time.com – Few people seek out airport dining. But long flights and mad dashes through a terminal sometimes necessitate grabbing what you can to sustain yourself.
Inflight food options, which used to be elaborate, have dwindled over the years. Yet many international airports have made a concerted effort to bring in reputable restaurants, from quick-service chains like Shake Shack to higher-end fare like Chicago’s meat-and-beer-centric The Publican, which recently opened an outpost in the city’s O’Hare airport.
Still, there’s reason to be wary about the quality of food in airports, not least of all because of a 2015 FDA report citing poor sanitation practices in Los Angeles’ LAX kitchens. There’s even more reason to expect sticker shock, as there’s little competition once you’re planted at your gate. Here are rules to make sure you get the tastiest, most dependable, and affordable bites the next time you’re at an airport.
1. Skip fresh produce and salads
It may seem counterintuitive if you’re trying to be health-conscious, but raw fruits and vegetables are at a higher risk of carrying bacteria that will make you ill. Given the hasty nature of many airport kitchens and uncertainties about transportation into terminals and how long some ingredients sit out in the frequently labyrinthine structures, it’s much safer to stick to cooked items. And no one wants a sad $12 salad with nutrient-deprived iceberg lettuce.
2. Also rare meats
A little pink in a burger is not cause for alarm. The USDA recommends an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit for ground meats, 165 for poultry, and 145 for whole cuts of non-poultry meats. So a medium or even medium-rare steak, for instance, should be fine. Burgers, meanwhile, are a great value when eating out. But avoid anything clearly on the bloody-red side if you’re concerned about an airport vendor’s meat sourcing.