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Curating Indian Cuisine At 40,000 Feet

Emirates, the world’s largest international airline, presents an enhanced menu offering on its routes to India, on the back of its recent festive menu for Diwali.

India, with its close cultural ties to Durban (popularly referred to as the largest’Indian’ city outside India), is a popular destination for travellers, with Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore being the top Emirates gateways that Durbanites travel to in the sub-continent.

With a population of over 150,000 locals with ties to India and a wider global diaspora of Indians living around the world, the airline has a food offering that reflects the regional nuances of Indian food. A part of the airline’s food and beverage philosophy is to offer authentic regional and seasonal cuisines for a cosmopolitan customer base, that expects a gourmet dining experience, even 40,000 feet in the air.

“We always look to our customer when it comes to creating our menus – we want to instil a sense of familiarity for customers that are travelling and experiencing regional Indian food the first time. With our Indian menus, it’s very much a nod to the simplicity and comfort of a home cooked meal,” explained Ravi Nage, Regional Catering Manager, Emirates. “With each region and state in India having a distinctive culture and cuisine, you cannot look to a one-size-fits-all approach. So, whether it’s a condiment typical to a city, ora sweet associated with a festival, we try to bring those flavours onboard.”

Emirates serves more than 110 million meals a year, catering for over 55 million dine-in guests annually – with the same attention to detail in First, Business and Economy Class. It is the only airline to have food available from every region it flies to, making it essentially the world’s largest flying restaurant.

In the case of Emirates Indian routes, destination-inspired menus mirror the varied tastes and culture of the country, ensuring there is a well-balanced meal option for every need or preference. Travellers on Kolkata flights enjoy popular dishes from the eastern part of India, while passengers to Ahmadabad can sample region-specific dishes featuring the freshest ingredients. Each route menu is different and changes monthly in line with the latest food and drink trends. For example, Malvani Chicken Curry, Chai bread, Sarson Maach and Turiya Vatana Muthia and the well-loved nostalgic Amul Butter just to name a few. 

On the South African routes, Emirates customers can savour the taste of India with dishes such as the newly introduced Rooibos cured salmon, avocado puree, ostrich pastrami, rye bread crostini, spinach pesto, ostrich tartare, marbled quail egg, mossbolletjies bread, fillet of ostrich, Stellenbosch Red Verjus sauce with smoked ostrich lardons and a scrumptious cajun and paprika chicken breast roasted, Rooibos tea jus.

Diversity is further enhanced by special occasion cuisines like special Iftar boxes on all routes during Ramadan, and the serving of traditional sweets like dry fruit barfi and motichoor ladoo during Diwali week.

In addition to satisfying the taste buds of the region, the rest of the experience on board Emirates Indian flights has been similarly tailored according to the guiding principle that the entirety of a trip, including the flight, should be a memorable occasion. The 3,500 channels of ice, Emirates’ celebrated inflight entertainment system, cover the full spectrum of Indian entertainment content – with over 30 of the latest Bollywood releases, and 25 old favourite Bollywood movies. While cabin crews speak multiple Indian languages as a special touch of hospitality for travellers.

Emirates offers connections between Durban and India, with over 180 flights to India every week. A daily flight links Dubai and Durban, as well as four daily flights from Johannesburg to Dubai. To book, or for more information, terms and conditions, please visit or visit the local Emirates office or your travel agent.


About Emirates:

Emirates is the world’s largest international airline with a global network of 159 destinations in 85 countries across six continents. Emirates operates 270 modern aircraft and is the world’s largest operator of the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 family of aircraft. The airline’s luxurious amenities, regionally inspired gourmet cuisine, award-winning in-flight entertainment system – ice – and unmatched hospitality provided by its iconic multilingual Cabin Crew from over 135 nationalities have made Emirates one of the world’s most recognized airline brands.

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