilisers, milk protein, and natural food colouring. Wow. Seems like mine is healthier, lol :)))

There's this one lecture in Child Nutrition and Cooking at Coursera that I always remember. (it's such a great course that changes the way we see our food today)

The longer the ingredients list, and the more words you can't understand, the less healthier it would be.

Never have I been the same consumer as I was before. Those words has become the number one thing I always remember when picking anything off the shelves! Thanks, Maya!

Okay back to meals.

In the morning they served sandwiches. All veggies.

No second meal because we departed at 9pm, and arrived at 6 am. Everyone was asleep.

Okay so that's VLML from Garuda Indonesia. Fulfilling as always.

Amsterdam to Lima (KLM)

There were two mealtimes on board. This is the second meal.

Ravioli verdura salsa, mixed salad, fruits, and bread.

Here's a close-up of the ravioli.

Bread and butter.

The ravioli tastes surprisingly good. Especially because it's still warm. I was always the first to get the meal, and that makes me feel like a priority :)))

But the bread got as hard as a piece of wood when it comes in contact with air. I tried biting it off. Couldn't eat it. I knocked it against the tray table, and it sounded... like a piece wood :))) oh well...

Then comes the salad. Just a normal mixed salad. The dressing is very very sour.

Fruit selection is great. There's sweet orange, green apples, pineaples. All tastes really really nice.

I love the tiny size of the mineral water. I took some of them with me. They'll keep me hydrated while exploring around the city.

For snacks, there's an ice cream. Tastes good.

And bread with cheese and honey-mustard sauce. Tastes good, too.

For the airline standard meal they have bread with chicken and onion mayo.

But... But the bread was there! I swear!

Lima to Amsterdam (KLM)

There were 2 meals on board.

At the first mealtime, they served rice. With mushrooms and green peas and, oh God it's like a miracle that they have rice! I ate them right away I didn't take photos! My Asian tummy has been severely deprived of our primary staple for 5 days. :)))

The next part will be full of photos, I promise, so don't worry :)

The second mealtime. Here it is.

I don't know what it is, but it tastes like lontong (rice cake). Vegetables are represented by 3 slices of cucumber and one slice of tomato.

Orange, pineapple, and green apples. Fruit selection is always very nice in KLM  :)

Strawberry yoghurt. Tastes really nice.

Bread and butter.

Mineral water. Smaller than the bottle we had.

Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur (KLM)

This is where my husband found a thin slice of pork ham under his omelette.

That's what I meant when I don't want a standard airline meal.

The wife's always right, yeah?

Okay, mine was:

It's another ravioli verdura salsa :D

Mixed salad.


Mineral water.

Butter and sour dressing.

Now here's the second meal :

Scrambled eggs with parsley, lyonnaise potato and baked beans. Thank God they're fulfilling enough :D

Here's the nice fruits. Love them!

Yoghurt, tastes very very good.

Butter (nevermind the bread).

Mineral water in my favourite bottle.

Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta (KLM)

Only a long sandwich. Airline standard meal also gets the same.


So that will be all.

That's VLML Vegetarian Lacto-Ovo Airline Meal review of KLM (and Garuda Indonesia) during my 36-hour flight from Jakarta to Lima and back.

For Muslims who are not really fans of Indian curry, this option is worth trying. (Besides, what else have you got? :))) )

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