From November 1st, passengers flying on Japan’s largest airline will be offered new vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free meals on international flights. The new menus will be available to all passengers and are part of a unique collaboration between ANA Chefs and the award-winning Chef Hideki Takayama.
All Nippon Airways (ANA) will begin to offer the new vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free meals on November 1st, in response to increased customer demand, especially on international flights. The announcement comes as Japan removes inbound tourist restrictions and international air traffic returns.
The initiative is part of ANA’s pledge to offer meals that meet the dietary preferences of each passenger, in line with the airline’s aim to provide “delightful, kind-hearted & comfortable skies for everybody.” Tomoji Ishii, Executive Vice President, Customer Experience Management & Planning of ANA, expressed his excitement for the new menu launch:
“Providing inclusive meal options is essential to ensuring our customers with the best in-flight experience.”
“We look forward to delivering these high-quality menu items and supplying a range of food options for all of our customers.”
The additions follow a move by ANA this past year to renew four healthy in-flight meals. The diabetic, low-fat, low-calorie, and low-salt meals have proved popular and are becoming an option for all customers.
Passengers flying business class on select routes have also been able to try a healthy rice bowl topped with a plant-based cutlet for business class passengers since March.
How to try it
The meals will be available beginning November 1st, 2022, on all international routes from Japan and in all classes of service on ANA-operated flights. Customers are requested to make reservations at least 24 hours before their flight’s scheduled departure time via the ANA website or by telephone to ensure availability.
The vegan meal for the airline starts with a Cauliflower & Tofu Mousse with Vegetable Gelée. The cauliflower is blended with kombu kelp dashi stock and tofu into a delicious mousse, then topped with boiled vegetables and accompanied by a walnut and basil gelée. This is accompanied by fresh spring rolls filled with grilled soy meat, Japanese ginger, lotus root, and vegetables and accompanied by a tonburi (Japanese mountain caviar) dressing.
The main dish of the vegan meal is a Green Curry & Five Grain Rice. The savory dish contains garam masala, green bell pepper, and spinach in a coconut milk base, with banana adding a subtle touch to the plate. The flavors are mild enough for any palate. It is packed with vegetables and accompanied by steamed rice with mixed grains.
Tofu Lasagna and celariac mousse
Customers looking to try the vegetarian meal are also in for new options. The starter is created from onions and celeriac that have been steamed until soft and blended into a mousse. The mouse is lightly seasoned with black pepper and olive oil to combine the flavors.
This is served with a vegetable tortilla filled with marinated asparagus, green beans, and celery, topped with a spicy carrot salsa. Key savory notes are derived from cashew paste and grain mustard flavors.
Tofu Lasagna Style with Burdock Root & Sesame brings up the main event for the vegetarian meal. A filling of soy meat, spinach, burdock root, and sesame is layered with tofu to create a lasagna-style dish. The dish is served with a side of rice flour and vegetable pasta with tomato sauce.
Creamed chicken with octopus and vegetable ceviche
Those passengers looking to reduce or avoid gluten are also not left out on the menu. A starter of boiled shrimp is accompanied by a rich cauliflower and tofu mousse. This is paired with an octopus and vegetable ceviche, a bed of quinoa salad topped with octopus, celery, turnip, cucumber, red onion, and capers marinated in a dressing of garlic, lemon juice, oil, and bonito shavings.
The entree consists of creamed chicken with carrot butter rice. The chicken thighs are simmered till tender together with onion and white wine, and the addition of a creamy sauce. It is served with butter rice mixed with carrot and accompanied by rice-flour bread and fruit.
The new chef behind it
The new in-flight dining options have been developed in collaboration with the airline’s THE CONNOISSEURS program. Launched in 2013, the program pairs expert ANA Chefs with a group of celebrity chefs and liquor professionals from Japan and abroad to create the onboard dining experience.
Joining the team for the new healthy dining options is Hideki Takayama, a world-renowned French chef who has won the Bocuse d’Or International Culinary Competition in Asia-Pacific twice. He is the Culinary Director of “Paris 1930 de Hideki Takayama, Landis Taipei,” named a one-star Michelin restaurant by the “Michelin Guide.” Hideki and the ANA chefs worked together to create the new menus that take full advantage of his knowledge and expertise in catering to a wide range of tastes, including healthy and specialized foods.
“Many ingredients such as dairy products, eggs, fish, and meat could not be used, and we also developed the menu without root vegetables to accommodate the eating habits of more customers,” said Hideki Takayama. “With these many restrictions, it was difficult to achieve the same level of results as the gastronomic menu, and at the same time, this was the point we focused on. As we worked on the menu development, we were able to reconfirm the appeal of vegetables, and I believe we have completed an in-flight meal that is unlike any other.”
The airline also announced earlier this month that it would be working with plastics trading company, Sojitz Pla-Net, to launch a recycling campaign to reduce plastic disposal across the airline group.