We rank SIA's new hawker food menu served in 'takeout' boxes on Economy Class

So you know what to eat on your next VTL flight.

Mandy How | November 16, 2021, 06:57 PM

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Singapore Airlines (SIA) has unveiled its latest line-up of cabin products, which will be rolled out on its Boeing 737-8 fleet in the coming weeks.

Tech and specs aside, its range of hawker favourites — that was previously not available in Economy Class — was probably the most exciting thing for us.

The five local dishes are:

  • Congee with pork ball and century egg
  • Mee siam
  • Singapore carrot cake with prawn
  • Singapore laksa with prawn
  • Nasi lemak with chicken

There's also an additional dish of cauliflower with hummus and pearl couscous, barley with edamame, but we'll ignore that in favour of today's localised theme.

A pulut hitam cake will accompany your choice of main course.

Nice. Should have eaten more. Photo by Mandy How.

Served in a paper box

Everything, including "wet" dishes like laksa and mee siam, is served in a paper box.

Photo by Mandy How

While deviating from the typical hawker and even plane experience (SIA previously used casseroles), we'll have to say that the serving method didn't detract from the meal like we thought it would.

Although small in appearance, the airline promises that the boxes can hold the same amount of food as its casserole presentation, except in a "deeper and more secure" manner.

Photo by Mandy How

Photo by Mandy How

Photo by Mandy How

Photo by Mandy How

The sustainable packaging is also designed to retain heat, which we found to be largely true for the half an hour we spent dining aboard the aircraft.

Because we were lucky enough to try all five options, here's a (subjective) ranking of them.

5. Nasi lemak with chicken

Photo by Mandy How

We had high hopes for this, but alas.

There was little of the coconutty fragrance in the rice, while the ingredients were lacklustre (the otah had not much taste and the anchovies didn't hold up their crispiness. Sad).

The chicken, while slightly dry, did not come with bones, which earned it points for convenience.

4. Mee siam

Gravy-laden dishes might stain the box's edges. Photo by Mandy How

While submerged in a generous portion of gravy, the mee siam lacked the element of spice and tang that makes it appetising.

It was not bad, certainly, but it wasn't good, either.

3. Singapore laksa with prawn

Photo by Mandy How

The dishes improve exponentially from here.

The laksa was surprisingly decent, on par with one you might randomly order at hawker centres.

Both the mee siam and the laksa came with a whole hard-boiled egg (instead of half), which is very important in completing the dish.

2. Singapore carrot cake with prawn

Photo by Mandy How

This was—dare we say—even better than some of the carrot cakes we've had at hawker centres.

The smell hits you immediately when you open the box, and the dish was glorious when served piping hot.

With a mildly spicy kick, the dish was just slightly off in terms of taste (we couldn't place our finger on it). So close to perfection (for airplane food).

To note: The prawns in the mains are not exactly prawns, but shrimps with a frozen seafood feel to it.

Photo by Mandy How

1. Congee with pork ball and century egg

Photo by Mandy How


Warm and gooey in the best possible way, easy to slurp up, and might actually make the flight feel cosy.

Very much like the congee you'd get at a good dim sum house.

Dishes served on rotation

In total, there are more than 40 new dishes (including international cuisines) on rotation on different flights.

You can find out more about the meals here, or check your in-flight menu for your upcoming trip.

Top image by Mandy How