Even as I try to broaden my palate, I still find it difficult sometimes to enjoy new and different tastes. Prior to a Japanese meal in ANA business class, I enjoyed some comfort food in the ANA Lounge. Just in case. It was my insurance meal.
“Insurance Meal” In ANA Suite Lounge Tokyo Haneda
During the pandemic, all lounge-eligible ANA or Star Alliance passengers at Tokyo Haneda have been directed to the ANA Suite Lounge. While this lounge is normally reserved for first class passengers, there is not currently sufficient passenger volume to justify opening multiple lounges.
I reviewed this lounge in 2019 and thankfully not much has changed. it’s a great lounge, though certainly not as luxurious as the first class lounges of competitors like Air France, Lufthansa, or Thai Airways. Still, it offers buffet and a la carte dining, showers, and comfortable seating.
After hanging out in the terminal area for 13 hours, from 4:00pm to 5:00am the following morning, I was ready for some food. Already, I had ordered the Japanese meal on my ANA flight to Bangkok at 11:00am, but had six hours before my flight.
The buffet included a menu of cold items, all of them in individually-sized portions:
Drinks were still in larger bottles:
Meanwhile, a number of dishes could be ordered from a cook inside the lounge. You specified which dish you wanted and would be presented with an electronic beeper. When it buzzed, your meal was ready.
I felt like a western breakfast, but there were no eggs on the menu. Thus, my first test of the day: what to order?
While there were a number of options that a more adventurous eater may have ordered, I ordered macaronic and cheese.
Macaroni and cheese in an ANA lounge?
Yeah, yeah. I know. But in credit to ANA, it was very tasty.
And then I ordered a beef hamburger.
Hamburger in an ANA lounge?
Yeah, yeah. Typical white American.
It did bring me a bit of comfort that a Japanese woman sitting next to me also ordered a burger.
As you collectively shake your heads, allow me to defend myself. First, everyone loves their own comfort food. Second, I had resolved to eat only Japanese cuisine on my upcoming flight and so this would be my “insurance” policy if I found the food onboard inedible (I didn’t…it was better than I thought).
The burger was just okay…I probably should have ordered another macaroni and cheese instead.
I tend to think Americans get overly-ridiculed for eating “comfort food” while other cultures are not (for example, when I worked in Frankfurt my Chinese colleagues would always want to go to a Chinese restaurant), but I’ll be happy to take your collective scorn here for my “insurance” meal. It was still tasty and satisfying. Thank you ANA!