When visiting an airport that for many years has been the number one rated airport, it can be challenging to know how to best spend your time. At an airport, it’s not about the sites or stores, but for me, it’s about the food and enjoying a local experience before jetting off. I received a fun “secret” tip about where to get the best meal at Changi Airport. I took the suggestion and was thrilled with my experience. Welcome to the world of staff canteens at Singapore’s Changi Airport!
Given all there is to see and do at Changi, I got there plenty early so as not to be rushed. After a fantastic hotel stay in Singapore, I departed on a Sunday morning. Traffic to the airport was quick with barely a 20 minute taxi ride. Check-in for my Malaysian Airlines flight was a breeze and immigration was super easy to negotiate.
One unique part of the Changi airport experience was that security is at the gates. I’m not sure whether I prefer that or not because it did mean I had to get to the gate earlier than I normally like to. I think I’d have to experience security at the gate a few more times to see whether or not I prefer it.
Breaking It Down:
There are a few terminals to visit to take in all the amusements. First, I went to Terminal 3 to see the butterfly garden. I had no idea what to expect, and though it was a small garden, it was really special to be in the midst of all the butterflies and spend some time just watching them do their butterfly thing.
Using the Skytrain at Changi Airport
The Skytrain system at Changi is fantastic. And you can take your luggage carts on the Skytrain. This will come in handy if you use a luggage cart.
SATS Premier Lounge
I went back to Terminal 2 to check out the only lounge I had access to. It’s a SATS Premier Lounge that I had access to with Priority Pass. It was not at all crowded when I went in.
As lounges go, I thought the food was great with dishes that were Asian-based. There was laksa and an assortment of curries. The lounge design was pleasant with good counter space for eating and working, as well as tables and chairs throughout the lounge. I liked that there was plenty of natural lighting.
Then it was time for my canteen visit and the best meal at Changi Airport!
How To Find The Best Meal At Changi Airport
After checking in for my flight, I asked how to get to the canteen for employees. My ticketing agent gave me directions, but they were more like her swinging her arms right and then left and then right again and when I walked away I realized I had no idea where she meant for me to go.
I decided to head toward the end of the terminal and find some employees to follow and see where they went. Looking back on having done that, it probably wasn’t the best idea to start following airport employees, but in fact it worked! I ended up going up stairs, and through a parking garage. Then in an elevator and down a long hall. And there it was……the canteen.
I did get some strange looks because it was obvious I wasn’t an employee. The vendors were nice and helpful. I never mind getting stared at when I know I’ll benefit from a good meal.
So many choices all looking so good!
The Choices At Changi’s Staff Canteen
After looking around and seeing all the different food stands and watching what everyone else was ordering, I decided to keep it simple. I ordered Hainan chicken which came with rice, salad, and chicken soup. It was $3.60 USD. Can’t beat the quality or that price! Fun for me to get behind the scenes, too.
Even if you don’t eat, it’s fun just to go and see the scene at the canteen.
As someone who generally never gets to airports any sooner than I have to, this was a fun few hours and time well spent. Insider tips are always the best. Next time you’re at Changi, head to the canteen. This is definitely the best meal at Changi Airport. It’s great that the canteen is not restricted solely to airport staff. If you have any other secret places in airports to grab a great meal, let me know. I promise not to share them 🙂
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