Japan Airlines (JAL) In-Flight Meal at JAPAN RAIL CAFE
JAPAN RAIL CAFE and Japan Airlines (JAL) is having a collaboration in January 2021 selling JAL in-flight meals right in the heart of the Central Business District at Tanjong Pagar, under the tallest building in Singapore, Guoco Tower.
I’m late to trying out the Japan Airlines (JAL) in-flight meal at JAPAN RAIL CAFE, but better late than never. Airplane food at a Japanese rail cafe – not something that RailTravel Station can miss out on right?
I visited JAPAN RAIL CAFE on a weekday lunch time, so it was pretty crowded when I got there.
The January menu at JAPAN RAIL CAFE featuring the two JAL in-flight meals as the monthly special.
Heading into JAPAN RAIL CAFE.
Like all establishments now, checking-in via SafeEntry is compulsory.
An iPad is used for contactless order.
Ah great, the item that I want is the first thing on the menu.
Exclusive JAL Merchandise For Sale
After ordering my meal, I headed to check out the JAL merchandise on sale.
Like all good on-board duty free sale, model aircraft are available.
There’s also some golf balls and golf markers.
Another popular item might be the baggage tags.
Writing materials from JAL on sale.
JAL Salmon Miso Yaki Dainomono
For my lunch, I ordered the Salmon Miso Yaki Dainomono for S$25. Just like a real flight, only 2 options of chicken or fish are available.
The JAL in-flight meal comes with an orizuru or paper crane, a thank you note, and a passport cover courtesy of Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Singapore Office.
Free JNTO Passport Cover
The JNTO PVC passport cover has motifs of Mount Fuji and a torii.
Looking inside the JNTO passport cover, the flaps are useful for scanning passports into automated gates and to store tickets.
My folded orizuru, not sure if I did it right.
Just like real plane food, the meal casserole and side dishes came covered.
My S$25 JAL Salmon Miso Yaki Dainomono for lunch today.
The Salmon Miso Yaki Dainomono comes with a grilled miso-marinated salmon fillet, shiitake mushroom, carrot, snow peas, and shredded tamago on Japanese rice. Unlike the promotional pictures though, there’s a lot less tamago in my casserole.
Both JAL inflight meals come with sides of Zaru Udon or chilled udon noodles, Kobachi of spinach, corn and shimeji mushrooms, and JAL’s Signature Earl Grey Chiffon Cake for dessert.
The meal comes with a drink choice of coffee (Hot Drip Coffee or Cold Brew) or tea (Hot Citrus Green Tea or Iced Citrus Green Tea), served of course in a plastic cup.
Since it’s plane food, the salmon fillet was grilled through and through to be 100% cooked. It was surprisingly not salty despite it being miso-marinated. I’m not sure if SATS food tuned the taste down of this food series to ground level.
The side dish I look forward to on all ex-Japan flights is definitely the chilled noodles, and Zaru Udon is provided here at JAPAN RAIL CAFE too.
The Zaru Udon was refreshing and salty, and while not intended to, goes well with the plain white rice in the dainomono.
The JAL Signature Earl Grey Chiffon Cake was light but unfortunately did not have a strong taste to it.
Nevertheless, the food was still reasonably good, and this is my rating for the meal – all gone.
JAPAN RAIL CAFE Interior
JAPAN RAIL CAFE is arranged in “platforms” and each section is named after a railway line passing through Tokyo Station.
Platform 1: Chuo Line (Rapid) – Communicator Area
The Communicator Area is used for interactive events with a big table. For January, the Communicator Area will be used by JAL cabin crew on weekends to teach the art of wrapping gifts with furoshiki, and folding origami paper planes and cranes.
Platform 2: Tokaido Main Line – Rail Pass Counter
Formerly operated by JTB, the Japan Rail Pass Counter is unfortunately now closed with no mass tourists heading to Japan any time soon.
Platform 3: Keihin-Tohoku Line – Dining Area
The indoor dining area is named after the Keihin-Tohoku Line.
Platform 4: Yamanote Line – Terrace Area
The outdoor alfresco dining area is named after the Yamanote Line.
However, the queue line through the door to the Keihin-Tohoku Line is of the Ueno-Tokyo Line (Joban Line). Hmm…
As I left JAPAN RAIL CAFE, the sign for the JAL In-Flight Meal Promotion had a “SOLD OUT” sticker on the Salmon Miso Yaki Dainomono. Looks like that was the popular option.
Overall, having a JAL in-flight meal in JAPAN RAIL CAFE certainly felt like I was going to Japan even though I’ve not flown with JAL before.
However, since JAPAN RAIL CAFE is a cafe, looking at others around me having actual food did make me wonder if I made the right choice, especially when my microwaved meal costs more than the actual meals that JAPAN RAIL CAFE serves up.
While the JAL in-flight meal was novel, I might probably not try it again given the vast range of other proper non-microwaved Japanese food that JAPAN RAIL CAFE serves up. The short promotion period is probably useful since most customers might not be repeating their experience again.