ANA really doesn’t fool around with flavor.

You may think you’re a boil-in-bag retort curry pro, but have you tried curry made by an airline?

When our Japanese-language reporter Egawa Tasuku was in Haneda Airport the other day, he swung by the All Nippon Airways (ANA) shop and noticed some ANA brand retort curry (retoruto in Japanese).

There were four kinds in total: “first-class” curry, original curry, and two types of curry made in cooperation with a first-class chef.

▼ Here’s how to spot an ANA shop.

Egawa wasn’t sure he’d trust an airline company to make a good curry, but he was tempted by the idea of eating “first-class” curry. How bougie would it make him feel? He decided to try it out.

The first-class curry turned out to be made with mushrooms and Awao chicken, a specialty of Japan’s Tokushima prefecture. It cost 853 yen (US$6.57) per packet. Not cheap, but a must-buy for Egawa. Plus the picture of the chef in the corner makes it look even more legit.

Next to that one was the curry “developed by a first-class chef.” It was simply labeled “Pork Curry” and cost 540 yen a pack.

There was also a beef curry (594 yen) “reviewed by a first-class chef.” Egawa wasn’t sure what the difference between “first-class” and “first-class chef developed” curry, but he was down for trying both. By the way, the above three types are also available in a set for 1,987 yen.

And finally, ANA’s original curry, Tobikkiri Curry Gorogoro Beef — a beef consommé-based curry available for 540 yen.

▼ With his four curries and some rice to go with it collected, Egawa’s ANA collection was complete.

He was eager to see how delicious all of them would (or would not) be.

▼ First up: the original.

First, Egawa started with the original Gorogoro Beef curry as a control group for the other first-class curries. This was apparently the same curry served onboard ANA flights.

▼ Would you complain if this was served to you?

Unfortunately, Egawa has never actually been on an ANA flight, so he couldn’t confirm that fun fact. If you’ve been on an ANA flight, though, you may recognize it! To prepare it, Egawa boiled the curry pack in water for five minutes.

▼ It had a lot of fillings, which Egawa was pleasantly surprised by.

He picked out all of the decent-sized ingredients to check out the filling-to-roux ratio. He thought it was a decent amount overall.

▼ And he counted three whole mushrooms.

Egawa took a bite. It was mild and had a slight acidic taste, maybe due to the tomatoes? He also couldn’t identify the consommé flavor, but he did note a sweet aftertaste that made it absolutely delicious.

▼ Next, he moved onto the pork curry.

▼ The dark color is a good sign.

It tasted pretty refreshing! The pork was soft and light, and though it definitely wasn’t a mild curry, it wasn’t super spicy either.

▼ Again, pretty decent-sized pieces.

The flavor didn’t vary much from start to finish, and he could taste the notes of soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce in the roux. All in all, it was a nice, light curry that was clearly well-developed by a first-class chef.

▼ Third, Egawa tried the beef curry.

▼ This one was even darker than the pork one.

He immediately noticed the sweetness on his first bite. Just as he thought it was mild, however, he was bombarded with a blast of spice. He wouldn’t say it’s extremely spicy, but it definitely hits without warning. The label said something along those lines, but he didn’t believe it until he tried it.

▼ There weren’t many fillings besides the beef, but it had a nice, melty texture.

Compared to the pork curry, Egawa might have thought these were developed by two different curry restaurants rather than one first-class chef. And when compared to the Gorogoro Beef Curry, this one had a higher-quality taste.

▼ And for the grand finale, the first-class Awao Chicken and Mushroom Curry.

As you probably guessed, this is the curry served to first-class passengers on ANA flights.

▼ Would it be weird to get a first-class ticket just to eat the curry?

His fillings pile showed that it had a lot of chicken — definitely more than your average retort curry. It even had five mushrooms!

▼ Just look at that delicious texture.

As for the taste, it was distinctly high-class. It had the same spice level as the pork curry but in a slightly different way. He also liked the smooth flavor that the dashi roux lent to the dish. The roux also had the most texture out of the four he tried. It’s a good sign of well-cooked, melty ingredients.

Rather than trying to win in terms of savoriness or spice, this curry took the prize for its carefully-selected ingredients. It had a balanced, high-class flavor truly worthy of first-class passengers.

So out of the four, which sounds the most appealing to you? Egawa’s personal favorite was the first-class beef curry thanks to its distinct spice factor. But he’d recommend any of them! You can purchase them on Rakuten Japan or ANA shops throughout airports.

Images: ©SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]