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Immersing into Emirates’ Eastern Africa menu

The airline has launched an exclusive Food and Wine Channels to give customers a behind-the-scenes look at how it creates on-board menus and works with regional and global partners

Faith Kyoumukama @martkinel

Remember way back when I talked about my urge to start reviewing airline meals? We recently reviewed Kenya Airways new flight menus.  And here comes another one. 

I was invited to sample the new East African menu by Emirates Airlines. They have introduced new foods for different classes of passengers flying from East African airports to Dubai. These are customers travelling from Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Entebbe and Addis Ababa. 

The good news is that each menu includes at least one dish that is influenced by local cuisine. Maybe one of these days, we are going to feast on mukimo,  pilau, muthokoi, ugali na samaki on Emirates flights.

Already, they have introduced food you might relate to, such as kuku wa kupaka and key wot from Ethiopia. This in addition to a selection of international cuisine to cater for other tastes. 

Other options are Misir besiga key wot, an Ethiopian spicy beef and lentil stew, served with steamed rice from Addis Ababa, nyama na irio, a Kenyan beef stew cooked with mashed peas with potatoes and corn served with the grilled carrot.

Grilled chicken served with spicy matoke (plantain), sautéed courgette and buttered carrots. Photo/ACE MAINA

Note that I am still on that carbohydrate diet. Indeed, nowadays, I don’t crave rice and soup anymore. So, disclaimer alert:  I will only give you a review of what I ate.

The launch took place at the rotating restaurant named The View at Movenpick Hotel in Westlands, Nairobi.  Emirates had brought in a chef who prepared the food fresh at the hotel. 

First, they brought for us bitings such as chicken wings and samosas with a few canapés. These bitings keep you busy before the main course but may end up making you full. When you’re belted-up on the plane you have limited things to do and eating is one good actor. 

For the main course, we had grilled chicken served with tomato, fried plantain, sautéed courgette and buttered carrots.  I loved their chicken at once.

Nothing extra, but it was soft and tender to chew and still tasty.  The second main course option was fish curry, served with rice and baked flatbread (chapati).

I liked the fish curry too, especially since it had the coconut-based sauce — a great pairing with rice, similar to a light version of groundnut sauce.  I was already full by the time we got to the third option so I took a pass.

Then came dessert, which I resisted since I’m off wheat. But there was a dark chocolate truffle on my table wanting to be devoured.

I looked again at my life choices and scoped on that dark chocolate. They say it’s good for the soul especially when you’re on diet.  I don’t regret my decision and would have even more if the chocolate had been offered.

I’m yet to explore this airline menu business further; hopefully, I will be able to compare the two experiences soon.  Last month, Emirates launched an exclusive Food and Wine Channel on its award-winning in-flight entertainment system.

The channel aims to give customers a behind-the-scenes look at how the carrier creates onboard menus and works with regional and global partners.

The food channel highlights the detail that goes into menu development by Emirates Chefs and ingredient sourcing for onboard meals. So, see you on my next flight to Dubai.

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