04/10/2014 04:03 pm ET Updated Jun 10, 2014

Eight Meals You'd Never Believe Came From an Airplane

Airplane food in general isn't exactly well, appetizing, to put it mildly. But many airlines are trying to change that with their new spring in-flight menus that are nothing less than exciting. Here are eight dishes that take haute cuisine to new heights -- quite literally.

By Chaney Kwak,

  • 1
    AIR FRANCE Starting this month, long-haul business passengers on Air France will savor veteran chef Régis Marcon’s edible art, like braised shoulder of lambs with figs over couscous…
  • 2
    AIR FRANCE … or playfully presented cod with endive and Menton lemons, among other signature dishes.
  • 3
    LUFTHANSA Beginning this May, Lufthansa will serve regionally-inspired American fare on its outbound US flights, like Cioppino on West Coast routes and grilled beef with chili from the Midwest. Here: fresh spring rolls with chicken, because, let's be honest, what's more American than pan-Asian food?
  • 4
    JAPAN AIRLINES Shinich Sato of Passage 53, the first Japanese chef to receive two Michelin stars in Paris, created six hors d'oeuvre for Japan Airlines' first class, including duck salad, squid and cauliflower, and smoked scallops and chickpea jelly. (I have a crush on that bento box—don't you?) Main dish: beef fillet steak and foie gras, paired with radish citrus sauce.
  • 5
    FINNAIR The style-conscious airline is introducing a new Scandinavian menu created by Pekka Terävä of Helsinki's Olo. The Nordic noshes include cured salmon, scallop paté and marinated white asparagus; and slow cooked lamb entrecote with a dark thyme sauce over barley risotto, fried porcini and glazed carrots.
  • 6
    VIRGIN AMERICA It's been spring for a while in California, and the West Coast-based airline is celebrating the season with cool soba noodles in lemongrass shiitake broth in its first class.
  • 7
    KOREAN The Asian carrier is serving elevated Korean fare (think black rice and walnut porridge and plum dressing, as well as braised pork paired with mild kimchi) in its business class. Served with Perrier-Jouët, this is a whole new Korean culinary experience.
  • 8
    UNITED AIRLINES United's new additions aren't only easy on the eye (and the palate) but also sensitive to passengers' dietary needs. In addition to switching to gluten-free salad dressing on its premium-cabin menu, United is adding gluten-free options like the tomato basil soup on United Global First.

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