I like airports. If I’m in an airport, it means I’m going somewhere. I like going places. I also like airport food. Whenever I’m in a new airport, I check out all of the little stores and restaurants, searching for vegan options. Even if I’m not hungry or have no money to spend, I just like to see what’s available. When I find something vegan, especially something cool that’s vegan, I get so excited. Beyond vegetable sushi, cheeseless pizza and Starbuck’s soy lattes, I’ve found Alternative Banking Company cookies (San Fransisco) and NuGo Bars (Miami).
We arrived at the Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima, Peru around 9:00 p.m., plenty early for our 1:00 a.m. flight. We didn’t arrive hungry but there’s something about airports that makes me want to eat. It’s a welcome distraction when you have a lot of time to kill. There weren’t many vegan options, we narrowed it down to an overpriced fruit cup at Starbucks or cheese-free pizza from Papa John’s. We went for the pizza and the results were, as you can see above, less than stellar.
With a quick online search, I discovered Papa John’s thin crust pizza has milk in it. The original crust, which we ordered, appears to be suitable for vegans. Just to be safe, you should confirm before ordering.
After dinner, we wandered around the airport and discovered some vegan treats in the gift shops. I picked up a jar of sacha inchi Incan Peanuts nuts, the Inca peanuts we discovered at AlmaZen, and a small bottle of sacha inchi oil. They were super overpriced, $6.99 USD for the nuts and $3.99 USD for the oil, but I felt I just had to have them. I went for the plain nuts but there were several kinds I would have liked to try. The peanuts are long gone but I’m left with the oil and not exactly sure what to do with it. Maybe I should add it to a smoothie like I would flax seed oil? Any other ideas?
The gift shops at the Lima airport sell a large selection of Cafe Britt chocolate. We bought small packages of dark chocolate covered passion fruit, guava, lucuma and pineapple. Once we were in the international departures section, there was a large store offering free, unguarded samples of 20+ Cafe Britt products. At 12:30 a.m., we were popping chocolate covered nuts, coffee beans and orange pieces like we hadn’t eaten all day (one of several reasons why I wasn’t able to sleep on the plane). They were really good but, like everything at the airport, terribly overpriced. We settled for the mini bags of chocolate covered fruit because they were 2 for $5.00 USD.
Shortly after 1:00 a.m., we boarded an Air Canada flight bound for Toronto, Ontario. I didn’t think there was any chance Air Canada was going to feed us before breakfast. I was wrong. Around 2:00 a.m., they came around with drink carts and snack boxes. Inside the little green and white box, we found a grilled vegetable salad, an orange (that looked more like a lime) and a grilled vegetable sandwich (same combo of veggies that were in the salad) made on whole wheat bread. I thought this was a great little snack, although unnecessary at such a late hour.
For breakfast, we were served a bowl of baked apples, fruit cup, orange juice, and rye bread. Somehow, I managed to go my whole life without eating baked apples on their own. Sure, I’d had apple crisp and pie, but never had them solo, all soft, warm and sweet. This was a great breakfast. Good job, Air Canada!
When it comes to vegan airplane meals, I’m very forgiving and easily impressed. I’m just so grateful when an airline recognizes the value of offering customers special meals that meet their dietary preferences and requirements. Even if you’re not vegetarian or vegan, I highly recommend ordering a special airline meal whenever you have a chance. In my experience, I’ve found they’re always healthier and more interesting than the standard option. Also, special meals are always delivered to passengers before the rest of the plane receives their regular meals.