Consistently ranked as the world’s best airport, Singapore’s Changi Airport has no shortage of things to do on an extended layover. On my last pass I discovered possibly its best-kept secret – a Hawker Centre for its staff and the best food in Changi Airport. The best part? The Changi Airport staff canteen is open to the public.
This is how to access it along with what the best dishes are to try at the Changi Airport Hawker Centre.
Changi Airport Hawker Centre Location
With a seven-hour layover in Singapore on my way home from the Maldives, I had plenty of options of things to see and do. Since I had covered much of Singapore in the past all I really wanted to do was visit a Hawker Centre for some cheap and delicious eats.
This ambition faded with a less-than-comfortable Singapore Airlines flight and made me reassess and think about finding the best food in Changi Airport instead. That’s when I discovered the Singapore airport has employee canteens set up Hawker Centre style. A quick check online and the terminal 1 staff canteen reviews were solid so away we went.
Getting to the Terminal Two Hawker Centre Employee Canteen
No Need to Head into the city, the Hawker Center near Changi Airport is very easy to get to.
After taking out money at an ATM ( the canteen is cash only) and filling out your immigration card, depart terminal three at the arrival level. If arriving from a different terminal make your way to terminal three arrivals and head past the McDonald’s then across the street to the parking garage.
From there you can easily find signs pointing you in the right direction on the elevator doors as well as the stairwell walls. Three floors up you will arrive to find a bustling scene, or at least I did. It was noon at the time of my visit and the Changi Airport staff canteen was filled with hungry employees.
Clearly, the best food in Changi Airport is no secret to those that work there.
Best Food at the Changi Airport Hawker Centre
Although recently renovated, the employee canteen resembles the Chinatown Hawker Centre in the way it is set up. There you will find several restaurants serving up Singapore classics like Chicken Rice, Bak Kut, Carrot Cake (not that carrot cake), and Chee Cheong Fun. We had our stomachs set on Chwee Kueh, an odd but tasty rice cake topped with a preserved radish sauce, even though we pleasantly found some in the Singapore Business Class Lounge.
We also ordered two steam buns, dumplings, Chee Cheong Fun, and an egg tart. Turns out the best food in Changi Airport is also super cheap. This filling feast for two came to just over four dollars! Clearly, the Changi Airport staff canteen is a much better deal than the chain restaurants inside the airport.
If I had brought a second stomach I would have definitely picked up some Barbecue Duck and Hainanese Beef Noodles. Next time!
Coffee Break, Singapore Style
The best part of the employee canteen for me is the small shop serving up Kopi, Singapore-style coffee. Condensed milk, hot water, and a long (literally) pour of strong coffee. This was my favourite coffee highlight during my last visit and again this go-round.
The Best Food in Changi Airport is Worth the Short Trip
Although Singapore’s Changi Airport has no shortage of things to do see, do, and eat, the short trip to the employee canteen is well worth the minimal effort. All in it took us less than 45 minutes to get money, clear customs, eat, enjoy a coffee, and get back to our gate. We also had plenty of time to shower before our next Singapore Business Class flight. How’s that combo of value and luxury?
And don’t just take my word for it. When asked which airport in the world has the best food, the late/great Anthony Bourdain pointed to Singapore for its Hawker Centre employee canteen. Turns out the employee Hawker Centre isn’t just the best food in Changi Airport, but the best food at any airport.
Changi Airport Employee Hawker Centre Good to Know
Hours: 0600-2200 daily
Cost: Two can feast for $5-$10
Note: Cash only!
What say you?
Thoughts on Visiting the Employee Hawker Centre for the Best Food in Changi Airport?
Let’s hear it!