Each week, my Meal of the Week feature examines an airline meal from my travels over the years. This may be a meal from earlier in the week or it may be a meal served over a decade ago.
This week we explore a paradox: why do Japanese airlines offer the best western food? Maybe because they just do everything right. Let’s compare first class steak on ANA and JAL.
One of the great mysteries of airline travel is why beef is generally available well done, very well done, or shoe leather style. Yes, most airline meals, including beef dishes, are pre-cooked. But that doesn’t mean they must be well-done.
Before I compare the two, let me first commend both carriers for 1.) asking how I wanted my meat cooked and 2.) delivering. Amazing! It really can be done…
ANA First Class Steak
My beautiful beef filet was cooked a prefect medium rare. The roasted potatoes and gnocchi (perhaps a bit redundant) were nice accompaniments. I also appreciated the mustard, though it was not necessary. In fact the sauce was not necessary. Although the red wine sauce was very nice, a nice cut of beef requires no sauce at all.
JAL First Class Steak
My JAL beef skirt steak had a bit more marble in it, but included a wonderful eggplant puree and a was topped in fresh coriander. It was also served a perfect medium rare and had a wonderful taste.
Thinking back to both meals, I cannot pick my favorite…both were essentially perfect.
So I guess the lesson is this: you cannot go wrong ordering steak in first class on a Japanese carrier.
I’ve been criticized for not ordering Japanese food when I fly a Japanese airline, but can you blame me when the steaks are this tasty?