A Restaurant Opens Only Serving Budget Airline Food

by Chris Dong

A low cost airline’s food is probably low on your list of places that you want to dine out at. However, if you’ve had AirAsia’s food, you might want to reconsider that.

The Asian low-cost carrier has some of my favorite dishes onboard, including Nasi Lemak (a coconut-y rice dish), Chinese Malaysian roasted chicken, and more. The menu is extensive and the prices are always super reasonable. This is a budget airline after all. But budget doesn’t have to mean terrible food.

AirAsia Chiang Mai to Bangkok - "In-Flight Entertainment"

AirAsia Chiang Mai to Bangkok

Back in February, AirAsia announced they’d open a restaurant based off of their in-flight menu. And CEO Tony Fernandes and the AirAsia team have delivered. The airline’s first eatery,  called Santan (Malay for coconut milk), has opened in a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur

Here’s the kind of crazy part — this is the first of five planned Santan restaurants in Malaysia by the end of 2020, and there’s plans for 100 more in the next three to five years.

The restaurants will also feature the same “Barista in the Skies” service that AirAsia has onboard, offering premium handcrafted coffee and espressos.

Fernandes has even told reporters that he wants his restaurant to eventually make it to Times Square. The eccentric airline CEO has been extensively tweeting about his new AirAsia restaurant.

Santan not only offers mobile and online ordering, it also will use machine learning and AI to curate recommended meals based on past orders. If that sounds very airline-like, well, you’re right.

Finally, prices are really affordable, from less than $3 (12 Malaysian Ringgit) for a meal.

Related: Hot Take — Airlines Should End Free Meal Service

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Tony December 3, 2019 - 10:50 pm

Food you have to pay for is generally better than complimentary food IMO. I have no doubt Air Asia’s meals are decent.

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