-Season 2, Dinner 036-
10 (Thu) February 2011
Shin Ramyeon (신라면)
with Bean Sprouts and Egg
The decision to eat Shin Ramyeon (신라면) upon my return from Manila was based completely on circumstance and not derived from a desire to construct poetic irony by bookending the comments that I had made on my departure from Seoul a few days earlier. Also, the low rating is due to the circumstances under which I ate or attempted to eat the meal and not related to my general dislike of the brand, which more concerns its exasperating omnipresence rather than its inherent taste or quality.
But more on that later.
The day started out quite nicely, in terms of food, a first for my 4-day trip. At the airport that morning, the Star Alliance business lounge was pleasantly absent of Shin Ramyeon, not being a facility specific to a Korean carrier, and instead offered several items to my liking: basil fried rice, chicken curry, and chicken congee, as well as Johnny Walker Black Label and Coca-Cola Light. It was the best meal that I had during the entire trip.
Due to a lack of seat availability, I had been not-so-reluctantly forced to upgrade my return flight to business class, which was worth every extra mile. Within 10 minutes of boarding, the not-so-unattractive flight attendant offered me a choice of beverages (yes, the flight attendants are progressively hotter as the seat prices go up). I chose the bubbly, obviously.
I find business class meals to be ridiculously amusing in a number of respects. (1) A printed menu is provided and describes the offerings like actual restaurant food. I chose the "Sauteed Seafood Delights in Mandarin-Style XO Sauce with Steamed Rice." (2) A stewardess/waitress comes in advance and writes the order down. (3) This part of the procedure features recommendations from a wine and liquor list, which is included in the menu. (4) Before the food is served, a white table cloth is draped over the "table" extracted from the armrest. (5) The meal is served in separate courses: appetizer, entree, dessert. (6) The silverware, which is not provided in a plastic bag but wrapped in an actual linen napkin, includes one implement for each course. (7) The napkin is an actual linen napkin. (8) The salt and pepper come in miniature porcelain shakers. (9) The several varieties of bread rolls, not just a simple white buns, are offered in a basket by a roving stewardess/waitress with tongs. (10) The butter is provided in a dish, not a plastic cup with a tear-off lid.
Although the food was marginally better than the crap served back in coach, particularly in terms of ingredients, it's still airplane food. They also provided a tube of gochujang, just in case the Korean passengers can't wait 2 hours for Korean spices.
But the best part of business class that can't be disputed is the booze. I asked for a "big" glass of Scotch after dinner, an 18-year-old Chivas Regal, and the lovely lass gave me the fattest pour that I've ever seen outside of home. For scale, I placed the glass next to a bottle of 250-ml water. I had 3 more just like it during the flight. Incidentally, I think the only thing better than a business class seat, even better than a first class seat, is a business class seat with an empty one beside it.
Anyway, by the time I got home, I was too drunk and too tired to do anything about food. I wanted some kind of spicy to wash away the icky from the past few days, but the only thing available that didn't require more than 10 minutes of prep was a single package of Shin Ramyeon, which I hadn't purchased but had involuntarily acquired through some promotion at the supermarket. And then my wife arrived to rekindle a fight that had started and not been resolved prior to my departure. So I really wasn't in an eating mood.
What a lousy 4 days.