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Surprisingly Yummy Airline Meals: The Kobachi Bowls of JAL

Where: Japan
August 20, 2014 at 10:13 AM | by | ()

We have all had a terrible meal on a flight before. In fact, we have shown you some of the sadder trays slid in front of us. With this new series of amazing airline meals, we can revel in the airline culinary delights and give kudos to the airlines that got it right.

We offer this recommendation: On your next international flight, sample the traditional menu of the nation you're flying to or from since it's not only a great way to get a feel for the cuisine, but to spark excitement or fond memories of the trip. After a Japan Airlines flight from Narita to Chicago, our recommendation comes even stronger.

The menu that was presented to us on this long flight read like a menu of a fine restaurant with BEDD emblazoned on the front. It's actually an acronym for bed, eating, delicious and dream, subtly reminding passengers that after dining on a delicious menu, their seat transforms into a mattressed bed for bountiful rest. After perusing the menu, we had to choose the traditional Japanese meal consisting of nine small bowls filled with colorful delicacies from the island nation. And this was only the appetizer.

The set of bowls were housed in a wooden box divided into equal parts to act as a perfect little place for each taste. From lightest to richest, our journey started with a tomato and tofu salad, green soy tofu with seaweed sauce, and fried pike conger with soy vinegar jelly. Our next row consisted of grilled halibut with sea urchin and grilled chicken liver, tuna sashimi with yam and prawn, and scallop topped with grated radish.

In the bottom row, we sampled miso-flavored minced pork in a ginger sauce, steamed eel with fish cake and braised duck breast, and "ayu" sweetfish sushi wrapped in bamboo leaf. Each one was more intricate than the next and as much a feast for the eyes as for the taste buds.

After this box was removed, our main was presented to us: Grilled cutlassfish with asparagus and potato salad and braised chicken with yuzu chili-flavored radish sauce. By now, if you're thinking this is a lot of food, you are absolutely correct. A refreshing yet filling way to begin our 12-hour journey.

One of the best features of the menu is that both the Japanese and Western selections are swapped out every three months to reflect local and in-season produce and flavors. This makes routine trips back and forth to Japan and little less "routine".

[Photos: Rayme Gorniak/Jaunted]

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