World’s Best Airline Meals and My Top 5 Picks

You don’t hear as many jokes these days about airplane food as you did years ago when airlines served a hot meal – to all passengers – on just about every flight lasting more than 1.5 hours.

But airline food remains a popular topic and I’ve been assigned the task to come up with a “top 10†list of the world’s best airline meals for my CNBC blog, and I’m looking for your help.

I certainly have my own favorites, as shown below, but my palate isn’t quite as refined as many foodies out there (I avoid seafood and anything with mushrooms).

Have you been amazed by an airline meal? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Either leave a comment below or email me at And if you have pictures, I’d love to see them, too. Which airlines excel at in-flight cuisine?

Here are the top 5 airline meals I’ve enjoyed to date:

  • Pan-fried chicken in green peppercorn sauce with mashed potatoes and a vegetable medley from Singapore Airlines’ “Book the Cook†menu on my JFK-Frankfurt flight:
a plate of food with a sprig of rosemary and a piece of meat

Singapore Airlines Pan-Fried Chicken

  • Pan-fried fillet of beef in three peppercorn sauce with russet potatoes and veggies from Singapore Airlines’ “Book the Cook†menu on my Frankfurt-JFK flight:
a plate of food on a table

Singapore Airlines Pan-Fried Fillet of Beef

  • Korean bibimbab (steamed rice, veggies and minced beef mixed with hot pepper paste and sesame oil) and soup on my Asiana Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Seoul:
a plate of food on a table

Korean Bibimbab on Asiana Airlines

  • Braised beef with pumpkin puree, snow peas, baby turnips and soy beans on my Virgin Australia flight from Perth to Sydney (and it wasn’t as purple as it appears below… the cabin lighting didn’t afford a decent pic):
a plate of food on a blue surface

Luke Mangan Inspired Braised Beef on Virgin Australia

  • Tomato and saffron chicken with green olives, peas and cous cous on my Virgin Australia flight from Sydney to Perth:
a plate of food with green and red sauce

Tomato and Saffron Chicken on Virgin Australia

– Follow Darren Booth on Twitter, @FrequentlyFlyin, for more airline, hotel and travel industry news, reviews and opinions.

Related posts:

Flight Review: Singapore Airlines A380 Business Class JFK-Frankfurt

Flight Review: Asiana Airlines 747 First Class Los Angeles-Seoul

Flight Review: Virgin Australia A330 Business Class Perth-Sydney


  1. I had the Asiana meal from ORD-ICN in First. I think that it’s bimbimbop and kalbi.. the kalbi are the beef short ribs that are delicious!

  2. @Michelle: Ha! Nope… UA burritos didn’t make my top choices. 😉
    @FlyingDoctorWu: Thanks for the clarification… and I agree, it was delicious.
    @Kris: Enjoy your upcoming SQ experience. Did you “Book the Cook?”
    @Kalboz: While I’m not a seafood fan, that dish does look delish. Thanks for the pic!

  3. On a UA flight from Narita to IAH, i had the best duck breast ever. Still not sure why I selected that over the filet, but I am sure glad i did.

  4. @Darren
    I booked the cook on it, I think chicken something HKG-SIN and lamb or something on SIN-SYD. It sounded good when I chose it, but if it is half as good as those SQ meals look, I’ll be happy.

  5. @georgev27: Glad to hear United impressed you!
    @Tproc: Great trip reports, thanks for the links.
    @Kris: I’m pretty sure they’ll impress you. I had the lamb on SQ from the “Book the Cook” menu and it was great – I should add it to this post.
    @Jessica: Got a pic? Would love to see it.

    • @C: Wow, that looks great! And your camera quality is stellar.
      @Adam: Hello! It’s hard to believe my trip with you was almost a year ago. Hope you’re doing well and thanks again for a fantastic experience last July. 🙂

  6. Hi Darren, it’s Adam, Cabin Supervisor from your Virgin Australia flights. So pleased to see that 2 of your top 5 meals are from my galley! Love reading your blog, keep it up and safe flying!

  7. Our best airline meal is the Japanese Bento on UA between tokyo and the US. You need to request it at least 24 hours ahead of flight time.

    • @barry: I’ve heard the Bento meal is one of United’s best!
      @Food Wine and Miles: Not even on South African? I’d bet they have stellar meals (and thanks again for the amenity kit… it’s next in line for a review after tomorrow’s goes live).

  8. @ Sang Kancil – Sorry, the spicy ramen from OZ is actually package instant pour the hot water kind, not a real meal. There are many Asians will bring the same kind on board for long haul flights.
    @ barry – Japanese bento box was a popular meal when it was on PMUA flights, back then almost every single US-Japan flights basically you have to pre-ordered if not you basically have no chance to get it on board (even FA loves that meal when there were spares for flights had low C loads like SEA-NRT), that same bento box discontinued long time ago when PMUA went into bankruptcy. The current Japanese option is far from the same quality and quantity it had back then, and certainly it wasn’t as popular as the one before, you can get it even if you don’t pre-order.

  9. @ORDnHKG, you are mistaken in your ignorance. The spicy ramen is freshly prepared by the Asiana meal service for the flight. And the condescending second part of your comment is pretty racist to generalize it to Asians, pretty uncalled for.

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