AirAsia likes to tag their selection of meals served on-board as their “restaurant in the sky”. I must say that the dishes they serve certainly give their full-service competitors more than a run for their money. I, for one, can’t resist their nasi lemak.

Their in-flight food menu with hot meals is called Santan (Malay for coconut milk), a name most Malaysians can connect with.

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AirAsia meals.

They have created special dishes to serve certain regional sectors – with those dishes being some of the most popular and favoured in that region.

“Food is a great unifying factor across the region. We are bringing the wonderful flavours of Asean into Santan to create a unique food experience, with the vision of replicating the on-ground gourmet experience on board.

“The flavour profile and in-flight food prices have always been a challenge but we believe that, with Santan, we can create the first restaurant brand in the sky that spells both tasty and affordable,” said AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes at the launch of Santan back in May.

Fernandes also came up with Santan for the name of the menu. It took one year to create all the dishes for Santan, which offers 90 different meals across the AirAsia network.

As it’s also Asean’s 50th anniversary, Star2 gives you a look-in at some of these dishes, especially for those of you who have not taken AirAsia flights to those regions.

But let’s start with the two most popular right at home here in Malaysia.

Note: In brackets below are AirAsia’s flight codes for specific sectors.

Malaysia (served on AK flights)

Pak Nasser’s Nasi Lemak – Known as Malaysia’s national dish, the traditional fragrant coconut rice dish is served with Pak Nasser’s Chilli Sambal and Chicken Rendang, complemented with fried anchovies, crunchy groundnuts and half a hard-boiled egg.

AirAsia meals.

The yummy nasi lemak.

AirAsia meals.

Biryani anyone?

Chicken Vindaloo Biryani – This popular Indian curry that’s savoury, tangy and spicy is perfectly paired with fluffy Biryani that is loaded with spices, herbs and vegetables. It’s a tantalising meal!

Thailand (FD flights)

ML Noi’s Basil Fried Chicken on Rice – From ML Noi’s Royal Kitchen comes this authentic Thai rice dish, with stir-fried spiced chicken and fresh basil leaves to give it that signature robust flavour.

(FD & XJ flights)

Thai Green Curry with Rice – This aromatic Thai Green Curry Chicken is infused with authentic Thai spices and ingredients, promising a mouth-watering experience, especially when served with fluffy, fragrant, white rice.

AirAsia meals.

Imagine your fellow passengers going green with envy as you snag the last Thai Green Curry with rice.

Indonesia (QZ flights)

Nasi Padang – This popular Indonesian meal consists of white rice, beef rendang, stir-fried cassava leaves, ikan bilis (anchovy) balado and green sambal. And tasty prawn crackers.

Nasi Kuning Manado – A popular dish from Sulawesi served with Smoked Cakalang (skip-jack tuna), Telor (egg) Balado, Fried Sweet Potato, Potato Soya with Beef and Chilli sambal.

AirAsia meals.

The Nasi Kuning Manado is filled with many good things.

Philippines (Z2 flights)

Chicken Adobo ala Mariles – Philippine’s favourite cuisine marries chicken, vinegar, soy sauce, bay leaves and peppercorn for an unforgettable gastronomic experience.

AirAsia meals.

Who hasn’t heard of the signature dish from the Philippines – the chicken adobo.

International meals

Chicken Lasagne – Savour this classic, heart-warming dish that’s a staple on all flights. Layers of juicy chicken in tomato sauce, cream sauce, pasta and shredded cheese are baked to perfection, and served with vegetables. Makes a gratifying meal.

Are any of your personal favourites on this list?

At the moment, there are no specific regional meals for flights to Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. But you never know when that might change. Check out that menu next time you’re on board and wait for your nose to twitch with delight!