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Monday, July 15, 2013

Sampling oneworld Premium Services: Japan Airlines First Class New York JFK to Tokyo Narita "first" meal service - Japanese option Part I

JAL First Class trip report on JL005 - Time for my 2nd meal
Time for my 2nd meal

So after taking enough pictures of the familiar Business Class self-service bar and Sky Gallery, I went back to the First Class cabin to watch more movies.

Now it's around 19:50 EDT, around 4 hours after the first meal service. I was finally not as full and had some room to spare for more food. So I started flipping through the menu. Within minutes one of the cabin attendants visited my seat and asked if want something to eat. Yes, even though the lights were off and curtains were closed, the attentive cabin attendants would still keep an eye on the passengers. You could see them periodically peeking through the curtain to see if any passengers needed anything to provide an attentive yet non-intruding service in First Class.

Although I have always planned to try out both the Japanese and Western options, I didn't ask the cabin attendant to save me the extra meal because I knew Japan Airlines (JAL) uses the extra First Class meals as crew meals as well. Last thing I wanted was to take away their meals. I figured by now all the crews probably had finished their first meal as well. So I asked the cabin attendant if there were any Japanese course from the first meal service left. She went back to the galley to double check and then came back with the good news. Yes there were extra Japanese meals still available.

Zatsuki


JAL First Class trip report on JL005: Zatsuki: Summer Vegetables in Japanese Jelly with Sesame Sauce
Zatsuki: Summer Vegetables in Japanese Jelly with Sesame Sauce

Within minutes, the cabin attendant brought out the first dish, zatsuki, which is the equivalent of the amuse bouche on the Western menu.

Zatsuki
Summer Vegetables in Japanese Jelly with Sesame Sauce


JAL First Class trip report on JL005: Zatsuki: Summer Vegetables in Japanese Jelly with Sesame Sauce
Zatsuki: Summer Vegetables in Japanese Jelly with Sesame Sauce

JAL First Class trip report on JL005: Zatsuki: Summer Vegetables in Japanese Jelly with Sesame Sauce
Zatsuki: Summer Vegetables in Japanese Jelly with Sesame Sauce

The zatsuki and most of the other dishes on the Japanese menu was presented in a half-round Japanese tray. The dish was very light and refreshing. I particularly liked the earthy flavor of the sesame sauce.

However, I was a bit disappointed that the cabin attendant didn't give me the First Class chopsticks which won the 2008 Good Design Award. Instead, the disposable one from Business Class were given to me. Not a big deal, except I forgot to ask for the First Class chopsticks at the end as a gift (JAL states on its website those would be given to the passengers to take home). Oh well, at least I realized that before my next flight so I could still get them :)


JAL First Class trip report on JL005: JAL First Class napkin with the old logo
JAL First Class napkin with the old logo.

Other than that, JAL used a different chopsticks holder in First Class. It was not the red crane one used in Business Class, which I also wanted to buy LOL. But I believe the napkin was the same one used in the Business Class. And I like how durable they are as you can tell the one I got had the old JAL logo, not The Arc of the Sun one, but the one before that. It really reminds me of the good old memories when I first started flying with JAL :)

Appetizer


JAL First Class trip report on JL005: JAL First Class Japanese appetizer
JAL First Class Japanese appetizer

Next is the appetizer course which was presented in a beautiful 2-tiered bento box. The appetizer consisted of mukozuke, tsubo, shiizakana, and kobachi dishes.

Japanese Appetizer 

Mukozuke
Sea-bass "Sashimi" Style

Tsubo
Simmered Beef with Sweet Soy Sauce

Shiizakana
Barbecued Eel wrapped in Bamboo Leaf / Simmered Prawn
Fried Bean Curd Roll with Vegetables / Steamed Abalone

Kobachi
Simmered Taro, Eggplant & "Yuba"
Thin-sliced Cucumber, Jellyfish & Chicken in citrus Vinegar Sauce
Grilled Salmon Roll with Welsh Onion


JAL First Class Japanese appetizer
JAL First Class Japanese appetizer

JAL First Class Japanese appetizer
JAL First Class Japanese appetizer

JAL First Class Japanese appetizer: grilled salmon roll with welsh onion
JAL First Class Japanese appetizer: grilled salmon roll with welsh onion

JAL First Class Japanese appetizer: thin-sliced cucumber, jellyfish & chicken in citrus vinegar sauce
JAL First Class Japanese appetizer: thin-sliced cucumber, jellyfish & chicken in citrus vinegar sauce

JAL First Class Japanese appetizer: simmered taro, eggplant & "yuba"
JAL First Class Japanese appetizer: simmered taro, eggplant & "yuba"

JAL First Class Japanese appetizer: sea-bass "sashimi" style
JAL First Class Japanese appetizer: sea-bass "sashimi" style

JAL First Class Japanese appetizer: fried bean curd roll with vegetables, steamed abalone, simmered prawn
JAL First Class Japanese appetizer: fried bean curd roll with vegetables, steamed abalone, simmered prawn

  JAL First Class Japanese appetizer - simmered beef with sweet soy sauce
JAL First Class Japanese appetizer - simmered beef with sweet soy sauce

The Japanese appetizer usually is the dish that I didn't enjoy in Business Class. But not today! As I mentioned before I don't eat raw fish, so I didn't touch the sashimi dish. But the fish looked fresh to me.  Out of all the remaining dishes, I liked the grilled salmon roll the most. The salmon was cooked perfectly and the welsh onion had added an extra depth of flavor and different texture to the dish.

Another highlight was the abalone, which you usually only find on the First Class menu. It was lightly seasoned to just let the natural taste and freshness spoke for themselves. Overall, I was very satisfied with the appetizer. It combined different textures, flavors, and cooking styles all in one dish. It has set the bar for the main dish really high now and definitely made me reconsidered whether I should stick with Western options from now on :)

To read other parts of this "Sampling oneworld Premium Services Trip Report", you can find the complete index from the Introduction post. There's also a Trip Report Index page which contains indices to all of my trip reports.


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