Airline indulgence is out of character for me, but so many years shuttling between the US and China on Northwest/Delta in economy, when a rare upgrade due to overbooking (fly back to the US on Christmas Eve!) would bring me a shot at the Japanese meal, has left fond memories in the 2+ years since I have flown that route.
So when I got the honor of a business trip to Shanghai, I was glad for the email reminder to pre-book a Japanese meal, similar to meal requests such as Kosher or vegetarian. This only applies to Delta’s trans-Pacific routes to/from Japan, not the Asia connections. The Japanese meals are always in short supply, heck, I woke up late today for the mid-flight snack and even the soba was gone.
Frankly, the meal is not what it was when last I plied this route, yet it is still a nice departure from the standard beef/chicken/fish. For instance, the rice used to be wrapped in paper and tied with a string, now it is in a bowl. Still, it is a great way to get in the mood for Japan for those lucky enough to be in business class
Sitting at what I affectionately call my ‘command console’ at the main Tokyo-Narita SkyClub (enter, turn left, all the way to the far left seat of the raised tables, my back to snacks, my front to monitors with news and flight status, and windows overlooking gates and runways), it is interesting how travel patterns have shifted with China’s booming economy. Gone are the miso soup and soba, replaced by congee and fried rice.