Monday, February 09, 2009

I Hope It's Wasabi Peas

As we take to the skies of China, one of the most distinctive differences between American and Chinese air travel is the selection of snacks and meals available on board. The other day, as we headed to Guangzhou (with a layover in Shanghai), the two two-hour flights each included a snack, therefore allowing us to sample two very different types of Chinese dian xin.

During the first leg of the trip, we received a beverage and a foil-wrapped flaky bun that had a few slices of roast pork inside and sesame seeds outside. A different flavor, as the bun itself was brown in color and had a wheat-like taste to it. Overall, not bad.

On the connecting flight, the fare was a bit more complex. Along with a hermetically-sealed cup of "drinking purified water" and a beverage of our choice, we received a box loaded with Chinese-style snacks. Mostly of the carbohydrate variety, the neatly packed green container had a plain roll (Z's main plane staple), a piece of cake (looked like banana bread but tasted much different), a small package of dried fruits (Julie's favorite), a breath mint, a small foil pouch of "dried radish" (a surprisingly tasty packet of some type of pickled vegetable), a "wet turban" (aka, a moist toilette), and perhaps the most unique taste of all, onion cookies. Imagine a good tasting onion cracker and then turn it into a Nilla Wafer that tastes just like it...definitely a strange consistency for a common flavor, but somehow really good.

In all, the airplane food in China has been unique but tasty. While Julie and I are always hopeful that the snack will be wasabi peas (like on the way home from Xi'an), every time we step on a Chinese plane, we know we're in for a culinary adventure. It's fun to be able to try new foods when there's no pressure. You can try some or all. From chicken with rice to beef and noodles, wasabi peas to onion cookies, domestic Chinese air travel is all about the food!



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