Food on Plane: ANA & JAL

I know the food you receive on the plane don’t get too much of a good review, and for a good reason… But, it is also true that some airlines do their best to provide the food that can taste as good as possible up in the air. Japanese airlines takes their food offering seriously, from what I’ve seen on their documentary, and I do very much prefer their food over other airlines (well, Lufthansa is pretty good too).

Here, I would like to share with you some food that were offered on All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines (JAL) during the Summer of 2015.

ANA offerings (from Tokyo to NYC) were very Japanese friendly meals that is also pretty to look at. They use ingredients that are red, yellow, and green, which are all nutritious at the same time. They also offered a healthier, vegetarian option, kids menu option, and many other options based on religion as well, which is really incredible (you have to request it in advance).

For the main meal, they offered choice of: Chicken thigh and chicken quenelle over steamed rice, or Creamy seafood doria. The Creamy seafood doria is very creamy, tasty, and pretty awesome for on-the-plane meal. It came with salad, pickles, bread, the usuals. But the addition of the little Yakult drink is a really nice touch.  It is a very famous and popular probiotic drink in Japan. It is tasty and healthy! The vegetarian option was very tasty as well. It is nice that they have the entire tray for the healthy option tray, instead of just switching out the doria to vegetarian one. It came with different type of salad, with thin Japanese noodle. It also came with fruit jelly as dessert.

For snack and REAL dessert, they offer Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream (which was really frozen for a few minutes) and sandwich, and pastry bread (not shown).  Noting but high quality snacks here with ANA. Come on, who doesn’t like Häagen-Dazs???

The meal before arrival was choice of Sockeye salmon flakes and various ingredients over steamed rice, or Potato gnocchi and omelet with ratatouille.  The Sockeye salmon flakes option is really pretty to look at, very spring-like, and it even had a sliced carrots in a shape of a flower! It had salmon flakes, thinly shredded eggs, soy beans, kabocha, and few other items over steamed rice, and it was filling and delicious. it also came with fruit and yogurt. Good breakfast before arriving to NYC.  The vegetarian option was potato gnocchi with vegetable (no omelet), fruits, and yogurt. It is still filling and tasty.

JAL also provides pretty high quality food as well. This one are from Premium Economy class (NYC – Tokyo), so it has more offerings than economy. First, it has a nice alcoholic beverage (free of charge), from champagne to wine, beer, sake, whisky…etc. While other airlines charge you for everything nowadays, it is good to experience the true “service” from an airline. In their non-alcoholic beverage menu, they offer JAL original drink, “SKY TIME Kiwi” – this I had to try. It was a neon green color drink, tasted like an extremely sweet kiwi flavored sports drink. The snacks were not regular peanuts, but Japanese rice crackers and dry natto – I have never had anything like this but it was interesting and flavorful. If you like natto, you will like this too. If not, stay away (or give it to someone like me).

The first meal was lunch, offered a choice of Beef Burgundy, or Chicken Teriyaki on Steamed Rice. We chose chicken teriyaki, and it came with tuna salad, udon with fried bean curd, fruits, and Häagen-Dazs. The udon noodle was a nice addition to the main chicken dish, it is nice to have more variety in the entire meal. I feel like JAL gives more side dish than ANA, or at least in these cases. The ice cream was a bit too frozen, same as ANA, so it took a little longer to eat, but it taste awesome regardless.

For snacks, they offered Sandwich, brownie, and instant noodle, “Udon de SKY” (play on Japanese words). As with ANA, high quality snacks! They also provided extra snacks with udon, some rice crackers. When the flight is really long (about 13 hours), it is good to have good snacks in between to keep your hunger away.

Before arriving to tokyo, they offered Chicken Fried rice with salad and cheese cake. The chicken fried rice was more like tasty chicken and eggs on steamed rice. It was pretty tasty, and even better when you mixed it all up.

So, now lets get back to NYC… I mean, back from Tokyo to NYC, on JAL!  They provided the same snacks, rice cracker and Dry Natto. I didn’t order their kiwi drink this time, the snacks go down much better with good old green tea.

The first meal was a choice of Hamburg with Cheese Sauce, or Deep-fried Chicken with Sweet & Sour Sauce and seasoned rice. We chose the chicken, and it was not crispy like I wanted, but you can’t expect to get a food fresh out the oven or fryer. It still tasted pretty good. It came with Crabmeat Terrine with Pickles, Fried Eggplant in Japanese Broth with Egg Yolk Sauce, salad, fruits, and Häagen-Dazs. All the side dishes were very good too. Japanese people take pride in their cuisine, and it is more of an art, and they make the dishes beautiful, and with bright colors of red, yellow and green that prompts your appetite. Even though it must be much harder to do so for the in-flight food, they do their best to bring that beauty and flavor.

I was excited for the snack when I saw “Frozen Baked Pudding from Hiroshima Catalana.” When it was delivered, I was even more excited. It was much bigger than I expected, and it was soooo delicious! It was kind of like very cold Crème brûlée, rich, creamy, tasty, melt in your mouth. They also provided Udon de SKY as additional snack.

The last meal before arriving to NYC was AIRMOS Burger from one of the most popular fast-food burger joint, MOS Burger (that is Mountain Ocean Sunshine Burger). I did NOT expect to have a burger, from MOS Burger, so it was such a wonderful surprise! All the ingredients came separately, I assume so that the burger does not get soggy. And of course, it came with a super cute “how-to” manual to help you create your own MOS Burger.

They are famous for their unique burger, that has a patty, diced onion, meat sauce, and a thick slice of tomato between the buns.  I did my best to create my very own MOS Burger, but it didn’t look as good as the one you would get from actual MOS Burger made by their staff… Nevertheless, it tasted pretty darn good!!! And no, it didn’t come with fries, but it came with Mango & Almond jelly, which was tasty also.

Here is how an actual MOS Burger from their store would look below. Their burger is really tasty, and different from all other burgers out there. If you go to Japan, you must try one of their unique burgers!

Overall, I can say that the food provided on some plane are improving every day, and especially for Japanese airlines, they do take pride in the food that they provide to customers. I enjoyed all the food, ate most of everything (which I don’t really do on some other airlines…). So, next time you travel, you might want to consider what kind of food each airline offers, as it might make a big difference on your travel experience.

 

All Nippon Airways – Summer 2015 from Tokyo to NYC & JAL – Summer 2015 to/from NYC to Tokyo

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