Japan Airlines (JAL) has made some interesting changes in the inflight menu on select UK-Tokyo flights. The airline has partnered with the Government of Japan and award-winning Head Chef-Owner and Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador Daisuke Hayashi, who also supervised the menu.

The new menu features Japanese gluten-free rice flour noodles to first and business class passengers on flights between London Heathrow Airport and Tokyo Haneda Airport, throughout February.

The airline said its “Rice Flour Noodle with Seafood in Starchy Sauce” resulted from a special collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) and the All Japan Rice and Rice Related Foods Export Promotion Council (AJRFC), a certified export promotion organisation for agricultural, forestry and fisheries products and food products, to expand exports of rice flour products.

Hayashi is an ambassador for promoting Japanese food along with being the supervisor of JAL’s first class and business class meals on flights from Europe to Japan. In a recent seminar in UK, Hayashi gave a lecture on Allure and Versatility of Rice explaining how the noodles are different from the rest.

“Rice flour noodles have a flavour of rice and a different taste from wheat flour noodles,” Hayashi said. “The chewy texture unique to rice-flour noodles makes them suitable for a variety of other dishes as well.”

The seminar went on to become a PR event for the rice flour noodles.

JAL and Hayashi have partnered before to introduce new seasonal menus on flights. The airline has offered its first and business class passengers an autumn menu on flights from London to Tokyo.

In 2016, JAL featured a course menu consisting of five seasonal delicacies: a bowl dish, hors d’oeuvres, UK-grown fresh vegetables, fish, a main dish with seasoned rice and soup, and dessert. In 2019, flights from London and Frankfurt to Tokyo featured grilled seabream and roasted pork rice bowls.

JAL said the new gluten-free rice flour noodles are made in Japan with 100% Japanese rice. The carrier hopes the menu will appeal to several people, leading to further expansion of rice flour demand and exports.