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Vegetarian Food On Board International Flights  
User currently offlineMog From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (10 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 12081 times:

I usually order "Hindu vegetarian" when travelling, because one can then mix and match the meat entree of choice from the other "standard" meals, if required. (In Business Class, they will always have spare meals, right?) If nothing else, a few cold cuts go very well with "Hindu veg".

I have been doing this for about 30 years now. Off and on, I change the preference to sea-food, but only for the flights out of Europe.

In the old days, I would observe that "Hindu veg" would be ordered mainly by Indians, seldom anybody else.

Now I have, of late, observed that "Hindu veg" seems to be the option more than a few non-Indian people select, for flights to/from India, and often even when flight sectors are on non-India routes. When I asked an airline caterer in India, he said, yes, this does sem to be a trend, though he did not have any data.

Anybody have any inputs on this?

(FYI/G, a "Hindu veg" meal has no religious connotations, just simply means no meat/fish/egg, two veg, one lentil, rice/pilaf and rotis, with some salad/papad/pickle, usually mildly spiced but with additional masalas/spices available)

9 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineCha747 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 785 posts, RR: 6
Reply 1, posted (10 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 12040 times:

Interesting...have you ever gotten a hindu veg meal (HVML) that included seafood? AF's policy is that a HVML meal has no beef or poultry but fish is OK. On a flight from CDG-PHL, the man in the seat next to mine had ordered HVML and got a fish sandwich. The AF F/a's didn't understand...that thought it was OK because it wasn't meat or poultry. My wife and I were fine with our VLML (ovo-lacto included vegetarian meals). My cousin experienced a similar thing on an international flight once and got seafood for dinner and eggs for breakfast for his supposed "Hindu meals" (I can't remember the airline).

Indians are encouraged to, instead (other than on Indian carriers for obvious reasons), order Asian Vegetarian meals (AVML) which means Asian Subcontinental cuisine with no animal products (including fish and eggs). We've never gone wrong with an AVML food on an international flight...actually, gotten some of the best foods on these flights. SQ makes an exceptionally good AVML...especially in business class (including fresh chapatis and naan, even at short notice!!)

As far as non-Indians ordering HVML on non-Indian routes...don't have any data but with the surging popularity of Indian, Pakistani, and Afghani food in the US (and I'm sure to a certain degree in Europe), I'm not surprised that HVML is a popular choice.



You land a million planes safely, then you have one little mid-air and you never hear the end of it - Pushing Tin
User currently offlineMog From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (10 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 12021 times:

I've received this Oriental Chinese congee plus seaweed plus other boiled veggie with semolina custard kind of food on EVA and Korean on the trans-Pacific leg, and Indo-veg on the Asia leg when it was "Asian veg".

Now the travel agent makes sure that I get roti-daal-sabzi kind of "Hindu veg" when I travel, regardless of nomenclature. It does send out heavenly smells throughout the plane, and I have often had the (non-Indian) pax within range saying "can we have one of those too" to the f/a.


User currently offlineObithomas From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 131 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (10 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 11993 times:

I look at the menus and decide if I want Hindu veggie or not. Lufthansa and BA always offer Hindu vegetarian on their India-bound flights. Often, to an Indian palate, even a non-veg one like mine, the Hindu veg meals are more "interesting." So I order those if there isn't a spicy non-veg meal.

I suspect that may be what's happening on a wider scale. Lots of people in North America and Europe are being exposed to Indian food and they like it. Hindu veg is one way to get it on a plane.

Also, non-veg food can sometimes cause intestinal discomfort at cabin pressure, if you catch my drift. Veg is usually less "gassy."

Once on BA business class LHR-BOM, I asked for the veg meal because the non-veg meal was "boring." The FA assumed I was veg and when sandwiches were passed out later, gave me the "boring" veg sandwich without even asking. My wife who had the "boring" non-veg meal got the "interesting" sandwich! Oh, well!


User currently offlineMas777 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 1999, 2936 posts, RR: 6
Reply 4, posted (10 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 11957 times:

Malaysia Airlines ALWAYS serves a (third) vegetarian option on all its longhaul flights and most medium haul flights in all classes.

User currently offlineGamps From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 469 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (10 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 11882 times:

As you mentioned the aroma of AVML, Hindu Veg is very tempting. So seasoned travelers may opt for it. Other reason for avoiding meat on flights out of India may be due to the perceived notion that meat in India is not hygenic - something which Lonely Planet and other guidebooks on India also warn the travelers.

And in Y, the obvious advantage of ordering AVML is the fact that you get your food before anyone else (in CX, SQ, LH, Delta etc). But in some flights which carry predominantly Indian passengers, half the plane would have ordered AVML - like SQ1 etc - so no advantage there  Smile

Cheers


User currently offlinePiedmontGirl From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 1124 posts, RR: 13
Reply 6, posted (10 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 11862 times:

Gamps:

And in Y, the obvious advantage of ordering AVML is the fact that you get your food before anyone else (in CX, SQ, LH, Delta etc).

Not necessarily.  Smile When I worked the coach galley I used to arrange the food in the carts so the special meals were served in the same sequence as everyone else. I would tell the F/A who was taking the cart that the special meals were on the first rack or two and would attach a post it note to the top of the cart with the seat number and meal type the passenger had ordered. I know several F/As with more than one carrier who use very much the same system.

Serving special meals first may sound nice, but it also makes the people who ordered them stand out like a sore thumb -- something they may not appreciate.


User currently offlineCha747 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 785 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 11770 times:

Piedmontgirl:

Again, reason 476 why you should be hired as an airline consultant. I've flown a few times where the communication between the galley F/A's and the F/A's with the carts was severly lacking. As a result, all of the special meals were offloaded onto the first few rows being serviced (without regard to special meal vs regular meal...I don't think the F/A's noticed/cared). As a result, people from the middle of the cabin onwards (I guess, backwards) did not get their special meals. One time, I was lucky...I pointed out to the F/A that I ordered a special meal...his reply was priceless, "uhh...okay...special meal...hmmm...i'll be right back." He'd already served all of them to the rows in front of me except for the last one.

Thanks again for all of your wise insight!



You land a million planes safely, then you have one little mid-air and you never hear the end of it - Pushing Tin
User currently offlineMog From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 11761 times:

As I write this, I have learnt a short while ago that certain specific routes in India (domestic) have been rendered "veg only" by Jet Airways. This is under active consideration by the other domestic airlines too.

One of the reasons for this is the halal/jhatka controversy with non-veg food in India. (Muslims want halal or bleeding the animal before slaughter . . . while Hindus/Sikhs/Christins and other would choose the more humane "jhatka" (or swift) method of slaughter) Jet Airways inflight magazine categorically states that all meat products uplifted are halal, but enquiries by yours truly with friends revealed that there was no such standing instruction, so it was always hit and miss. The other two airlines don't take a position on this.

So, safer to stay veggie . . . for more than one reason. In any case, the joys of "rendered poultry feed" and hormone enhanced meats are increasingly available in India, so veggie is the lesser of the risks.


User currently offlineCha747 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 785 posts, RR: 6
Reply 9, posted (10 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 11758 times:

Mog...you've really confused me this time...Hindus choose jhatka???

In anycase, this sounds like a reasonable move for domestic routes (veggie only option). With more of my friends and family eating non-veg food in India, however, how high is the demand for non-veg food on domestic flights? Or does that depend by route?



You land a million planes safely, then you have one little mid-air and you never hear the end of it - Pushing Tin
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