Airplane Food: Top 10 In-flight Meals

Airplane Food: Top 10 In-flight Meals

November 6, 2017 Indulge Plan 0

Last updated: May 8, 2020

In the Bon Appetit article “Anthony Bourdain Thinks You’re Crazy For Eating Airplane Food“, Anthony Bourdain answers questions about what’s acceptable to eat aboard a flight, which in fact is nothing at all…unless you’re on a long flight and in that case cheese and lots of port (emphasis on lots of port) are acceptable. While you may agree or disagree, in our experience, when the airplane food is prepared and presented well, it can really make the time spent on the airplane much more fun and comfortable. Here are the top 10 meals we’ve enjoyed in-flight up to now.

Taking a nap before the meal service in Turkish Airlines Business Class between SIN-IST

Taking a nap before the meal service in Turkish Airlines Business Class between SIN-IST

 

1. Most Unique Meal – The Kaiseki Dinner in JAL First Class (SFO-HND): We got to try the 8 course Kaiseki meal and it was very unique and delicious; we couldn’t believe this was a meal they could serve on an airplane! We also had some Champagne Salon 2007, which was amazing too! We have enjoyed everything we had on JAL though.

The first course, Kozara. See menu photo for information about each dish

The first course, Kozara. See menu photo for information about each dish

Kelp marinated tuna and sea bream and simmered lobster with sea urchin

Kelp marinated tuna and sea bream and simmered lobster with sea urchin

Steamed rice, miso soup, Japanese pickles, and beef steak with miso sauce

Steamed rice, miso soup, Japanese pickles, and beef steak with miso sauce

Dessert: La France Pear Jelly and Mogami Koishi with Royal Blue Tea

Dessert: La France Pear Jelly and Mogami Koishi with Royal Blue Tea

JAL First Class Japanese Menu

JAL First Class Japanese Menu

2. Best Omelet: The omelet in Turkish Airlines Business Class (DPS-IST): We are not usually fans of breakfast on airplanes, especially eggs but we quite enjoyed the avocado and tomato omelet on Turkish Airlines in business class. The ingredients actually tasted fresh and it was not very salty or soaking in oil.

Breakfast omelette; one of the better omelettes we've had on a flight

Breakfast omelette on Turkish Airlines; one of the better omelettes we’ve had on a flight

3. Best “Not What You’d Want to Eat on a Flight” – The Sushi in JAL First Class (SFO-HND): Can’t say sushi is something we would expect to want to eat on a flight but we had to try JAL’s. We are excessively fussy about the sushi we eat; we don’t have anything negative to say about the sushi served on JAL and Jason liked it so much, he ordered two servings. We had it in First Class but have heard it is also good in economy; not those California rolls Air Canada sells on their flights. We would rank it up there with some of our favorite sushi we have here on the ground in Vancouver.

Sushi served in JAL First Class

Sushi served in JAL First Class

4. Best Mezze – The Traditional Arabic Mezze Plate in Emirates First Class (DFW-DXB and DXB-BKK service): The mezze plate in Emirates “spread of local savoury dishes including houmous with sautéed lamb and pine nuts, shanklish salad, tabouleh, stuffed vine leaves, artichoke and mushroom salad, loubieh bil zeit, aubergine and yoghurt salad, walnut kibbeh and labneh sujuk sambousek”. Paired with a glass of 2002 Dom Perignon champagne, you’re in for a treat; this meal is quite filling but in a light and satisfying way. We’ve had the mezze on Qatar Airways in Business Class and enjoyed it but not as much as on Emirates.

The Arabic Mezze plate in Emirates First Class between DFW-DXB with 2002 Dom Perignon champagne

The Arabic Mezze plate in Emirates First Class between DFW-DXB with 2002 Dom Perignon champagne

 

5. Best Noodles – The Dan Zai Noodle Soup in EVA Airlines Royal Laurel Class (SEA-TPE service): If you are every flying with sinus issues, this is the type of meal you need; tucking into this bowl of warm soup and noodles at 02:00 hit the spot. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too salty and while filling, it was just the right amount. We’ve also quite enjoyed the Din Tai Fung soup dumplings in the past.

The Danzai Noodles on EVA Air BR 25 between SEA-TPE

The Danzai Noodles on EVA Air BR 25 between SEA-TPE

 

6. Favorite Meal: The Signature Fruit and Cheese Plate on Alaska Airlines: Available on most flights over 2 hours, this is a great snack and/or light meal paired with a glass of red wine in First Class or Economy. Sometimes, we’ve sometimes neglected sleep on red eye flights to enjoy the fruit and cheese plate way too often! We’ve had fruit and cheese plates on other flights and they can’t compare to Alaska’s!

The Alaska Airlines Fruit and Cheese Plate with a glass of Browns Cabernet.

The Alaska Airlines Fruit and Cheese Plate with a glass of Browns Cabernet.

 

7. Best Hamburger – The Hamburger in Cathay Pacific Business Class (HKG-YVR service): What can be better than waking up at an ungodly hour halfway through a 12 hour flight and ordering a hamburger, made to order (takes 20 minutes for it to be served). We’ve had it twice and it tastes pretty fresh, and rivals some we’ve had on the ground (that’s right White Spot…Cathay Pacific makes a better burger than you!).

The hamburger served on the "Snacks" menu on Cathay Pacific between HKG and YVR

The hamburger served on the “Snacks” menu on Cathay Pacific between HKG-YVR

 

8. Best Street Food” – The Satays in Malaysian Airlines Business Class (KUL-CMB service): While they’re not grilling the satays over charcoal on a grill in flight, you definitely taste some smokiness on the lamb and beef satays served by Malaysian Airlines by the Flight Attendants as they wheel the cart down the aisle and prepare each order by asking the passenger what they want. Paired with the peanut sauce and rice and cucumber skewers, it’s a great snack and you may want to double up and skip the other meal. Enjoy with a Tiger beer for a taste of Asian street food while on a flight.

Lamb and beef satays served on Malaysian Airlines between KUL and CMB

Lamb and beef satays served on Malaysian Airlines between KUL-CMB

 

9. Best Ice Cream – The Salt & Straw Ice Cream served on Alaska Airlines: We love Salt & Straw ice cream on the ground and have been enjoying it since they first opened their ice cream cart in Portland, Oregon and always look forward to it when we fly on Alaska Airlines in Business Class.

Salt & Straw ice cream on Alaska Airlines

Salt & Straw ice cream on Alaska Airlines

10. Healthy Meal – The Protein Platter on Alaska Airlines: This was a tough decision to make between Air Canada and Alaska Airlines but in the end, Alaska Airlines won due to the availability of their protein platter vs. the healthy option on Air Canada which is only available on select flights and in business class (Air Canada seems to run out/not stock enough of the healthier options for their buy-on-board in economy). We’ve had the Protein Plater on Alaska Airlines in First Class and Economy and often pre-order it. It changes but usually has a vegetarian dip like hummus, naan, turkey, hard-boiled egg, cheese, and a few veggies and nuts.

Charge Up™ Protein Platter on Alaska Airlines

 

11. Honorable Mentions:

We liked this enough to feature them here.

Air Canada Lunch in Business Class on YVR – Vancouver to YEG – Edmonton

Frittata and bacon on Alaska Airlines

Frittata and bacon on Alaska Airlines

Air Canada Business Class Breakfast from YVR - Vancouver to YUL - Montreal; coconut, mango, chia seed pudding

Air Canada Healthy Choice Business Class Breakfast from YVR – Vancouver to YUL – Montreal; coconut, mango, chia seed pudding

Do you like airplane food? What have been some of your memorable in-flight meals?

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