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jlaforteza
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Interesting Interpretation of "Cold Meal" and "Hindu Meal"

Mon May 15, 2017 4:20 am

I flew on United 178 last night from KIX (Osaka Kansai) to GUM (Guam). Their meal choices last night were chicken and fish. Fish seemed to be a popular choice among the passengers, mostly Japanese. I think about half the cabin ordered fish. I was the only one to order a special meal.

I have begun trying to order some of the special meals on international flights. On a whim, I decided to order a Hindu meal since it looks pretty tasty from other pictures I've seen and posts I've seen about it. I understand it may not be easy to order some meals and in some places may be up for interpretation. Here are some pictures from my "Cold Meal" on Asiana and "Hindu Meal" in United Business last night along with my thoughts on it. But first, let me show you another interesting interpretation of a meal on my earlier flight that day.

Asiana from ICN to KIX

I was returning from Seoul to Guam via Osaka and used miles and paid 25,000 miles and a few dollars for tax to score a business saver award with a mixed itinerary. This would be the fastest option to get back to Guam. And I wanted to use up all my United miles. I sat in economy on an Asiana flight. The plane was an A320 and was in a single class configuration. On this flight, my itinerary said I would be served a "Cold Meal." I was thinking a salad, but what I got was beef bulgogi and rice served in a box. It wasn't bad. I added gochujang, a Korean spicy pepper paste since I love spicy food.

Nice "Cold Meal."

Image

United 178 Business Class KIX to GUM

Service:

One thing I hear about when flying United is the Guam based crew, usually ex Continental Micronesia crew, tend to be much friendlier than their U.S. based crew. On this flight, our crew was Guam based. They certainly did seem more relaxed. Though I wasn't called by name, the flight attendants were very friendly and came around the cabin offering drinks. No carts either. They went around and asked everyone individually and brought out drinks individually. No condescending tone or attitude. Doing it this way is slower, but I appreciate the personal attention I got.

Pre-Flight:

I don't get to fly in a premium class often, so when I was asked what I wanted to drink, I could've had whatever I wanted. Instead of champagne or beer or juice or water, all of which I had in the lounge earlier, I chose to drink tea.

A Cup of English Tea with sugar and cream (coffeemate) served with almonds.

Image

The Meal

The overall presentation. My, what an interesting looking meal. My initial thought was maybe this was how the Japanese or Guam caterers interpret Hindu Meal. I'll review each part of the meal. But it certainly wasn't what I expected. But then again, I had no expectation, either. That's probably why I actually enjoyed the meal as it was different than what the other passengers got. And it certainly was one of the better meals I had on a United flight despite not being what I thought I would get. The flight attendant serving the meal was quite impressed with the meal.

I don't know if she had ever served a Hindu special meal on any of her flights. But she seemed impressed. Mind you in Guam, I can not think of one Indian restaurant, and the best Indian food was made by a local Hindu person for an interfaith prayer night. And I've never really spent that much time in Osaka or any of the cities served by United from Guam, so I wouldn't know if there are lots of Indian restaurants in those places. Again, it's all about expectation and interpretation.

Image

Salad

The salad was a standard salad. Wasn't too cold and the vegetables seemed crispy and not wilted. The dressing was a lemon vinaigrette. I also added some lemon from the wedge. Certainly made it more sour than I needed it to be.

Image

Bread

It was naan bread. And this was probably the only part of the meal that one would consider "Hindu" or Indian. It was cold and not very tasty. However, when I added the vegetables on top or soaked up some of the sauce from the salmon, it wasn't too bad.

Image

The Main Course

Yes, your eyes are not tricking you. You are looking at rice pilaf, stir fried vegetables and salmon. This is what is considered a "Hindu Meal." My initial reaction was this is going to be interesting. I don't think I've ever in all my times eaten Indian food seen anything like this. But I said to myself, it's part of the adventure of flying United. And I'm going to enjoy it.

Image

I definitely didn't taste any Indian spices. I added salt and pepper to add taste to everything. The vegetables were stir fried and the rice was long grain. I couldn't tell what flavor the sauce on top of the salmon was. Maybe it was a pepper sauce? However, the salmon was very good. Probably a good six ounce serving. And it wasn't dry or overcooked. It actually was nice. And because of that, the meal turned out fine, though certainly not Hindu by any stretch of the imagination.

Final Thoughts

It was an interesting meal to say the least. I know I'm a flyer that usually carries no expectation, especially flying United now a days. However for what kind of meal it was and the service and attention I got, it actually was all pretty decent. As I continue experimenting with the special meals, I know I think next time I'll stick to Asian Vegetarian on these routes. The one time I had that, the meal actually did have an Indian, curry, taste.
 
ryder1650
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Re: Interesting Interpretation of "Cold Meal" and "Hindu Meal"

Mon May 15, 2017 5:27 am

Interesting, that Hindu meal is definitely mis-catered. Per United's guidelines, Hindu meals "follow vegetarian guidelines by excluding all meat and seafood, and are spicy in content."

Hindu meals are supposed to be vegetarian on UA.

https://www.united.com/web/en-US/conten ... fault.aspx
 
unrave
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Re: Interesting Interpretation of "Cold Meal" and "Hindu Meal"

Mon May 15, 2017 7:15 am

Except for the pulav that doesn't appear Hindu at all.
The only time I have flown United is on its fifth freedom SIN-HKG-SIN routing and we were served delicious Indian vegetarian food on both the legs. But then finding Indian caterers in SIN and HKG should be much easier than find Indian caterers in Guam.
 
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jlaforteza
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Re: Interesting Interpretation of "Cold Meal" and "Hindu Meal"

Mon May 15, 2017 9:45 am

unrave wrote:
The only time I have flown United is on its fifth freedom SIN-HKG-SIN routing and we were served delicious Indian vegetarian food on both the legs. But then finding Indian caterers in SIN and HKG should be much easier than find Indian caterers in Guam.


I am also flying this route next week and have ordered a "Muslim Meal." I may also switch to a Hindu meal too.

It is true that for all the culture that Guam promotes, Indian food is sorely lacking here. But probably not much of a demand.
 
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jlaforteza
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Re: Interesting Interpretation of "Cold Meal" and "Hindu Meal"

Mon May 15, 2017 9:46 am

unrave wrote:
The only time I have flown United is on its fifth freedom SIN-HKG-SIN routing and we were served delicious Indian vegetarian food on both the legs. But then finding Indian caterers in SIN and HKG should be much easier than find Indian caterers in Guam.


I am also flying this route next week and have ordered a "Muslim Meal." I may also switch to a Hindu meal too.

It is true that for all the culture that Guam promotes, Indian food is sorely lacking here. But probably not much of a demand.
 
Gr8Circle
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Re: Interesting Interpretation of "Cold Meal" and "Hindu Meal"

Tue May 16, 2017 5:02 pm

ryder1650 wrote:
Interesting, that Hindu meal is definitely mis-catered. Per United's guidelines, Hindu meals "follow vegetarian guidelines by excluding all meat and seafood, and are spicy in content."

Hindu meals are supposed to be vegetarian on UA.

https://www.united.com/web/en-US/conten ... fault.aspx


As far as I know, most Hindus who are vegetarian, would just settle for a normal veggie meal......the term "Hindu meal" is used for those special meals that are prepared with no onion/garlic/potato, etc. because there are some select Hindu communities that avoid eating any vegetables that are grown below ground......the fish in a Hindu meal is an obvious blunder...
 
ryder1650
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Re: Interesting Interpretation of "Cold Meal" and "Hindu Meal"

Tue May 16, 2017 6:00 pm

Gr8Circle wrote:

the term "Hindu meal" is used for those special meals that are prepared with no onion/garlic/potato, etc. because there are some select Hindu communities that avoid eating any vegetables that are grown below ground........


That is a Jain meal and United does offer that as an additional special meal option for flights to India.
 
N415XJ
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Re: Interesting Interpretation of "Cold Meal" and "Hindu Meal"

Tue May 16, 2017 11:46 pm

How bizzare. I understand that usually what's labeled a 'Hindu' meal will be prepared in some sort of Indian style, but that isn't the biggest offense, as a meal can taste 'western' and still conform to Hindu dietary laws. The worst part of this is the salmon... it's like ordering a kosher meal and getting a pork chop. I'd imagine a Hindu who ordered this would be pretty pissed off that they didn't get what was advertised. If I were you, I'd post this on twitter and tag United so people with strict dietary guidelines who rely on special meals can take note that UA might not follow through.
 
United1
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Re: Interesting Interpretation of "Cold Meal" and "Hindu Meal"

Wed May 17, 2017 4:59 am

N415XJ wrote:
How bizzare. I understand that usually what's labeled a 'Hindu' meal will be prepared in some sort of Indian style, but that isn't the biggest offense, as a meal can taste 'western' and still conform to Hindu dietary laws. The worst part of this is the salmon... it's like ordering a kosher meal and getting a pork chop. I'd imagine a Hindu who ordered this would be pretty pissed off that they didn't get what was advertised. If I were you, I'd post this on twitter and tag United so people with strict dietary guidelines who rely on special meals can take note that UA might not follow through.


UAs Hindu meals are not supposed to contain meat so clearly there was a catering error in KIX. As I am sure you know not all Hindus are vegetarians and not all airlines Hindu meals are meat free...if you order a Hindu meal on EK for instance it can contain fish, lamb, chicken and really anything except beef. My bet is the caterer in doesn't do a lot of UA Hindu meals and simply goofed.

If the OP is really that concerned about it perhaps a course of action would be to email UA with their concerns about the catering and see what happens...generally I've gotten miles when catering oops happened. That being said the meal looked great :)
I know the voices in my head aren't real but sometimes their ideas are just awesome!!!
 
blrsea
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Re: Interesting Interpretation of "Cold Meal" and "Hindu Meal"

Wed May 17, 2017 6:12 am

Typically in many carriers like BA/LH/AF/ME3/AI etc, Hindu meal is a meat-based meal with no Beef. It typically has chicken or lamb. AVML - Asian vegetarian meal on these carriers is the typical Indian vegetarian meal.

BTW, all hindus are not vegetarians, around 70% of Indians eat meat. Many Hindus tend to avoid beef, while muslims avoid pork. Muslim meal is typically halaal meat, where animal is killed as per islamic practises.
 
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jlaforteza
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Re: Interesting Interpretation of "Cold Meal" and "Hindu Meal"

Wed May 17, 2017 6:50 am

United1 wrote:
That being said the meal looked great :)


My thoughts exactly.
 
N415XJ
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Re: Interesting Interpretation of "Cold Meal" and "Hindu Meal"

Fri May 19, 2017 9:12 pm

United1 wrote:
As I am sure you know not all Hindus are vegetarians and not all airlines Hindu meals are meat free...if you order a Hindu meal on EK for instance it can contain fish, lamb, chicken and really anything except beef.

Actually, I didn't know that. I was under the impression that practicing Hindus avoid all meat like Muslims or Jews avoid pork. It would be interesting to know if meat-eating or vegetarian Hindus are the majority worldwide.
 
United1
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Re: Interesting Interpretation of "Cold Meal" and "Hindu Meal"

Sat May 20, 2017 12:56 am

N415XJ wrote:
United1 wrote:
As I am sure you know not all Hindus are vegetarians and not all airlines Hindu meals are meat free...if you order a Hindu meal on EK for instance it can contain fish, lamb, chicken and really anything except beef.

Actually, I didn't know that. I was under the impression that practicing Hindus avoid all meat like Muslims or Jews avoid pork. It would be interesting to know if meat-eating or vegetarian Hindus are the majority worldwide.


Only around 30% of Hindus are vegetarian the other 70% will eat meat but generally avoid beef. Fish on that meal did not at all surprise me...a cheese burger would have been a bit more controversial.
I know the voices in my head aren't real but sometimes their ideas are just awesome!!!
 
vtmaa
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Re: Interesting Interpretation of "Cold Meal" and "Hindu Meal"

Tue May 30, 2017 2:31 am

Hindu meals usually is a non-beef meal, not necessarily Indian style. Similarly, Muslim meals just guarantee meals without pork. don't expect Arab or south asian style meals. You may end up with steak tips and mashed potatoes. Most airlines (where possible) now provide Indian style meals when you order Asian vegetarian. Although this may not be possible departing from a location not used to catering Indian meals.
 
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jlaforteza
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Re: Interesting Interpretation of "Cold Meal" and "Hindu Meal"

Thu Jun 01, 2017 5:37 am

vtmaa wrote:
Hindu meals usually is a non-beef meal, not necessarily Indian style. Similarly, Muslim meals just guarantee meals without pork. don't expect Arab or south asian style meals. You may end up with steak tips and mashed potatoes. Most airlines (where possible) now provide Indian style meals when you order Asian vegetarian. Although this may not be possible departing from a location not used to catering Indian meals.


Thanks for the good clarification.

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