A Singaporean hawker stall known for offering the world’s least expensive Michelin-starred meal has just lost its appointment.
Hawker Chan, founded by Chan Hong Meng, became famous for its simple-yet-delicious $2.50 soy sauce chicken noodle dish when it was included in Michelin’s first-ever guide to Singapore in 2016, earning one star.
But when the food bible unveiled its latest Singapore edition on September 1, Hawker Chan — previously known as Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodles — was nowhere to be found.
After his Michelin triumph, Meng’s career took off. His brand has grown from one humble stall in a Chinatown hawker center to a franchise restaurant with locations in Thailand, the Philippines, and more.
He changed the name of the restaurant to Hawker Chan and began branching out to other dishes.
Leakblast.com has contacted Hawker Chan for comment on the loss of the star.
‘Michelin has correctly stuck to their guns’
While some have applauded the Malaysia-born chef for capitalizing on his hard work, others felt the quality of the food slipped following the opening of his new establishments.
Singaporean food expert KF Seetoh tells Leakblast.com, “I think Michelin has correctly stuck to their guns and protected the dignity of the stars.”
Seetoh was a longtime friend of the late Anthony Bourdain and took the chef to several hawker centers in the Lion City.
Bourdain’s support of these small, local food stalls, many of which specialize in just one dish, helped to show travelers outside of Singapore how much great food the city had to offer at every price level.
The two had been working on a hawker center concept in New York City when Bourdain died in 2018.
For Seetoh, though, the future of Singapore’s food scene depends on much more than just one chef or one restaurant.
“On a bigger note, and with due respect, Michelin should stick to their core strength and power the restaurants as the restaurants need help now.”
Singapore, like nearly every country in the world, has seen its tourism industry devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. Amid border closures and local lockdowns, the food and beverage industry has been particularly hard hit.
However, the country’s high vaccination rate has spurred the Singaporean government to begin slowly reopening and developing a strategy to live safely with Covid.
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