AirAsia opens an airplane food restaurant in Kuala Lumpur

Lilit Marcus, CNNPublished 4th December 2019
Santan restaurant Malaysia
(CNN) — For many travelers, airplane food is synonymous with blandness. But AirAsia is betting that not only are their in-flight meals so good you'll book a ticket just to try them -- they also think you'll be happy to eat them when you're on land as well.
On December 2, the low-cost airline opened Santan, a restaurant in Kuala Lumpur that serves the same fare that's available on board AirAsia flights.
Santan is the Malay word for coconut milk, which is a staple of many Malaysian dishes.
On offer both on land and in the sky are classic Malaysian foods such as nasi lemak, satay skewers and beef rendang. There's also favorites from around Southeast Asia like Chinese-Malaysian style chicken rice, chicken inasal from the Philippines and Vietnamese pho.
AirAsia's hub is at the low cost-terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL).
Menu options were chosen to highlight countries that the airline connects, and the ingredients -- from coffee and tea to spices and produce -- were sourced from throughout the region.
A team of five chefs, and a group of culinary students were responsible for designing the menu.
The list of dishes on the ground at Santan is, unsurprisingly, much longer than the one on most flights because the restaurant doesn't face the space constraints of an airplane.
"We are very proud to extend what started out as an in-flight menu into new markets and reiterate our support for local and (Southeast Asian) producers, suppliers; apart from creating new job opportunities with affordable franchising," Catherine Goh, the restaurant's general manager, said in a news release.
AirAsia is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, but the company is setting its sights beyond Malaysia's borders. A representative for the airline tells CNN Travel that they hope to expand the Santan restaurant concept to other countries, including China and the United States.
Meanwhile, diners in Kuala Lumpur have the option of checking out the restaurant in person or ordering delivery online.
Santan, Lumpur Street, Mid Valley City, 58000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 4M8G+58