Cathay Pacific First Class Catering Changes (Balik Salmon Cut)

Cathay Pacific offers one of my all around favorite first class products. While the seats aren’t fully enclosed suites, they are incredibly spacious and comfortable for sleeping. They perhaps have my favorite first class seats in the sky, even though they’ve been around for years.

Cathay Pacific first class seat

The service is also consistently excellent, and I appreciate the small touches, like the great pajamas and handwritten notes from the crew.

I’ve always found the food to be the somewhat weak point.

I love their first class starters, which consist of balik salmon and caviar.

Caviar and salmon starter

I also really enjoy their soup and salad, as the salad usually has protein on it.

Caesar salad with prawn

Meanwhile I’ve always found the main courses to be the weak point of their catering. On the western menu they always offer either beef or pasta, and neither is especially good. The beef is usually about four pounds of non-lean meat, while the pasta tastes like it comes out of a Lean Cuisine box.

They also have a Chinese menu, but as is often the case with Chinese cuisine, it’s not usually the leanest cuts of meat, which I tend to prefer. I love most types of Asian food, but Chinese “comfort food” isn’t really my thing.

Anyway, Cathay Pacific is making some changes to their first class catering as of this month, in particular to their caviar and salmon starter.

Cathay Pacific will be eliminating the balik salmon from the starter, and instead be serving an individual tin of caviar for each passenger. They’ll also be adding a mother of pearl caviar spoon, which I know my caviar enthusiast friends will appreciate.

The caviar will be catered by Calvisius, which is the same that ANA serves in first class.

ANA first class caviar service

Reader Adrien was kind enough to send along some pictures of the new caviar service from a Cathay Pacific first class flight he took in the past few days.

Cathay Pacific’s new first class caviar service

Cathay Pacific’s new first class caviar service

While I’m sad to see them eliminate the balik salmon with the starter, I do hope that these first class meal changes also result in some new main course options.

And yes, this post is about as “first world” as they get, but you’d be surprised how many emails I received about this change.

What would you like to see Cathay Pacific change about their inflight catering? Have you flown them yet in May and experienced the new catering?

Filed Under: Cathay Pacific
  1. Such a shame as I don’t eat caviar but love salmon. I have my first F CX trip in years coming up in the autumn.

  2. i wish they had a regular fish entree, not shellfish. like cod with veggies or something.

  3. @ Lantean – the link offers examples of two dishes they will be doing. One of which is fish:

    “Another new menu created in partnership with Xin Dau Ji serves up “classic home-style Cantonese dishes” such as deep-fried cod with sweet corn sauce.”

  4. Does CX have a similar program like SQ’s Book the Cook where a passenger can pre-order their meal before the flight?
    If they do not, having a similar program or option would be awesome!

  5. I have a CX F long haul comping up in a few days and I’ll send you my thoughts after I get to Honkers. Actually I have a couple of flights coming up.

    Personally, I really can’t stand salmon (I gag when I try to eat it, no kidding, and I’m not sure why as I’ve never had a bad experience with salmon per se), so I’m not sorry to see it go. But for the salmon lovers, not a good thing.

  6. @ Joey — They don’t, you can just pre-order special meals. Agree it would be nice.

  7. Darn. I like Balik Salmon (though I’ve never eaten it on CX), much more than caviar.

    I did notice the EK FCL in DXB serving Balik Salmon. It definitely looked and tasted like the real “Balik” branded item. I helped myself to 12 slices on my short layover on QF9.

  8. Also good to see CX is shaking up their catering. Maybe I was flying ex-JFK but I thought the food was very average. The Chinese main felt very ordinary.

    The dinner on SQ R ex-HKG 3 days later absolutely blew them out of the water. A full, well-thought refined set menu from the starter to dessert, like how ANA does it with their Kaiseki menu.

  9. @TravelinWilly That’s the second time I’ve seen “Honkers” mentioned here in the last two days. Is that actually a nickname for HKG? A smartphone autocomplete mistake? A profanity filter run amok?

  10. And here I thought after reading your trip reports I’d know exactly what to expect for my upcoming (and first) trip on Cathay first class down to the T. No matter, they’re still an entertaining read. That and I was waffling over whether to tweet the lack of a proper spoon while being served caviar as a #firstworldproblem .

    Read the story on Balik salmon as well, and it was quite fascinating.

    Am I disappointed over the elimination of the salmon? A little. But I’ll see what Cathay does to update the entire catering experience on my flight before I give my final reaction.

  11. I think most people could not tell the difference between Balik salmon and regular salmon. I realize Balik is very expensive. The WSJ wrote that 90% of the salmon served in restaurants in the U.S. is farm raised. Any salmon on Cathay would have been fine with me.

  12. It’s kind of a shame that they are doing away with the salmon. I thought it was the best part of the appetizer. Personally, I can’t stand caviar, but to each their own. As for the OP’s opinion of bad food on CX!! I am surprised at that statement. I have had absolutely outstanding food on the 2 first class trips I have had. SFO-HKG and a second trip HKG-JFK. The beef entree was outstanding. The duck peeled right off the bone and was incredibly tasty. I had a waygu beef burger that was better than I have had in any restaurant so I completely disagree with CX having bad food. These experiences were in Nov and Dec of 2013 respectively. It far surpasses BA or AA on any of the international flights I have ever taken.

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