7 Airlines With The Best Local In-Flight Meals

No more plain plane food.

When I first flew to Hong Kong a few years ago, I could not wait to get off the plane. Not because the flight was long or uncomfortable. Rather, I wanted to hit Hong Kong soil as soon as possible so I could immediately sprint to a “Cha Chaan Teng” – Hong Kong’s local kopitiamtype cafes – and sink my teeth into a buttered bun and a hot cup of rich silky milk tea.

Ah, the stuff of dreams.

Travelers nowadays are far more fortunate. On some airlines, they don’t even have to wait for landing. They can sample a mouth-watering array of iconic local favourites  right in the air!

Had I been on a Cathay Dragon flight to Hong Kong for instance, I would have been far less anxious to get off the plane. See, Cathay Dragon flights are known for their food. In the past, they’ve partnered with famous local restaurants to create seasonal menus featuring traditional tasty treats.

The latest edition of their ‘Hong Kong Delights’ in-flight menu draws inspiration from their beloved Cha Chaan Teng culture and features a range of classic favourites. Until 15 May 2017, travelers on all classes can now enjoy a cup of Hong Kong style milk tea in-flight, while egg tarts and pineapple buns are on First and Business Classes. First Class travelers also get to sample a coconut-filled cocktail bun.

Cathay Dragon’s latest offerings take a page from Cha Chaan Teng culture.

This coconut-filled cocktail bun is available on selected First Class flights to Beijing and Shanghai.

But if you’re not heading to Hong Kong anytime soon, don’t worry. Here are other airlines serving up delicious local fare in the sky.

Satay on Malaysian Airlines

Malaysian Airlines’ business class satay is a thing of legend! Travellers from around the world wax rhapsodic over the tender skewers’ perfectly grilled flavour and morish peanut sauce.

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Breakfast on Austrian Airlines

Austria’s national carrier serves up a hearty breakfast platter that we can’t stop gaping at. Dig into home-made bircher muesli, fresh fruit, and a basket of oven-fresh bread while scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, sauteed mushrooms, tomatoes and roasted potatoes are nestled tantalisingly in a rustic pan.  

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Mezze platter on Emirates

Emirates is so dedicated to its in-flight dining, you can check what’s being served on each flight as easily as you can track their flights. One of their best offerings is a full mezze platter of decadent Arabic delicacies. Chef Jamie Bissonnette calls their serving of labneh, hummus, and murgh do pyaaza the best in-flight meal he’s ever had.

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The Japanese menu on Japan Airlines

Economy class travellers can enjoy food stylist Nami Ijima’s homely and nourishing in-flight meals. On business class, take your pick from the elegant creations by Chef Kurogi of the Kurogi restaurant in Yushima, or a Soraben (‘sky bento’) specially created with ingredients that showcase Japan’s four seasons.

Nasi Lemak on Air Asia

An Air Asia flight doesn’t feel complete without a serving of their famous Pak Nasser’s nasi lemak, which tastes as good as anything you’d get on the ground.

The Sky Bistro on Finnair

Economy Class travellers on Finnair are handed a Sky Bistro menu and encouraged to mix and match their own meals! Pick from a wide selection of classics and seasonal flavours that also includes an extensive selection of snacks and cocktails. Be sure to enjoy the beautiful Scandinavian fare featuring their new signature drink – blueberry juice.