Each week, my Meal of the Week feature examines an airline meal from my travels over the years. This may be a meal from earlier in the week or it may be a meal served over a decade ago.
Earlier this week I wrote about United’s planned resumption of Fifth Freedom service between Hong Kong and Singapore. At the moment, the service will be cargo only, but passenger service may return at a later point. The news reminded me of my own intra-Asia flights on United over the years.
In March 2015, I flew from Los Angeles to Hong Kong the long way on United. Rather than flying via San Francisco, I flew from Los Angeles to Tokyo, Tokyo to Singapore, and Singapore to Hong Kong. All three flights were operated by United, which used to designate Tokyo Narita as a hub and offered service to many destinations within Asia.
I had upgraded to business class, but received an elusive operational upgrade to first class from Tokyo to Singapore, a flight of seven hours.
Dinner was served after takeoff, starting with mixed nuts and an appetizer of Pâté (I didn’t touch it…) and feta cheese.
Usually a soup course follows, but because this flight was “only” seven hours, no soup was on the menu. Instead, I had a green salad.
For my main course, I chose roasted chicken and was served a leg-thigh combination, the first and only time I have ever been served dark chicken meat on an airplane. It was served with green beans, carrots, and mashed potatoes. Narita catering is always delicious, with western meals better than any U.S. United station.
I skipped the cheese and had an ice cream sundae for dessert:
We landed in Singapore where I had a brief layover before my “connection” to Hong Kong. No double-upgrade on that flight…
Shortly after takeoff, breakfast was served, and was again one of the most unique breakfasts I have had on United. The appetizer, sliced fruit and a croissant, was hardly unique.
But the main course was poached eggs over friend potatoes in a hollandaise sauce served with cook tomatoes and grilled sausage. This was easily one of the best breakfasts I have ever had on United.
Fifth Freedom routes within Asia represent a smart way for carriers to maintain service to several cities when demand is low. With everyone suspending flights, it’s not like there will necessarily be nonstop alternatives. Plus, as you can see above, you’re in store for great meals.
Toothsome- not exactly a word you hear every day to put it mildly. Also one that I never imagined would be used to describe the food on United. Any idea how their Asian catering compares to Asian airlines?
On average, he’s have had better food on Singapore/ANA/Cathay/JAL, had he flown them.
@Aaron, I have. In fact, I even did a meal of the week on it. Singapore has great food on these routes.
You posted about a meal service you had a decade ago? Slow news day, I guess. Wish I had that minute of my life back.
but tbh no one’s forcing you to read it so…
Mark, did you bother reading the very first sentence?
I wish I had a couple seconds given back to me for reading your grade school intelligent comment.
Thanks for a walk down memory lane! Let’s hope we get back to those days sooner rather than later. I always enjoy reading your reviews; keep up the great work.
I am a MileagePlus member who lives in Ho Chi Minh. I recalled UA used to operate the route HKG-SGN using a 747 (the same aircraft continues on from SFO-HKG or ORD-HKG). I never forgot those days. Then UA downgraded the equipment to a 737 and changed to a bad arriving time, 12:45am the next day. Despite all those changes, I still supported UA for several years. I decided to stop flying with UA after Luc Bondar changed the way to qualify for elite status by the $amount. I am glad that I did as UA now made thing even worse with reducing QDP to 500 or 1000 points. Back to the topic, the food was great. The service was much better (e.g. warm nuts served with champagne, piece of chocolate always waited for you when you came on board…). UA has changed and it certainly cannot keep up with the pamper and great service offered by CX, OZ, SQ, or BR.
Can’t wait for you to be flying again, in order to read more flight reports. That breakfast looks absolutely delicious and certainly not something I ever thought would be served at 30000 feet. It makes me want to poach two eggs for breakfast tomorrow morning…
Toothsome is an under-appreciated word; Unfortunately , I didn’t find any aspects of the meal to be worthy of it . In particular, the chicken dish looks like grandma food ( …nothing wrong with that , but hardly expected in F).
I enjoy reading these old meal reports. It’s interesting to note how things change over the years.
Yes, that looks like decent business class food. Definitely not what one would expect in First class.
“But the main course was poached eggs over friend potatoes…”
‘Friend’ should be ‘fried. 🙂
The chicken looks disgusting