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Cibo Express – O’hare airport & our flight to Korea

May 16, 2011

While our flight to Seoul concluded on Thursday, we’re still transitioning to Seoul time. The first two days were pretty rough, but we’ve made it the last two without any afternoon naps; although, it’s been touch and go. We connected in Chicago’s O’hare which meant we got another chance to grab some yummy local vegan food at Cibo Express, like we did on our April trip to New Orleans.

We had to rush to get our meals so we could check-in with Korean Air, but once that was done, we settled down to a couple of sandwiches. Sunnie decided on a tofu and grilled vegetable sandwich on tomato basil bread.

O'hare Cibo grilled veggie tofu sanwich

This was a pretty simple flavor with no sauce, just relying on the grilled veggies and the bread for the flavor.

O'hare Cibo grilled veggie tofu sanwich

I went with a hoagie wrap, which in this case meant bbq wheat gluten, with grilled onions and mushrooms in a tomato-basil wrap.

Cibo Express hoagie wrap

This was actually pretty darn spicy, a lot spicier than the hot tofu which we got again after having it on our New Orleans trip. The gluten was quite chewy and the bbq spicy, strong, and with a good flavor. However, it was hard to really notice the onions or mushrooms, and it was quite a lot of gluten, so it was a heavy meal. I’d prefer to lose some of the gluten and put in a bit more vegetables, but I enjoyed it. It’s so great to actually have good vegan food at an airport. I get so excited when we connect in O’hare now! You’ve got to give it a try if you’re passing through.

O'hare Cibo Express healthy hoagie wrap

Incidentally, I was in Reagan National airport in Washington D.C. a couple of weeks ago for a meeting, and was disappointed that even though they have multiple Cibo Expresses and a Cibo Wine Bar, they didn’t have any vegan options, despite some really good ones in D.C.!

After our vegan sandwich and wrap, we caught our flight. I was a bit surprised a couple of hours later when they started the meal service. I thought it would be a bit longer until the first meal, for some reason, so I wasn’t too hungry. Our veggie meal by Korean Air was steamed vegetables on rice with tomato sauce, a whole wheat role, a small salad, and fruit for dessert. It was doable, but airplane food is always going to be pretty bad. We saw a special once that explained at high altitude, you lose much of your ability to taste, so it’s not just the food, it’s also a physiological response.

Anywho, we ended up having the same meal again later, which was a bit disappointing. The people behind us had bibimbap. It would’ve been preferable if they could just leave out the meat somehow. Korean Air always gives great service and always has a ton of movies to choose from which really helps me get through the flight as I always have a tough time sleeping.

We arrived in Seoul around 4pm, bleary eyed but happy to be back in the Land of Morning Calm (whoever called it this didn’t have an apartment by the busline!) :)

We’ve been so busy seeing family and friends that we haven’t had a chance to hit a veggie restaurant yet but will soon. More to come!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Julie permalink
    May 16, 2011 10:41 am

    Hi Bill! Glad you guys arrived safely and are having fun! :)

  2. May 16, 2011 10:52 am

    Yay for you making it, sound of mind and body, despite Korean Air food. I had such a weird experience with them, similar to yours. They gave me this creepy special vegan meal that was like a mushy flavorless protein patty with vegetables, and then the same thing for breakfast. I literally couldn’t force myself to eat it. And both times I looked around at what other people were having, and it was delicious-looking bibimbap, and I, too, thought to myself, “Why didn’t they just make a meatless version of that?” For breakfast, other people had juk, and again, huh? Why the nondescript nutrition patty for me? LOL. To their credit, I told them I just could not eat that thing, and they rustled up some juk for me, too. :)

    N.B., the gochujang on Korean Air has fish in it. I know, I have no idea why. But I got a cute little set of 5 tubes from their duty-free as a souvenir on the way home, and it was there in the ingredients. I wonder if that’s some kind of regional variation.

    Hope you’re having a great trip!

    • Bill permalink*
      May 16, 2011 6:03 pm

      Lu, you’re absolutely right about the fish in the gochujang. We noticed that a couple of years ago and have no idea what is up with that. Sunnie has never seen it in any brand of gochujang anywhere. Weird….

      We are big snack takers when flying to Korea because you never know what you’re going to get. I’m going to be posting later today about a meal we had a restaurant yesterday that shows it’s not really that complicated…just leave out the animal products, no biggie! :)

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