Inside Singapore Airlines is a behind-the-scenes tour of the SIA Training Centre, which proved to be really popular even before the event started with lots of people upset that they didn’t get a ticket despite waking up early to submit the request form the moment it opened at 10am on 1 November 2020.
Unfortunately, I was one of those people who got ghosted by Singapore Airlines too, and will not get to experience what the lucky ones are experiencing these last November weekends. The lucky visitors (clearly not first-come first-served) will be the first to experience Singapore Airlines’ short-haul Economy Class meal concept featuring “Singapore local delights and other familiar favourites”.
That being said, I did have a friend who got two slots for the Inside Singapore Airlines event, and so I requested if he could help me get some of the new short-haul Economy Class meal concepts out for me since I was quite interested in having airline meals again.
Welcome to my Outside Singapore Airlines dining experience.
There are signs for the Inside Singapore Airlines event along the sheltered path to the SIA Training Centre. Not that it’s for me though.
My ticket for the Inside Singapore Airlines event.
Yup, like many of you venting your frustration the past few weeks, I was also one of you who submitted my form at around 10.05am and got ghosted by Singapore Airlines.
While I was unable to experience the Inside Singapore Airlines event, a friend was there, who had a long break between his grooming workshop (yes, his) and tour, and he helped me purchase my takeaway meal requests from the SIA Training Centre staff canteen.
The menu for the Inside Singapore Airlines event at the SIA Training Centre staff canteen. 1 meal is included for all ticket holders, with everything including more meals available for additional purchase.
Bus Stop 96069 Mera Terr P/G is the closest bus stop to SIA Training Centre, located approximately 400 meters away from the main entrance. As this is the closest place with seats to the SIA Training Centre, I guess I’ll be dining here for my Outside Singapore Airlines dining experience.
Fine dining from an Airbus to a bus stop.
The things I do for RailTravel Station, sigh.
Welcome to my Restaurant 96069 @Changi.
A bus stop bench is surprisingly aesthetic for photos.
I purchased quite a grand suite of items for lunch.
For starters, I got a 6-piece SIA Signature Chicken Satay (S$10.70), a Nasi Lemak with Chicken (S$6.42) for my main course, an Ondeh Ondeh Cake (S$2.14) for dessert, and a can of Perrier (S$1.07) for my drink.
My first impression of this new Economy Class meal concept/packaging?
Let’s see if it lives up to Santan quality though.
The 6-piece SIA Signature Chicken Satay (S$10.70) is a classic starter on Singapore Airlines’ Business Class and above. This time round on the ground, it unfortunately tasted like regular satay. The meat wasn’t as meaty and tender as my Restaurant A380 @Changi S$321 Business Class Experience, and was quite fibrous with the meat not falling off the skewers, having to chew it off by the sides at the end near where I would be holding the stick.
I still managed to finish it all though.
Maybe re-heating it on-board an aircraft makes the world of difference.
Now on to my main.
The cutlery pack comes with 1 bamboo spoon, 1 bamboo fork, and 1 piece of tissue. Gone is the full metal cutlery set including a knife and teaspoon (and salt, pepper, milk, and toothpick for that matter).
The new box is printed with SATS’, SilkAir’s and Singapore Airlines’ logos.
Quite interesting to see the supplier’s logo on it, and SilkAir’s too since it’s a brand that will be gone in the near future. Also, Scoot’s logo is missing in the lineup. So that’s even more interesting to note that Scoot would probably continue to use casseroles and Singapore Airlines will use these paper tapao boxes.
The new boxes are almost cube-shaped, so while there’s not much width, there is quite a significant depth to it. For a rice dish like my Nasi Lemak with Chicken (S$6.42), however, this means that the rice gets packed on the bottom, and the ingredients are clustered altogether on top above each other.
Unfortunately again, I was disappointed with this dish. The rice was both lemak and salty, which is quite strange. The omelette on the other hand, was very plain, so the rice helped to salt it (which is a very strange intention if it is). The otah was hard like a fish cake and not very spicy, and the chicken pieces was also as such.
All in all, the Nasi Lemak with Chicken was overly salty, and I couldn’t finish it. Maybe it’s more suited for being eaten 35,000 feet above sea level, and which got me really thinking how much salt or MSG I have been eating for the past few years in the sky. Might be too much even for Uncle Roger.
Based on The Milelion’s comment section in a related article, it seems like the Nasi Lemak isn’t the only dish that was overly salty. And it’s not the people that didn’t get their Inside Singapore Airlines ticket that are salty.
Sorry Singapore Airlines, won’t be looking forward to a short-haul Economy Class in-flight meal in the near future.
What’s even more strange is that SATS does a reasonably good Nasi Lemak for Scoot, edible both in-flight and on the ground, so I’m not sure why the offerings and overall taste of the same dish is a world of difference for Singapore Airlines. More ≠ better.
A perfect example of how a good in-flight Nasi Lemak looks like, courtesy of Uncle Tony.
Last but not least, the Ondeh Ondeh Cake (S$2.14). Oh, please be good.
Ok, thankfully, the flavours of Ondeh Ondeh – pandan, dessicated coconut, and Gula Melaka were all in the cake, but there’s unfortunately (sigh) no Ondeh Ondeh texture to it. It is what it is – a cake. I wasn’t looking for something to burst in my mouth obviously, but was expecting a mochi-like texture to it when I first read the name.
Perhaps renaming it as Pandan Cake with Gula Melaka would sound more enticing and accurate, since other Asian countries do actually buy Pandan Cakes back home from Singapore, and would sound more attractive to them.
The best dish out of all I’ve purchased for lunch?
The can of Perrier.
Overall, pretty disappointed with the new food offerings in Singapore Airlines’ new Economy Class meal concept for short-haul flights. Not only have the little things like the side salad, fruit bowl, ice cream, or even the soft roll been removed, the taste of the meals didn’t really sit well.
I wonder how this would affect the perception of long-haul transit passengers especially those from Indonesia and Brunei, where the current meal service is well exceeding competitors.
I guess it’s true when I said in jest that low-cost carriers are getting better catering than full-service carriers in my Scoot@Home Dining Experience article – I have been literally benchmarking airline food to Santan for a few years now, and it’s not looking good for legacy airlines in Economy Class.
Also, disappointed that while I didn’t get tickets for the Inside Singapore Airlines experience which I am at peace with, I still made the journey down (up?) to SIA Training Centre to collect some meh airline food which I spent S$20.33 on (sigh), and to eat it at a bus stop (sighhhh). Yeah I could have taken my meal somewhere else like Changi Airport, but it might have gotten cold, and the satay didn’t come with a cover – I didn’t want the paper boxes to be swimming in satay sauce in the plastic bag.
Oh well, at least my curiosity has been satisfied. Thankfully, Hong Kong flights are longer than 3.5 hours on schedule, so I won’t be eating my breakfast out of a takeaway box if I do one day get in on the travel bubble.
And as for the new eco-friendly paper packaging? They went straight into the green rubbish bin by the bus stop as soon I was done with each course.