This week, all my friends are converged at the Singapore Air Show. My envy of those in attendance wraps around me like a cheap perfume. Since I can’t be there, I thought I’d choose a photo of the airport I’ve visited that is closest to Changi Airport — Incheon International Airport in Seoul, South Korea. I went there in April 2008 to do a series of stories on the airport and Korean Air. I snapped this photo of a few planes from the Korean Air fleet right after our flight landed. Enjoy!
One of the many things I love about leaving the country is landing at international airports. You get to see airlines — and aircraft — that you don’t always see at U.S. international airports. I got to go visit Korean Air back in April 2008. After landing at Incheon International Airport, I whipped out the camera and started snapping away at all the heavy iron. Below is an Asiana
Airbus A330 Boeing 767 in what was then a newly introduced livery. Enjoy!
I was on my way to Seoul, South Korea to do a series of stories on Korean Air in April 2008 (has it been 3 years already?). I was flying out of Washington Dulles International Airport, which has a nice selection of flag carriers as tenants. While I was on my flight, I snapped a series of photos, including this Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767 sitting at the gate. Enjoy!
Here’s a question — why do people fly half way around the world for travel and then go straight to McDonald’s to eat? For me, half the fun of travel is trying out local flavors and cuisines. I’m ALL about taking in what the locals eat — and drink.
Back then, the Internet was in its primitive stages, so I bought a “Lonely Planet” guide to get an idea of what I would do in my off time. I’ve always been a big foodie, so I wanted to check out what was available locally.
Singapore is a very modern city that nearly had its ethnicity beaten out of it after decades of British colonial rule. The city is clean, modern and efficient. Unfortunately, it looks like any large north American city, and the restaurant scene is similar.
Lonely Planet told me about the famous Singapore food courts, which focus on local cuisine and delicacies in a basic setting at amazingly reasonable prices.
My boss wanted to have dinner at TGIFriday’s that first night we arrived. I demurred, saying I could go to TGI any day of the week at home. But how often was I going to have the chance to eat foods from China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Indian, sometimes fused together?
Some of the dishes I still remember include chili crabs, fishball noodles, hor fun, shark’s fin and satay bee hoon. The servers are very helpful in navigating the dishes, some of which might be a bit much for some American palates. Alcohol tends to be expensive, so we all just drank Tiger Beer, which wasn’t bad, although I’m not much of a beer drinker.
I love Paris, and have been many times for work and play. One time, I had a wonderful meal from Michelin-starred chef Guy Savoy — and at a fraction of the price of his usual expensive restaurants. I ate at a tiny six-table bistro across the street from his flagship restaurant, where, on that night, Savoy himself was running across the street between the two eateries, cooking in both kitchens. He visited each table and praised us for being so smart by eating at his little bistro with the smaller price tag.
I traveled to Sweden several times in the 1990s and fell in love with reindeer, especially a leg loin with a lingonberry sauce. Everything is served with Aquavit (similar to vodka), Sweden’s national drink. I did not, however, develop a taste for herrings in cream.
I’ve been to Brazil at least 10 times since 1994. I could do a whole blog post about the wonderful food of Brazil, some of which is similar to soul food. The national dish is feijoada, a wonderful stew of black beans, beef and pork. It is served with white rice and is eaten with your choice of farofa (made of toasted cassava flour and is similar to corn meal), pork rinds, bananas, fried collard greens and Brazilian pepper sauce. And of course, you MUST drink Brazil’s national drink, the caipirinha, is made with cachaça (Brazilian rum) and two limes, muddled with sugar served over ice (I make a mean one).
I made several trips to Oberpfafenhofen, Germany, near Munich, to visit a now-defunct aircraft manufacturer. The trip was never complete without a visit to Kloster Andechs, a monastery where the monks’ vocation is to make beer. Again, I’m not a big beer drinker, but this beer, coupled with the sausages, also made by the monks, was a meal that could become a vocation.
I attended a conference in Baveno, Italy, in the Lake Maggiore region north of Milan. The resort where we stayed had some of the worst food I’ve ever had in my life. But the trip ended on a high note when we were leaving. Our flight was leaving out of Lugano, Switzerland (too many strikes in Milan). The airport had a divine little restaurant run by a retired Michelin-starred chef who ran it as a hobby. I still dream about the pasta I ate there.
In April 2008, I went to Seoul, South Korea, with another reporter to write a series of stories on Korean Air. Our host was a young woman who was Korean but had grown up in the United States. She had created a list of places for us to eat, and all of them were American or Western.
But both of us wanted to focus on Korean cuisine, and our host obliged. I’ve always been a fan of Korean food (I could eat kim chee every day), but the highlight of my trip was to a hidden jewel of a restaurant called Sanchon.
Sanchon, owned and operated by a former buddhist monk, serves Korean Temple Food. I’m probably one of the biggest carnivores on the face of the earth, so I was highly suspicious about an all-vegetarian menu. I ate at Zen Palate in New York City and I still have nightmares about that meal 20 years later! But I digress.
The meal was fantastic. We sat on the floor, and our server brought a series of dishes in small bows nestled in baskets, and each one was delicious. We were also served a wonderful tea. We also went to a Dak-gui (grilled chicken) restaurant and a traditional Korean table barbecue restaurant.
So when you’re planning that next international trip, take a quick surf on the Internet and see what’s what in local cuisine at your final destination. Food is a key part of the journey and you’ll really miss out if you stick with restaurants you can easily visit when you’re at home.
I’d love to know some of the great places you’ve frequented when traveling internationally!
First, I have to thank you, my loyal readers, for making March my most successful month ever. According to my WordPress Site Stats, I had 5,188 views during the month. And this was a month when I didn’t blog for a week after battling an upper respiratory infection.
The top story in March was on the 29th, my first-ever product review: Lo & Sons’ Travel Tote, with 271 views. My other top posts are below.
- Let’s Play “Name That Airport!” March 10 – 258 views
- Random Aviation Photo, March 21 (St. Maarten) – 217 views
- Random Aviation Photo-And An Apology, March 28 (Korean Air) – 270 views
- Airport Concession Confessions, March 31 – 217 views
First, the apology. Last week was one of those rare ones where I was so sick, I actually took to my bed and didn’t do ANY work, including this blog. I haven’t been this sick since I began writing the blog, so I didn’t have a back-up plan. As a result, I only had one post last week, which is NOT like me at all.
So I apologize to you, my regular readers. And I assure you, I now have a good back-up plan just in case this happens again, so that the blog will go on even if I can’t. And tomorrow, I have a special treat — my first official product review, so don’t miss that.
Now, onto today’s picture. Back in April 2008, I went to Seoul, South Korea to do a series of stories on Korean Air. Lucky for me, Korean has a direct flight out of Washington Dulles. Double lucky for me, it was flown on a Boeing 747-400, my favorite plane of all time. And triple lucky, I got to sit in my favorite part of the plane — the hump, in business class. This is a shot of the plane I flew, sitting at its gate at Dulles. Enjoy!
Of course, we lead with Strange But True Aviation News over at the Things With Wings blog. Kids, we have TSA body scanner “issues,” an airport worker going for the fences, a major food malfunction on an easyJet flight and the never-ending debate of flight attendants versus passengers. And remember – I can’t make this stuff up!
In other news, my Aviation Week colleague Mike Mecham reports on Boeing’s efforts to find a successor for the 737. AvWeek’s Rupa Haria has some cool video of Korean Air’s Airbus A380 jumbo jet on the Things With Wings blog. And airlines are bringing up the “H” word — hedging — as strife in the Middle East causes oil prices to rise, reports AvWeek’s Darren Shannon.
Queen Elizabeth II needs help cutting the royal travel budget, reports website Monsters and Critics. Her Royal Highness is willing to pay someone up to $120,000 to become Head of Royal Travel’ at Buckingham Palace. Nice work if you can get it — but would YOU want to have to handle travel for the upcoming royal wedding??
The Cranky Flier offers us a cool look at the specs of aircraft painting. The Airplane Geeks continues recommendations for its avgeeks reading list, including four suggestions from me, your Aviation Queen. And Flightblogger posts about how Boeing came up with the unique color scheme for my beloved 747-8i.