a trays of food on a table

On a cold and rainy night in London, it’s tough to pass up on an exotic takeaway, or delivery meal. Is it Indian, Thai, Mexican night, or maybe some delicious airplane food? With no jokes involved, AirAsia is looking to expand its beloved Santan food brand, from a humble 15 stores around Malaysia to more than 200 global locations. First up on the expansion list: the UK and China.

Airplane Food For The High Street

AirAsia has received huge praise for its inflight meals available for purchase during flight, and figured why not bring the concept to the ground. AirAsia created Santan, an affordable food chain offering basically all the same meals you’d find in the sky, on the ground, on high streets around Malaysia.

The stores have been a tremendous hit, not only offering quick and delicious meals, but a wide variety of speciality Malay products and other snacks, and with fewer planes flying, AirAsia is rapidly expanding franchise opportunities to global markets. Up to 100 global stores are expected to open by the first quarter of 2022.

a plane flying in the sky

Even though AirAsia doesn’t fly to the UK, you’ll likely be able to experience the award winning in flight curries, Rendang, Nasi Goreng, Nasi Lemak, and other treats at a high street location within the next year. Like many high street favorites, there will of course be value meals and combos to get as much onto a single plate as possible.

Plane Food Flies High On The Ground?

Frequent travelers have long lamented in flight meals. There’s always been a saying “the best steak in the sky still doesn’t hold a candle to anything on the ground”. That’s often true, given just how rigorous the process to sterilize food for in flight use can be.

A steak on a plane must been pre cooked hours before, and is simply reheated in flight, without any ability to use a flame. Adding in difficult conditions, such as a change in air pressure, constantly blowing air which reduces sense of smell, and diminished taste buds in the air, and it’s not easy to make something taste great at altitude.

a trays of food on a table

So, why are people going crazy for airplane food on the ground?

All that learning about maximizing flavor in the air could undoubtedly bring a lot to the table on the ground, and AirAsia believes it’s cracked the code for delicious, affordable airplane food, on the ground.

Whether people just miss travel and want to feel like they’re flying, or genuinely love the food is unknown. But don’t be surprised if an AirAsia restaurant opens up somewhere near you.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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