This Was Anthony Bourdain's Favorite Airport Food In The World

Think all airport food is bland and overpriced? There's one seasoned traveler who would have disagreed with you: Anthony Bourdain. Despite its reputation and limitations, Bourdain — who proclaimed he was closely acquainted with pretty much every airport in the world — still believed there's one specific airport with a salvageable food offering for travelers looking to get their grub in between flights: Singapore Changi Airport.

In conversation with The New York Times, when asked about his favorite airport food, Bourdain admitted: "Probably Changi Airport in Singapore has the best food; it has a hawker center for the employees that's open to the public." What's a hawker center? Put simply, it's a classic-style food court with a number of stalls that sell various types of food and drink at an affordable price.

Tucked away in Terminal 1, the easiest way to reach the canteen is to head over to the arrivals hall and look for the signs. Alternatively, you can also access the canteen from the second floor of Terminal 1, near Row 13, and grab the elevator down to the basement. The canteen itself is called "Orchis Food Court," so don't be afraid to ask if you do get lost!

Sampling the best Changi Airport has to offer

Open from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., the canteen is bustling with airport employees and in-the-know travelers and locals, and is filled with more than 25 stalls that serve classic Singapore meals and drinks. From cheap fried rice options to halal meals, Japanese and Korean staples, and even Vietnamese food, you'll be spoiled for choice. Plus, following Bourdain's advice on how to spot the best local places to eat, you'll be going exactly where the locals go.

Once inside the canteen, you'll notice that the stalls have two different prices listed: one for staff and one for the public. Don't worry about feeling "scammed," though — both prices are incredibly affordable. Specifically, a bowl of chicken pho will set you back $6.50 (while the staff price is $6), a hearty serving of chicken cutlet rice (pictured above) will cost around $5 ($3.50 for staff members), and a portion of mala xiang guo — a spicy stir-fry dish — is priced on the higher end at $9.80 ($7.50 for staff). As for drinks, a chilled cup of soy milk costs $1.20, while lychee drinks are $1.90 (90 cents and $1.50 respectively, for staff).

Lastly, while on the topic of money, it's also important to note that the canteen only takes cash — so make sure you stop by an ATM before making your way there.

Other unforgettable airport meals

Bourdain's tolerance — for lack of a better word — for airport food didn't stop at Changi Airport, though. In the same New York Times interview, the chef, TV host, and writer also admitted there's another location that once stole his taste buds: Tokyo Airport.

Specifically, Bourdain highlighted "a sushi bar right near the gates serving flights to the States that's extraordinarily good" — at least as far as most airport sushi bars go — and the egg salad sandwiches from Lawson, a Japanese convenience store. Describing the sandwiches, the famed eat-everything, try-everything-once adventurer added: "They sit there at near room temperature for I don't know how long on white bread wrapped in plastic, and I don't know why but they're ridiculously good." If that doesn't give you the confidence to grab one during your visit to Japan, nothing will.

In spite of his praise for airport fare, there's still one thing Bourdain would never dare eat during his travels: airplane food. Per a 2016 interview with Bon Appétit: "No one has ever felt better after eating plane food." So except for these lowly-rated spots, guess we'll stick to the airport food courts instead.