Crafted by Thai celebrity chef Hong Thaimee, AirAsia’s Inspi(RED) Burger is loaded with a thick chicken patty flavored with Thai fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass, topped with shredded purple cabbage and tomato.
A red burger with a Thai twist
OOH LA LAI - Lai S. Reyes (The Philippine Star) - August 22, 2019 - 12:00am

When was the last time you took notice of the color of your food?

Eating the rainbow isn’t really a new concept, but it actually helps supply your body with all the nutrients you need. (Sorry, the Skittles you’re munching on right now doesn’t count.)

And while it’s cool that blue bolsters creativity, yellow triggers joy and green relieves stress, the first color of the rainbow is a particularly good one. Red boosts your attention span, makes you hungry, and yes, it can actually help you save another person’s life.

AirAsia takes a stand in the fight against HIV/AIDS through its Inspi(RED) Burger. By joining forces with (RED), founded by U2 front man and long-time AIDS activist Bono and fellow activist Bobby Fisher, the low-cost carrier offers this inflight meal to raise awareness and support for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Crafted by activist, international speaker, and (RED) ambassador chef Hong Thaimee, the Red burger draws on her Northern Thai roots to deliver a truly East-meets-West experience. The red beetroot-infused bun is loaded with a thick chicken patty flavored with Thai fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass, topped with shredded purple cabbage and tomato.

Food trip in the sky: AirAsia launched its new Santan inflight menu — Adobo Espesyal, Salisbury Steak, Onigirazo and Cinnamon Roll — at the beautiful Amorita Resort in Bohol.

As a Thai chef based in New York, chef Hong has always wanted to combine the best of both worlds — Thai flavors and the classic American burger —  “to make a meal that would be easy for airline passengers to enjoy.”

“Since I started my culinary journey, it’s been my passion and mission to bring Thai food to a wider audience, and it’s exciting to think that I can introduce the flavors of my hometown of Chiang Mai to the eight million guests who fly with AirAsia monthly,” said chef Hong, a former model and business executive who moved to New York to become one of the most visible faces of Thai food in the US.

This exotic burger showcases the delicious flavors of Thailand. Chef Hong shares her grandma’s recipe — the zesty prik noom mayo (green chili mayonnaise) — that really packs a punch.

“But what makes this Red Burger extra-special is the fact that it symbolizes AirAsia’s efforts to combat HIV/AIDS,” notes Gilbert Simpao, chief commercial officer, Air Asia.

 Using her platform, chef Hong also takes her fight against the dreaded disease to a whole new level — 35,000-feet above sea level.

“Just a few years ago, HIV meant a death sentence,” chef Hong said in a magazine interview. But with my recent trip to Zambia with (RED), I saw with my own eyes how vital these funds are to providing medication and care.”

New York-based celebrity Thai chef Hong Thaimee

And she’s positive that her partnership with AirAsia’s Santan menu, alongside T&Co., could “keep people with HIV/AIDS alive.”

For every Inspi(RED) Burger sold, 10 percent of sales will go to the Global Fund to support HIV/AIDS testing, counseling, treatment and prevention programs in the ASEAN region.

Guests are encouraged to pre-book the Inspi(RED) Burger with a complimentary drink at a promotional price of P140 on AirAsia flights across all AirAsia destinations.

Food trip in the sky

Why does food always taste so good when you travel or you’re on vacation? I guess it’s because it’s such a pleasure to eat a meal I haven’t had to cook myself. The pleasures of cooking are easily lost in the scramble of daily lives, especially with my son’s weird food moods to account for.

And so I always look forward to out-of-town or out-of-the-country coverage to enjoy the skewered delights at a roadside barbecue joint, try the food items featured in the food blog “Masarap Ba?” or sometimes dine in fancy restos.

On a recent trip to Bohol for the launch of AirAsia’s new Santan menu, my culinary adventure started 30,000 feet above sea level.

As soon as the seatbelt sign was turned off, the crew got their carts rolling. And since I wasn’t the one who booked the flight, I was hoping whoever did it ordered my favorite Uncle Chin’s chicken rice meal for lunch. Instead, I got a serving of the Beef Tapa, which is surprisingly good!

More delicious food awaited at the beautiful Amorita Resort, where the new Santan menu was launched.

Philippines AirAsia head of ancillary Pax Paloma, Amorita general manager Leeds Trompeta, Philippines AirAsia chief commercial officer Gilbert Simpao, Amorita director for marketing Katalene Agmata at the launch of AirAsia’s Santan menu at Amorita in Panglao, Bohol

AirAsia Philippines brings back its favorite Filipino classics to the inflight menu like the Adobo Espesyal, tender chicken cooked in the perfect blend of soy sauce, vinegar and black pepper.

Aside from this quintessential Pinoy fare, Salisbury Steak has also been added to the menu. A personal favorite of AirAsia Philippines CEO Ricardo P. Isla, the juicy beef patty is served with a creamy mushroom gravy over steamed rice.

During the launch, a fun game was held where guests were asked to try five food items and determine if they were airline or restaurant food.

We had no idea that the featured food items — Adobo Espesyal, Salisbury Steak, Onigirazo and Cinnamon Roll — were the actual dishes featured on Santan’s new inflight menu.

The winning team won AirAsia round-trip tickets to the local destination of their choice.

My team lost by one point because we thought the Onigirazo and Sushi Bento dish was restaurant food. This appetizing bento box consists of BBQ salmon onigirazu, inure sushi, California crab sushi roll and tamale sushi roll. And it’s such a risk to serve sushi (with its fresh ingredients) onboard. Or so we thought.

Again, AirAsia always makes the impossible possible.

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