Alien's Day Out

Asiana Airline’s “Non Dairy” meal


Woah, at the end of my last blog post, I casually asked for some vegan grub recommendations in SF and Portland, and you guys wasted no time in writing in with a ginormous list of your favorite places! You guys are just brilliant~ I love that I can get guidance and suggestions from all you local vegans– I’m not going to be in either city for very long, but I’m going to try to check out as many as I can. Time, schedule, and budget permitting!

But anyway, I’m gonna backtrack a bit because I ought to blog about my airline food!

On my flight to the US, I took Asiana Airlines. As usual, I pre-ordered the vegan meal. For the first meal service, the main dish was white rice with Japanese-style curry and the sides were some salad and fruit. The curry was just your average Japanese-style curry. Tasty but not all that creative. Even though the label of the tray was marked as “VGML (Non-Dairy),” the bread roll’s ingredients list contained dairy milk, and the butter and dressing also weren’t vegan. I guess they only make sure that the main and side dishes are vegan, but then they just throw in regular packaged stuff to fill up the rest of the tray. Bummer.

For the second meal service, I got something a little more interesting… Roasted eggplant with flavorful rice and tomato sauce. It was actually quite tasty! Perhaps a little on the oily side (there was a pool of oil at the bottom), but that seems to be what most airlines do to add flavor and prevent things from going dry. The side salad was a greek-style chopped cucumber-tomato salad which was pretty good, but non-vegan bread roll was disappointing to see again. :)

Overall, both meals just were satisfying but not very creative or memorable. And they should stop putting dairy-based items on a “VGML (non-dairy)” tray. They ought to just serve vegan bread rolls and butter for everyone… it would make their lives so much easier. :)


  1. Ah, I was wondering whether you’d blog about the airline food.

    Vegan main + dairy sides is my experience as well. And sometimes when it comes to breakfast they offer you croissants or some other obviously unvegan pastry off the cart, which I find very strange.

    I like being served first though, and I do think that often the special meals look like they are much better in quality than the regular ones.

  2. I’ve never been served a vegetarian meal in an airplane yet (hopefully my mom took care of this issue for my flights this summer), but it doesn’t look that bad at all!
    I still think Korean Air has the best food, though ;)
    p.s. How do you preorder veg meals?

    • You just need to call the airline and make a request (providing them with your flight details). Check on the airline’s website what kind of options they have – it’s often better to know the meal code than just saying “vegan”, or be sure to explain vegetarian but no dairy, no eggs.

      It’s also good to confirm a day or two before (i.e. call again) – in the past that was often an absolute requirement, but I think nowadays, depending on the airline, it isn’t always. If your request wasn’t registered originally they need at least 24 hours to put a new one through.

      If you booked through a travel agency, they can take care of it too, although I personally prefer to call the airline direct!

      Normally when you board a plane, they will come around and check who ordered a special meal. You nearly always get served first too. :-)

  3. Have you asked(or demanded) the Asiana’s customer service (or whatever they have to listen to what their clients have to say…haha) that they should stop putting dairy items on a “VGML” tray?

    I’m not actually a vegan (but just not fond of red meats so almost eat like I’m a vegetarian), so don’t get into these problems and have no expectations with airline food haha BUT my point is they probably are not even aware of what they are doing unless someone tells them bluntly. and it’d even more powerful if their customers tell them from their experience. So you might wanna demand them even if it’s one voice and they ignore at first. I noticed and heard that Asia-based airlines are not good w/meeting minorities’ demands (by minorities I meant, vegetarians/vegans, the disables, etc.) even if it’s 5-star airline like Asiana. (I once flew w/them having a cast on my left foot, but they did nothing when I asked for a hlep!) It just hasn’t been one of their concerns when they define the service, I guess? though putting nice clothes and a fake smile isn’t eveything. haha

    I’m sorry it got too long, and probably you are thinking ‘who the hell is?’ haha
    I found out about your blog and vegan cookings from your bake sale last year, and since then I’ve been following this and sometimes order some stuff from you.
    Thanks for the wonderful pics and stories always! and have fun in california!

    • Hi HJ! Yes, I remember you! :)
      Hm, no, I haven’t contacted Asiana’s customer service after this flight. I will double check with them for my return flight though! Yea, I’ve found that Asiana isn’t as great as they make themselves out to be. hehe. ANyway, thanks for the comment!! Hope you’re well~~

  4. When i flew Asiana airlines i was really happy actually. I only had a vegetarian meal as my teacher ordered it for me, but my first lot was all vegan. The main dish to Korea was just a nice simple noodle and veggie stir fry. On the way back to Australia, i had a yummy pasta with tomato sauce. That lot wasn’t vegan though, there was a yogurt stick.

    I personally like plane food to be simple, tastey food. I don’t mind if it isn’t very creative. I have had really bad air plane sickness on my first overseas trip to France, and i guess i associated a lot of that with the food. Like this yucky muskaka slop :(!

    • Hi Clon! Thanks for the comment… Yea, maybe I’m expecting too much from airplane food. It certainly has gotten waaaay better from when I was a kid. I used to detest plane food, but now I actually enjoy it most of the time~ :)

  5. I remember the aubergine main dish.. it was quite tasty!
    Great to hear that local vegans chip in with their informations :) It’s your generosity of sharing information about Seoul for vegans being paid off, in my opinion! :)

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  9. “Oh my god.. there’s freaking butter in my bread, the world is ending”… get over it! Hey! Enough of your drama. You paid frugally for that economy class ticket and if you can’t stand whatever small inconsistencies in the bits of side dishes or butter or bread, then either take a canoe to wherever you are flying to or bring your own damn food with you!
    Another lowlife but what can one expect from Americans!

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  11. I just flew with Asiana over the past month and asked for a dairy free meal – they offered what was termed “low lactose”.

    What I received was labelled as vegan but actually said “strictly vegan with the exception of dairy”

    I was most gobsmacked!

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