The past weekend, I went on my company’s firm trip to Ho Chi Minh and my company generously flew us on Singapore Airlines as well as a 2 night stay in Sheraton Hotel, Saigon. It has been years since I flew with SQ so I was most excited about the plane ride for this trip. I was especially pleased to board a new and shiny plane but I was shocked by the meals provided. We had one meal during the short 1.5 hours flight and it was not the single meal but the minimal variety that surprised me. I heard for a while SQ was on a cost-cutting binge the past few years and I reckon what was in front of me proved it. I recalled the days when there was a main course accompanied with dessert, sliced fruits, salad, and yoghurt. It seems SQ no longer feels the need to stuff their passengers.
For my flight to Ho Chi Minh, we were given two options: “fish” or “beef”. A lot of passengers picked the first option but I was most intruged by the “beef” option. Years back, SQ served up the most delicious Braised Beef Brisket on the way to London so I wondered if I was going to luck out this time. I did not but the “beef” option was not bad albeit a bit random. Tender beef slices were drowningin a thick sweet coffee gravy accompanied with egg fried rice and stir-fried vegetables. The coffee was most unusual and the gravy leaned towards the sweet side. Few did not like but I like the strong coffee taste and the contrast between the sweeet gravy and salty vegetables. The vegetables were surprisingly not overcooked or soft. They still retained a bite.
For dessert, it was a square block of banana cake with, weirdly, some vanilla cream below. It seemed redundant to me. Banana cake on it’s own will be tasty and needed no cream to amp it up. Wholemeal bun was served too but the air stewardess forgot to put one on my tray. When my friend reminded her and asked for it to be heated up, they promptly came back with aromatic warm buns. I had a gin and tonic too. It was served to me promptly and I was a happy tipsy.
The two options were Chicken Pasta or Vietnamese Pork Rice. I peeped over to the other seat which had been served and immediately asked for the rice. The air steward laughed when he saw my action and agreed that my option was better. Surprisingly the unappetizing-looking chicken pasta was more popular and my friend had to “settle” for the pork. There were an unusually high number of caucasians on my flight though.
It turns out I was having Cơm tấm Sài Gòn, Saigon Broken Rice. How cultural, SQ! Two thick BBQ pork chops were served on a bed of rice with traditional Vietnamese pickled vegetables on the side. This was VERY IMPRESSIVE. The BBQ pork was burnt at the edges but this created a smoky crispy edges. The sauce accompanying the pork was well-seasoned and perfect with white rice. I was very happy.
The dessert was a disappointing pandan and coconut jelly but it was refreshing and did not add on to the heaviness from the rice. The nutrition-less white soft bun was sinfully soft and I gladly gobbled it all down.
What the variety lacked in made up for in the inflight enterainment system. The movie options alone were so extensive. I managed to watch Ilo Ilo and I was soo grateful. What a remarkable film but it could not have been more perfect than watching it on Singapore Airlines!