More About Kosher Meals on Cathay Pacific

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This is the second time I have travelled with Cathay Pacific and so eaten the kosher meals they provide for the economy class, with a three-year interval in between the two experiences.

The caterer for the return flight – from Hong Kong to Paris – had apparently changed and was now Hermolis, an English caterer based in Wembley. One I had tried six years ago while travelling with Swissair.

About half an hour after takeoff, I was shown the three sealed trays for each of the meal I was entitled to, i.e. dinner, snacks and breakfast. Like the first time, there was a certificate on the tray which indicated that the meat was glatt kosher and the roll mezonot.

Dinner, which was served at 2 am due to an 90 minute delay, consisted of: chicken liver pâté (yes, you’ve read correctly), stir fried chicken with vegetables and rice, streusel pie and fruit salad. There was also a bread roll. Apart from the liver pâté, the food was decent – even if the chicken tasted more like a curry than a stir fry. The fruit salad was really good.

I was spoiled for the snacks, compared to other passengers who had the choice between peanuts, biscuits and/or cup noodles since I had three small sandwiches made filled with turkey and pastrami as well as another but different fruit salad.

Breakfast included an omelette with potatoes and baked beans, a Danish Pastry, a challah-like roll, a portion of cheese with crackers, orange juice and a third kind of fruit salad.

For each meal there were a parve coffee creamer, parve ‘butter’ and a sealed cup of mineral water. I have no idea whether there was kosher wine on board since I don’t drink alcohol when I fly.

While the meals on Cathay three years ago had been a bit too light, this was certainly not the case this year. There certainly was ample food but it could have been healthier. Honestly who wants chicken liver pâté in the middle of the night or baked beans for breakfast? A kosher vegetarian option would be a most welcome option to the long list of special meals Cathay Pacific offers.

Another problem was the fact that dinner and the snacks were basari (meat), which means that the travelers who wait for six hours after eating meat could not have breakfast unless they requested to eat the snacks quite early into the flight.

Over all I’d say that the meal was decent but not terrific; obviously the gourmet chefs mentioned on the flyers that were inside the tray had all been on holiday when these meals were made.

My previous posts on the topic:

Kosher meals on Swissair and Air France in 2007

Kosher meals on Cathay Pacific in 2010

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Classic Combo

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I was a little optimistic last week when I thought I would manage to write blog posts during my trip. Still one thing that I can easily write about is food.

The food in Hong Kong is quite similar to Cantonese food, with tastes that are more alien to the Western palate than that of Beijing.

One staple element of Chinese food however is soup. At lunch time, people flock to small restaurants and eat all sorts of noodles in broth. Numerous places offer this on their menus for a nominal sum; the only problem being to find one where the menu is in English.

Here is an idea of the kind of combination you can have:
– vegetable broth, sweet and sour broth (mild, medium, hot or very hot) or spicy hot broth – the last two being meat broths
– rice noodles (round), rice vermicelli or udon
– two choices among the following list: vegetables, pickled vegetables, Chinese chive, bean sprouts, mushrooms, fish slices, duck slices, beef slices, pork slices, tofu, soy puffs, bean curd crisp slice, pork intestine (!!)

What’s Your Breakfast II

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One of my New Year’s resolutions was to eat a proper breakfast every day rather than just swallow two or three cups of coffee and so far I have been successful. My secret: Sunday evening baking.

Each Sunday, I make buns – cardamom buns or cardamom buns with raisins – and freeze them. Then every morning I briefly put a bun or two in the microwave and eat the buns with slices of cheese. I drink some sort of fruit juice and cups of coffee.

This may not seem much but for someone who has difficulties facing food in the morning this is quite a step.

For more inspirations, you can read this old post or try Leora’s Best Bowl of Oatmeal.

Japanese, Organic and Kosher

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Since I embarked on a new diet, I have naturally bought a number of Japanese products (ramen noodles, soy sauce, miso soup). This afternoon, I went to the local organic store, not necessarily to purchase Japanese foods, but to check what they had in store and find inspiration for upcoming meals.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover Clearspring, a British brand which specializes in quality Japanese , Oriental and European foods. Not only are the products I bought from Japan and organic, but they are also kosher certified.

Now I wish I had realized they also kosher certified European products, such as olive oil, as I would have bought some. The siver lining is that the next visit to the store will be more fun as I’ll try to uncover what kosher products they stock.

New Diet or New Habits?

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Because I wish to lose weight and because I try to take care of my health, I seriously plan to change a number of things in my diet and my routine.

After having considered several diets, I have come to believe that I need to settle on things that are feasible and can be easily integrated into my life. Thus a low-carbohydrate diet is fine in the summer but doesn’t work (for me anyway) in cold weather. On the contrary I know that cutting down on meat – especially red – is something I can do.

I also know that I need to adopt a healthier routine: more walking for instance. There are lots of places I can walk to rather than take the car. I ought to start a sport too but do not feel ready (yet).

I received this morning a book which deals with the Okinawa diet and am hopeful that it will inspire some change. I don’t anticipate to revolutionize the way I eat or live but hope that I will enjoy whatever I choose to adopt.

Hopefully I’ll get some insight about soy consumption, especially by women. Finally I am looking forward to read and try new recipes. I made a dessert with sweet potatoes tonight but will only eat it at breakfast tomorrow.

Meanwhile here are two links you might like to try:
Japanese Noodle Vegetable Salad with Peanut Sauce and To Tofu or Not to Tofu: Tasty Substitutes for Dairy or Meat

Three for Two

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Since I am on holiday, I tend to cook and read a bit more and write less; which means that in the coming weeks you’ll probably find mostly recipes, and maybe a few book reviews too, on this blog.

Here are the links to my three favorite recipes for challah:

Quick Challah at Frugal Kosher

Claudia Roden’s classic

Ima’s Challah (not my Ima’s) at Not Derby Pie, my latest find but also my favorite now

Kosher Products in HK

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If you eat kosher, self-catering in HK is not impossible but it is not easy either. If you google “kosher products” and “hong kong” you will find a few addresses which you might find useful.

On the main island, you have basically two kosher stores:the JCC Koshermart (at the Jewish Community Centre) and Shalom Grocery.

The JCC Koshermart is stocked with imported kosher groceries, deli, meat and poultry products. Apparently it also offers freshly prepared dishes for Jewish Festivals as well as freshly baked breads and bakery products.

Shalom Grocery is located in Central, 61 Connaught Road, and holds a variety of Mehadrin Kosher products from Israel and the U.S.A.

However those of you who are familiar with kosher shops must keep in mind that these two stores are quite small and only offer a limited number of products such as canned food, snacks, buiscuits, some breads, wine and grape juice, a few dairy products and some frozen meat and fish.

Chabad of Hong Kong also mentions that “there is a wide variety of kosher products available in the Hong Kong Supermarkets.” I’d nuance this and say that there are some kosher products in some Hong Kong Supermarkets; most are products from the USA and Canada and bear printed hasgachot.

Thus you will find some kosher products at:
– Olivers in Princes Building
– Wellcome Supermarkets
– “Great” Supermarket, beneath Seibu Pacific Place which has a kosher section (products from Israel

While Oliver’s and Wellcomes certainly sell kosher products, don’t expect to find lot o f things there. I am not sure about the kosher range at Great’s but it can’t be very big since I didn’t see it when I went there. I did find a few kosher products scattered here and there around the shop though.
I’d suggest that if you see items you fancy, it is a good idea to buy them you might not find them as not all stores hold the same food.