Singapore Airlines adds hawker items to snack menu

First and Business Class passengers can now enjoy Hokkien mee or carrot cake on long-haul flights, as SIA adds some much-needed local flair to the snack menu.

One of the biggest weaknesses of the Singapore Airlines premium cabin experience has always been the snacks menu.

Sure, the airline invests heavily in its meals, curated by an panel of celebrity chefs, paired with fine wines, occasionally with a “farm to plane” flourish. But when it comes to snacks, the selection almost seems like an afterthought.

Whether you’re in First or Business Class, the bulk of the options consist of instant noodles (albeit fancily plated on bone china), sandwiches and heavily-processed junk food that would be more at home in a school canteen than a cabin clad in Poltrona Frau leather. 

Mid-flight snack in Business Class: fancy plated instant noodles
Snack basket

I’ve often thought of this as a missed opportunity to showcase uniquely Singapore snacks (no, Gardenia doesn’t count) or even hawker cuisine.

Well speak of the devil, because two local options have popped up on the long-haul snack menu from October onwards: carrot cake and Hokkien mee.

It’s a small step, but a welcome one.

Singapore Airlines’ enhanced snack menu

First and Business Class passengers on Singapore Airlines can now look forward to a couple of hawker items on the snack menu:

  • Singapore Carrot Cake with Prawns
    • A hearty traditional dish of fried savoury radish-rice flour cake with prawns and pickled turnip
  • Fried Hokkien Mee
    • A popular local fare of noodles cooked with prawn, squid and pork

These items are only available on long-haul flights from Singapore,  and the fried Hokkien mee in particular is limited to non-stop flights to the USA. You can check the menu for your flight up to eight days in advance via this link.

Here’s a sample of the full snack menu in Business Class on SQ22 from Singapore to Newark.

And here’s the snack menu for Suites/First Class on SQ26 from Singapore to Frankfurt. 

I think it’s fantastic that Singapore Airlines is finally taking the opportunity to showcase more hawker options onboard, even for those who don’t select it as their Book the Cook or main menu option. Hokkien mee is the kind of unapologetically lardy comfort food I could see myself tucking into mid-flight, with a nice glass of champagne to cut the richness ever-so-slightly.

Here’s a photo of the Hokkien mee from a MileLion community member, taken on a recent non-stop flight to New York. 

Hokkien Mee | Photo: AlexP @KrungThep

I don’t have a photo of the carrot cake, but it should look quite similar to what’s currently offered on the BTC menu (though perhaps served as a smaller portion).

Carrot Cake (from BTC menu) | Photo: @HoreHare71

I hope they don’t stop here, because I can think of many other hawker items that would make for great snacks: wanton mee, bak chor mee, maybe a hearty fish soup for those who want to count their calories.

Granted, there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Even with the enhancements, SIA’s Suites/First Class snack menu is a far cry from the beef sliders, prawn cocktail and other movie snacks that Emirates First Class passengers can expect (which is on top of an extensive list of appetisers and mains from the regular menu, served anytime).

Emirates movie snack menu

Moreover, I still feel the overall lineup could be a better reflection of Singapore’s rich food heritage.

Here’s an example of ANA’s First Class snack menu. Note how many of the items are reflective of the airline’s Japanese roots, whether it’s the izakaya-style sake accompaniments, the Ippudo ramen, or the rice bowls. One glance and you’d know straight away where this comes from. 

On the other hand, remove the carrot cake and Hokkien mee from SIA’s snack menu, and it could pretty much be any airline’s. I mean, no disrespect to Lay’s, Ruffles and Kit Kat, but they’re about as Singaporean as Kevin Kwan (yes, I’m edgy).

I realise that many brands may not be able to produce the kind of volume that Singapore Airlines requires, but in a hypothetical situation where I could pick and choose, I’d be looking at things like Shermay’s prawn crackers, IRVINS salted egg fish skins, Fragrance bak kwa, Aroma Truffle chips or Cookie Museum cookies. That’d be a snack basket with much more personality than the status quo.

Conclusion

Singapore Airlines First and Business Class passengers on long-haul flights can now enjoy two hawker favourites as snack options, adding some much-needed local flair to the selection.

With any luck, the airline will also take the opportunity to revise the rest of its snacks, because there isn’t a whole lot uniquely Singaporean about it at the moment. 

What snacks would you like see Singapore Airlines offer?

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Gordon

Roti prata would be easy to do and nomnom! The chocolates and crisps should be more alas please. KitKat doesn’t cut it lah

Steve

Agree with the Roti Prata, but I like my Ruffles and Kit Kat in Business 🙂

Grace

Bedok Chwee kuay

Anderson

This is great news! Enough of zing-up instant noodles and sandwiches. I hope they cater enough as I will be certain it will be gone before mid flight. Frozen dim sum are easy to warm up and delicious… I wish they will upgrade their non-alcoholic drinks menu. Can we get rid of royal sparkle, midsummer breeze and the like. Cathy Pacific kiwi coconut is yum. Also enough of the trio of Guatemala, Brazilians and Columbian. Can we have Indonesian Mandailing and other craft coffees instead. Finally, I hate SQ fruit basket. Yes, its hygienic but I want freshly cut mango… Read more »

Mr Roboto

Eggless curry pok

Spoon

I’d be looking at things like Shermay’s prawn crackers, IRVINS salted egg fish skins, Fragrance bak kwa, Aroma Truffle chips or Cookie Museum cookies. That’d be a snack basket with much more personality than the status quo.”

LOL – that’d also be a snack basket with much more sodium than your chem lab experiment. I’d much prefer fresh (albeit packaged if that makes it easier for SQ) fruit snacks.

Andy

Would be amazing if they could offer satay as a snack too 🙂

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