Delicious satay sticks served in business and first class are a signature dish of Malaysia Airlines, with many passengers requesting a second helping.
And why not? These satay starters may be just a prelude to the main course, but that doesn’t detract from their authentically morish nature.
Executive Traveller went behind the scenes at Malaysia Airline’s catering facility, on the edge of Kuala Lumpur International Airport, to see how these inflight delights make their way from kitchen to cabin.
Satay is among around 30,000 meals prepared each day, with as many as 26,000 individual satay sticks alongside 200 litres of that rich peanut sauce. (Even the satay served on flights to Kuala Lumpur is prepared in this kitchen.)
Malaysia Airlines’ satay sticks use cuts of beef and chicken tenderloin which have been marinated in a tasty mix of shallots, turmeric (which gives the dish its characteristic yellow colour), garlic, lemongrass and galangal.
The chunks are threaded by hand onto wooden skewers, and then cooked using the traditional method on an open charcoal grill.
Just as you’d see at any hawker market satay stall, staff continually fan the flames to keep a consistent heat.
Close by, the largest vat of peanut sauce you’ve ever seen is simmering away.
When the satay sticks are fully cooked to 60°C, they’re quickly moved to a refrigeration unit where the temperature is rapidly dropped to below 5°C to seal in the flavour.
But they don't stay in the chiller rooms for long – within 12 hours they're loaded onto a Malaysia Airlines flight and served up to eager travellers with generous dollops of that peanut sauce.
Also read: Malaysia Airlines A330 business class review