Three of the best 'home cuisine' dishes served in-flight

By John Walton, January 31 2012
Three of the best 'home cuisine' dishes served in-flight

One of the pleasures of travelling abroad on business is experiencing different cuisines and local specialties. And an increasing number of airlines get you in the mood en route, showcasing their national dishes in the air.

That's a weclome treat for business travellers: not only can you enjoy an interesting meal in the air, but it gives you a starter taste of the local food and even something to talk about on the ground as well.

("Yes, I'd really like to try some more Ssambab, since it was so good on the plane," for example, shows your interest in local food and culture, and gives you a familiar option if you're finding your way through an unfamiliar cuisine.)

We've picked three regional specialties that work particularly well in the air from overseas airlines you're likely to encounter on your travels. 

Asiana Airlines' Ssambab

Korean carrier Asiana Airlines offers a traditional ssambab, which is a variation on the more well-known bibimbab.

Rice, meat, vegetables and bean paste are served in small dishes, and you wrap what you fancy in a leaf and take a bite.

A specialised team within Asiana took six months to develop the meal, referring to ssambab restaurants in Korea for inspiration and advice.

For the air, the vegetables are hand-washed and specially sealed to make sure they're fresh and ready to eat, and Asiana also created a special bean paste for its inflight meals.

While first class gets a beef short rib for the meat bit, plus a wider variety of vegetables in the small bowls called banchan, business class has four banchan and a minced beef main dish.

Star Alliance member Asiana flies to its hub at Seoul Incheon from Sydney.

LAN's Magellanic Lamb

Red meat works best in the air when braised or slow-cooked.

LAN, the national airline of Chile, offers a Patagonian speciality in its Premium Business class: Magellanic lamb chops with golden polenta, tapenade and ratatouille.

LAN's executive chef Hugo Pantano explains the ideas behind including the dish, known as cordero magallanico in Spanish: "At LAN, we have incorporated new products in the past three years, such as the Magellanic lamb, with its soft flesh, which differentiates it from more typical lamb, which is stronger and heavier."

If you were thinking that the dish looked a bit small, that's part of the LAN plan:

"We care about the presentation of each plate, to keep it simple and elegant," chef Pantano says.

"We don't think it is necessary to fill each area of the plate with food, but rather to achieve a harmony and balance in terms of colors, textures and quantities."

Oneworld member LAN flies to Santiago from Sydney via Auckland.

Lufthansa's Swabian Maultaschen dumplings

While the German carrier's first class food and drink service is among the best in the world, its business class offering is more focussed on efficiency over luxury, though with a few twists to keep things interesting for the frequent flyer.

After enjoying traditional Swabian Maultaschen (a ravioli-style dumpling from the Baden-Württemberg region) on a recent trip to Germany, I was pleased to find them on Lufthansa's Frankfurt-Singapore flight.

It's not complicated food by any means. Some might even call it stodgy, and In fairness, it is.

But paired with a nice light German red -- from Lufthansa's Vinothek wine discovery program, in fact -- it was a welcome change from the usual airline food.

Hungry for more of Australian Business Traveller's Food Week articles? You'll find them all this week at -- and keep an eye on our @AusBT Twitter account for the very latest.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

27 Jan 2012

Total posts 118


20 Jul 2011

Total posts 73

Talking to a hostie on a Lufthansa flight out of Munich recently about the local food - and she managed to conjure up a plate of Weisswurst and accompanying mustards.  It wasn't on the menu so they must have had it on standby just in case.  Brilliant!

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