QuickCheck: Does food taste different on airplanes?


EVER had grilled chicken when you're up in the sky on a plane and thought that it tasted different? Is this true?

Verdict:

TRUE

Being at a high altitude, according to experts, has a very real effect on our sense of smell and taste. In a pressurised cabin, our blood oxygen levels are lowered.

This reduces the ability of our olfactory receptors. Adding to that is the constantly circulating, dry air of the plane cabin that directly affects the nose.

Thus, there's actually some science involved to make airplane food more edible.

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Most major airlines have culinary design teams to curate menus. These dishes (and the aircraft ovens used to heat them) are designed so that the food isn’t severely affected by the change in altitude and pressure.

According to food experts, this means adding more flavour enhancers -- such as salt and sugar -- to make the food taste better on planes.

This certainly gives you a better appreciation for airline food the next time you dine 30,000 feet in the air.

References:

1. https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/ooh-mami-umami

2. https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2020/2/10/21117507/airplane-food-explained

3. https://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/travel/2022/07/12/chef-wan-partners-with-airline-to-bring-malaysian-cuisine-to-the-skies

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