We love to travel. Exploring new cities, trying new cuisines, seeing local landmarks — we enjoy every part of taking a trip. Except, well, there is one part of traveling that we don’t love, and it’s a major one: dealing with the airport. It’s a necessary part of getting from point A to point B if you need an airplane, but from start to finish, it’s high-stress situation after high-stress situation. The possibilities are endless: you could run into traffic on the way to the airport, you could deal with long lines for TSA, and you could have to wait for hours if your flight is delayed. But there is one thing that can brighten every airport experience, and that’s traveling through an airline terminal with the best airport food.
Though airport cuisine usually gets a bad reputation, there are actually tons of hidden gems out there, and airport fare is only getting better and better.
You don’t always have to default to McDonald’s or Starbucks for a quick meal. The beauty of airport food is even if you’re not actually stopping in the city, you can still try some of the area’s best local tastes. Have a layover at Narita International Airport? Slurp ramen from some of Japan’s best outposts. Spending a few hours at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport? Dallas barbecue it is.
We’re not saying you should plan a trip based on the food you can eat at the airport. But hey: We’re not not saying it either. Check out our picks for the best airport food from airports around the world.
1. Kansas City International Airport
Because when in Kansas City, you MUST have brisket from Pork & Pickle in Terminal B.
Even if it’s just during a layover.
2. Narita International Airport
From yakitori to sushi to ramen, you can taste some of the best local flavors that Japan has to offer — all without leaving this massive airport.
Head to Sushiden in Terminal 2 to get your fix.
3. John F. Kennedy International Airport
But Narita isn’t the only airport that boasts excellent Japanese food. Deep Blue at JFK’s Terminal 5 in NYC is also a great spot.
JFK also has a Shake Shack in Terminal 4, so if you’re flying Delta, you’ll want to grab a burger and some frozen custard.
4. Amsterdam Airport Schipol
After you take a selfie in front of the “I am Amsterdam” sign, order some poffertjes, a local pancake-like treat made with buckwheat flour.
We recommend the Dutch Bar & Kitchen between Lounges 2 and 3.
5. Chicago O’Hare International Airport
When in Chicago (or a Chicago airport), you must order a Chicago dog. Head to Chicago Style Hot Dogs, which has locations in Terminals 1, 2, and 3.
Bonus points if you get caramel and cheese popcorn after.
6. Hong Kong International Airport
Now THAT’S a spread. Get your taste at Saboten, one of the airport’s best-rated restaurants, in Terminal 1.
7. Los Angeles International Airport
No one does sandwiches better than ink.sack in Terminal B. No one.
8. Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport
You can’t beat the selection at the Sydney Airport. It has some of the best airport food around the world. From Thai to Mexican to local tastes, you won’t have a hard time finding something.
If you can’t narrow down your choices, we recommend Chur Burger in Terminal 2.
9. Austin-Bergstrom International
These are bacon jam fries from Peach Tortilla.
And they’re 100% worth the trip to Austin alone.
10. Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport
Three words: xiao long bao. Try Chun Shui Tang in Terminal 2.
You won’t be disappointed.
11. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
Is a chili cheese dog from National Coney Island the smartest thing to eat before a flight?
Probably not. But will it be worth it? We think so.
12. Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport
You know what they say: When in Rome, eat dessert as the Romans do.
And definitely do so at Antonello Colonna Open Bistro in Terminal 3.
13. LaGuardia Airport
Even though New York City is famous for its pizza, it’s only right that you have a custom burger while you’re there, too.
Head to Custom Burgers by Pat LaFrieda in Terminals C and D.
14. Heathrow Airport
If you’ve been to Gordon Ramsay Plane Food at Heathrow Airport in London, you know there’s nothing “plain” about it. Who knew the master chef himself approved of avocado toast?
Stop by Terminal 5 to try the deliciousness for yourself.
15. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
Dallas barbeque on point. You must have a taste of Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse in Terminal E for yourself.
The next time you’re traveling through one of these airports, give yourself some extra time to enjoy some of the best airport food around the world.
You won’t regret it.