OPINION: Airports: nice places to visit, but you wouldn't want to eat there. At least that's the popular theory given how overpriced and underwhelming airport food options usually are.
So why do I find myself eating at airports all the time? There are myriad ways to pass time in those huge terminals, yet I seem to spend the bulk of mine feeding my face.
Oh well, with that in mind, here's my assessment of the food options at the hubs I've been hanging out in lately.
SYD - Sydney International
Sydney's not fantastic, but it could be worse. There's a Macca's, so at least I can get my traditional egg McMuffin fix on morning departures. But if you venture outside that you're looking at massively overpriced bistro fare, massively overpriced beer, or massively crap chain-store coffee. (Tip: go to Danks Street Depot before security.)
LAX - Los Angeles
If you're lucky enough to be flying Qantas (bet you never thought you'd read that sentence) you'll be departing from the fancy new Tom Bradley Terminal, which at least has a few culinary options. My last non-Qantas flight was from Terminal 3, which offers the tantalising choice between an expensive seafood place or Burger King. That's it. Blergh.
KUL - Kuala Lumpur
KLIA rocks. Head up to the top level of the main terminal and you've got noodle soup places, you've got Malay street food places, coffee shops, an Italian restaurant and a faux Parisian deli. Oh, and there's a Burger King, of course.
BKK - Bangkok
Word of advice: don't arrange to meet your friend at the McDonald's, "because there's bound to be a McDonald's". There isn't. You'll be walking around for hours. There are actually surprisingly few places to eat in the vast cavern that is Suvarnabhumi, so you might be walking around for hours anyway. Use to touchscreen maps to save time.
SFO - San Francisco
Hey LAX, why can't you be more like SFO? San Fran's airport leads the way on all fronts, but particularly food options. Even the domestic terminal has an excellent Mexican joint, plus a few coffee-and-sandwich places, a restaurant by Iron Chef Cat Cora... even a freaken wine tasting room.
PNH - Phnom Penh
Best. Pizza. Ever. OK, maybe there were a few mitigating circumstances, like a hangover I almost had to check in as excess baggage and the fact that I really wasn't expecting to find decent pizza at a Cambodian airport. But a few months ago, down in the public concourse at a place called The Pizza Company, I ate the... Best. Pizza. Ever. It's almost worth going back just for that.
SIN - Singapore
Given the undeniable awesomeness of Changi, you'd assume that the food would be up there with the world's best. But you'd be wrong. It's just OK. You can get a sub, or a roti, or a bowl of ramen noodles. But when you'd expected to find an all-singing, all-dancing food extravaganza it's sadly underwhelming.
FRA - Frankfurt
There are a whole bunch of options at Frankfurt, but forget 'em. All you need to know is this: there's a place called Kuffler & Bucher, just a little sit-down restaurant in the middle of a terminal, that will serve you a bratwurst with bread and a Paulaner beer at seven o'clock in the morning. Sorted.
LHR - Heathrow
I know, Gordon Ramsay has a restaurant here now - Plane Food - which makes Heathrow alright. But every time I'm at the airport I'm always digging around trying to find my last few precious pounds, meaning I don't want to spend the money at Gordie's place. Fortunately, there's a Pret A Manger or 50.
AKL - Auckland
Auckland is like the little airport that could. It's not giant, but the coffee is great, there's a decent sushi bar, a few other restaurant-y options, and a Burger King for the morning (or afternoon) after the night before.
- Sydney Morning Herald