And to celebrate this occasion, here’s the memories from the last flight I took from Japan (29 Feb 2022) right before the shutdown happened in Mar 2020.
The flight was Japan Airline’s non-stop service from Tokyo Narita Singapore. This was the lunch service.
The meal service started with an appetiser that consisted of a very Japanese item and a very Italian starter.
There were this small bowl of bonito simmered in soy sauce with mashed radish on the left and a small selection of prosciutto ham with pickled jalapeños and olives. Delicious mix of Japanese and Western appetisers.
First Course – Marukonouchi Bento
Kabuki (traditional Japanese operas) can last for hours in the past and bentos were served for actors and audience members in between acts. Marukonouchi bento was originally served in Kabuki theatres, but the format has stuck for the general public as well.
The bento had the typical items, a simmered dish called Nimono consisting of salmon, asparagus and tofu; tamagoyaki and some cold cut roast beef and chicken rolls; sashimi, but with cooked scallops and seared tuna; cold udon noodles with ikura (salmon roe marinated in soy sauce) and slivers of eggs; a dollop of pumpkin mash. Quite a lot of food for the first course, I ate everything.
Second Course – Washoku
The structure of a washoku meal relies on the principle of “ichi ju san sai”, or or the “one soup, three side dishes” meant to accompany a bowl of steamed rice.
The second course came with another nimono that consisted of popular oden items and vegetables; a piece of grilled aji (Japanese mackerel); tsukemono or Japanese pickles that is a must for every washoku as Japanese only eat their rice with pickles to enjoy the pure taste of the rice; a bowl of misoshiro. I was almost full from the first course, but this one really hit the spot.
Dessert – Chocolate mousse cake
I was surprised by the Western style dessert instead of a Japanese dessert. Skipped this as I was stuffed since the second course.
In-Flight Snack – Ramen
JAL has a special ramen available on their between-meals snacks. Kyushu Jangara 九州じゃんがら is a special ramen with long thin noodles in a rich vegetarian broth. Despite a lack of animal-derived ingredients, this milky white soup base is made with a variety of slowly boiled vegetables and is finished with an umami flavour that would beat any tonkotsu pork bone broth. It was so delicious that I wanted another bowl, but I was too shy. This is the best ramen in the air so far for me. Period.
Snack Before Landing – Donburi
And there’s a special donburi for every long haul flight. For this flight it was a beef donburi with rich bonito soup broth with bits of radish pickles. Tasted like a Teochew-style rice porridge that my mom would whipped up in minutes when I was hungry and I was constantly hungry as a kid!
Looking forward to fly to Japan soon.
Flight taken Feb 2020