What It’s Like Flying (and Eating) Abroad – USA to ASIA

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It has been a wild few weeks here in the Starving Chef’s kitchen – or should I say the Starving Chef Abroad?

At the beginning of August my hubby and I had an opportunity to take a spontaneous trip to Southeast Asia, so naturally, we took it!

If you want to check out more of our adventures to Jakarta and Bali, don’t forget to subscribe to my Youtube channel so you can check out all the incredible foods we ate in Indonesia. And if you like these travel type videos, hit that thumbs up while you’re there so I know what kind of content you want to see more of in the future!

It takes a really long time to get to Indonesia from Cleveland. It’s practically on the exact opposite side of the globe after all – 9,958 miles from Medina to be exact. While I may be bright eyed and chipper here as we walk through the Cleveland airport, I had never taken a plane ride longer than from Boston to France. And I certainly had never flown anything other than economy until today.

So with the next 30+ hours ahead a complete mystery, we started the first leg of our journey with a quick hour long flight to Chicago before we boarded our first international plane headed to Tokyo.

Instead of boring plane seats, when you fly internationally in business class you get to sit in pod seats.

Complete with their own TVs, foot rest, blankets and a whole slew of personal products to get you through the next 14 hours trapped in a metal tube. 

We also get slippers so you don’t have to keep your traveling shoes on the entire time, complete with a complimentary shoe horn to get them back on. You also get a personal case for your toiletries, its actually a pretty nice little pouch. 

Then you get your own eye mask – and there is also a toothbrush and mini toothpaste as well. So all and all, its a pretty nice travel kit and I kinda wish I would have taken the case with me when we deboarded. You also get a pair of ear phones, which is great if you only have bluetooth headphones.

We have our own controls for the TV and the seat right next to us as well and plenty of movie choices to get you through the flight.

Plus, while economy is boarding, you get served a glass of sparkling wine so you feel extra fancy.

The stewardesses know to keep the drinks coming too, I mean, whats better than getting drunk on a plane?

The business class menu is split into several sections including alcoholic beverages, multi course Japanese style cuisine, international cuisine, and a snack and a dessert menu to boot.

Shortly after take off, we put in our food orders – and when the food starts coming, it does not stop coming. 

The first little teaser was a small plate of pickles and nuts, which was a great way to cleanse your palate after a morning of traveling. 

A little while later, my personal stewardess came to put a table cloth on my pull out tray – which is a quite fancy touch if I do say so myself.

Nick started the flight with the international menu, so he got a small meat and veggie plate with a few rolls as his starter.

And I chose the Japanese menu, of course – and I had to constantly refer back to the paper menu to understand what the heck I was being served. My first course was zensai and kobachi – a selection of morsels that included marinated spinach, chinese yam, grilled duck teriyaki, deep fried pike conger with shiso herbs and edamame, alongside grilled eel and cucumber in a vinegar gelee.

I thought this was my main meal but it was quickly followed up with the otsukuri and shusai courses – which included a selection of seared yellowtail sashimi and a grilled gold stripe amberjack in a soy based sauce with a side of steamed white rice, miso soup and Japanese pickles.

I literally was so full but I could not stop eating. 

My hubby finished up his meal with a cheese plate and I decided to keep it simple and ate ice cream to cleanse my palate.

A few movies later, I figured it was time for a bedtime snack, so I tried out the chicken curry sandwich – and of course, another screwdriver to help me sleep.

After a quick sleep, there was still more time endure and another meal to eat. Flying internationally really messes with your sense of time, so our breakfast was actually dinner on this flight.

I forget exactly what this meal was called but I believe it was chicken and risotto. Served with a side of fresh fruit and bread rolls, this was exactly what I needed to get me through to the next leg of our journey.

We had a few hours to kill in Tokyo – so we decided to hit up the airport lounge for refreshments. The lounge has simple buffet-style salad bars and various onigiri. We didn’t have time to order a full meal, but there other dishes you can order fresh.

We were most entertained by the beer dispensing station – not surprisingly, after 14 hours on a plane, even the simple things can be enthralling.

In addition to this, there is a full bar you can help youself to as well. I had just enough time to get down a few rice balls before it was time to board our next long flight – this time to Indonesia.

Another round of sparkling wine to start off this flight and we were off!

The menu on this flight was just as complex as the first, including everything from marinated gizzard to octopus.

The first snack you get is the gizzard of course, which while chewy is still pretty tasty. Served with a packet of crispy breadsticks, its a weird but yummy way to kick off the flight.

This was followed up by the wildest looking platter I have ever been served on a plane. This time the tasty morsels included things like simmered brown algae and bitter melon, sweetfish sping rolls and marinated octopus and a beef and kelp egg roll.

I pretty quickly lost track of everything I was being served however – and after 20+ hours of traveling, you’d have a hard time remembering what you ate too. 

Shortly after this meal, we arrived in Jakarta where we spent a week exploring the city and then headed off to Bali for our honeymoon. If you want to see what we ate during our trip to Indonesia, now is a great time to head over to my Youtube channel and hit that subscribe button so you can be the first to know whenever my latest video goes up. The food in Indonesia is absolutely incredible, so stick around and hit the sub button so you can eat around the world with me.

After a whirlwind adventure of a lifetime, it was unfortunately time to repeat the process and hop back on a plane for the long journey home.

Because our first flight from Jakarta to Tokyo was technically at 6am, we got to experience what it was like to be served breakfast in business class – which naturally started with a screwdriver to kick things off. 

I kept it simple on the ride home, opting for a sous vide omelet for breakfast. But I will say we fell in love with sambal in Indonesia, so I was pumped to put it on my eggs on the flight.

The rest of the meal consisted of some yogurt, fruit, and another screwdriver of course. I felt pleasantly refreshed after this meal – and ready to sleep since I was absolutely beyond exhausted and still had seven  hours to go.

After a quick midnight snack of these fried pasta snacks, like a never ending ground hog day, we boarded another plane, clinked our drinks and settled in for one more fourteen-hour flight.

The drinks were flowing freely on this flight, and definitely seemed to be getting stronger – that or we were growing increasingly slap happy as our sense of time faded off into nothingness. The second we finished one drink, a stewardess would appear ready to offer another one.

My husbands food was getting increasingly more western as he was served – I think this was some sort of Wellington-esque beef and potatoes meal. The only problem with his meal was that the stewardesses were too busy to refill our drinks while serving dinner.

For my main courses I had a miso tofu soup with tuna and pork belly and a side of white rice and Japanese pickles for seasoning. The stewardesses do tell you what everything is when they serve you, but between the loud noise of the plane and the number of cocktails I had had by this point, I definitely wasn’t sure what everything was on my plate.

The pork was incredibly tender and was in a bed of some kind of creamy potatoes. The fish was a tiny bit overcooked but still pretty tasty.

Finally for dessert I tried out them lemon chocolate torte that I skipped on the first plane over – an unusual combination of flavors to be sure, but not unpleasant. The lemon was incredibly zesty.

The final meal I really wanted another one of the curry chicken sandwiches I had had as a midnight snack before, but this sandwich left much to be desired. We must have been getting close to home. It was unfortunate to end the flight on a disappointing meal but also, the flight was nearing an end so just let me off the got dang plane already!

If you want to see more from our adventures in Jakarta and Bali, I’m planning to post more about our trip in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

You can also follow me on Facebook, Tiktok and Instagram for even more delicious content while you wait. 

I hope you all enjoyed and I hope you join me on our next adventure.