AirAsia has opened a restaurant serving actual airplane food – charging just RM15 for a meal with drink

AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said it was always his dream to own both an airline and a restaurant. With Santan’s opening in Kuala Lumpur, both dreams have been achieved.
LinkedIn/Tony Fernandes, Facebook/Santan

“I’m craving airplane food,” said no one ever – until now, maybe.

Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia is so confident in the quality of the original dishes served on its flights that it has opened a restaurant selling them.

Situated on the first floor of the Mid Valley Megamall right in the heart of busy Kuala Lumpur city, Santan and T&CO opened its doors to the public on Tuesday (Dec 3) morning.

According to Santan’s website, a meal and drink at the restaurant costs RM15 (S$3.90, or US$3.60).

The menu so far includes dishes such as Pak Nasser’s nasi lemak, nasi padang beef rendang, nyonya curry laksa, fried chicken with nam prik and chicken satay with peanut sauce.

In a report, Reuters quoted Santan Restaurant and T&CO Cafe general manager, Catherine Goh, as saying that 30 per cent of the restaurant’s menu was derived from AirAsia’s existing in-flight menu.

The rest of the menu at Santan, which means coconut pulp in Malay, was developed by a team of five chefs and culinary arts students, she said.

In fact, the airline is so sure its dishes will be a hit with consumers that AirAsia group CEO Tony Fernandes wants to franchise it internationally. According to the Reuters report, Fernandes already has his eyes set on New York.

“Our dream is to have one in Times Square,” he reportedly said.

In a LinkedIn post, Fernandes said he had dreamed of owning an airline and a fast food restaurant since the age of five.

“I have an airline. Now finally a restaurant,” he said, adding that Goh had turned his vision into reality in a short span of two months.

Describing Santan as ASEAN’s “first competitor to the American fast food chains”, Fernandes said the restaurant had made history by being the first quick service restaurant serving airline food to be opened by an airline.

In the post accompanied by photos of himself dining at Santan, Fernandes also commended staff at Santan for being friendly, “just like the airline”.

“Low cost doesn’t mean low quality. Food is high quality but very affordable… It doesn’t cost anything to be nice or to smile,” he wrote.

Read also: