The Great Noodle Tour: Japan Airlines First Class SFO-HND

This post covers food and drink. For a more comprehensive review of the product, check out this excellent post.

This was the latest flight that I had ever taken – or maybe the earliest? At 1:35 am it’s definitely one or the other. By the time that we were ushered into our seats by the fabulous JAL crew (honestly..they couldn’t stop bowing or apologizing for things that hadn’t yet, and never would, go wrong), we were almost asleep.  20150420_041404 Luckily, a glass of Salon 2002 perked us up. This is one excellent champagne. It has a full, toasty aroma with tight bubbles and an aftertaste that is a little sweet without too much acidity. I far prefer it to the more buttery, heavy Krug.  A perfect way to pep me up for a gourmet late night snack.  20150420_051309 Sushi and chawanmushi

Beats the hell out of the stuff at Whole Foods, and this is at 35,000 feet in the air. The rice is a little clumpy and dry but the fish is almost amazingly sweet and lush. The chawanmushi is even better. It’s creamy and deeply savory without being too salty or heavy. It’s so comforting and full flavored without being rich or greasy.  20150420_051457 I mean, just look at that beautifully cooked shrimp! 20150420_051752 A little caviar never hurt anyone, though the blinis are strangely leaden and they could use a little more sour cream. It’s still some damned fine fish egg.  20150420_052230 Fish crackers

Do not, under any circumstances, eat, or even open. It smells like the deep blue sea in a baaaaad way.  20150420_104259 A few glasses of champagne in and I thought that some $400 per bottle whiskey might sound good. Luckily, my husband finished it off – I’m just not a whiskey gal. 

I settled in for a nap (complete with a blanket, pillow, and a freakin’ MATTRESS…amazing.) and when I awoke, I enjoyed some espresso and a plate of buttery sugar cookies.  20150420_134400 Not to mention the full Japanese breakfast of soy simmered sablefish (tender like salmon but twice as mild), roasted duck, chawan mushi, pickles, perfectly steamed rice, and fresh miso soup. Americans do breakfast all wrong. I think I like omelettes and then I have some miso soup and freshly broiled fish and I’m like “no way…this is where it’s AT!”
20150420_144736 Special iced tea over which my husband kvelled

Icy bathwater slightly reminiscent of hay. I just don’t like tea.
20150420_151000 But I DO  like a large selection of Bollywood movies on the AVOD.

JAL offers a phenomenal first class flight product. For a red eye flight, they offer more choices than I could even try (damn, I wish I could get my hands on that vegetable curry right now), the alcohol is a class act, and the service is absolutely unmatched. It is deferential tot he point of making you feel uncomfortable, but get used to it. Because when you land, you are in Tokyo – it’s not Kansas anymore, Toto.


  1. I’m dying.