NewsWorldSingapore's famous Hawker Chan street restaurant loses its Michelin...

Singapore’s famous Hawker Chan street restaurant loses its Michelin star

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(CNN) – A Singapore street food stall known for offering the most accessible food in the world with a Michelin star, you just lost your designation.

Hawker Chan, founded by Chan Hong Meng, became famous for its simple but delicious $ 2.50 plate of chicken noodles with soy sauce when it was listed in Singapore’s first Michelin guide in 2016, earning one star. .

But when the food bible released its most recent Singapore issue on September 1, Hawker Chan, formerly known as Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodles, was nowhere to be found.

Following his triumph in the Michelin guide, Meng’s career took off. His brand grew from a humble stall in a street vendor yard in Chinatown to a franchise with locations in Thailand, the Philippines, and other countries.

Meng changed the restaurant’s name to Hawker Chan and began expanding its offering to other dishes.

CNN contacted Hawker Chan for comment on the loss of the designation.

“Michelin stands firm”

While some have applauded the Malaysian-born chef for taking advantage of his hard work, others consider that the quality of the food has dropped after the opening of his new establishments.

Singapore gastronomy expert KF Seetoh told CNN: “I think Michelin has stood its ground and protected the dignity of the stars.”

Seetoh was an old friend of the late Anthony Bourdain and took the chef to various mobile food centers in Lion City. Bourdain’s support of these small local food stalls, many of which specialize in a single dish, helped show travelers from outside of Singapore how much food the city offered at all price points.

The two had been working on a multi-stall patio concept in New York City when Bourdain died in 2018.

For Seetoh, however, the future of Singapore’s food scene depends on much more than just one chef or one restaurant.

“On a bigger note, and with all due respect, Michelin should stick to its core strength and empower restaurants, as restaurants need help now.”

Singapore, like almost every country in the world, has seen its tourism sector devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. Amid border closures and local lockdowns, the food and beverage sector has been hit particularly hard.

However, the country’s high vaccination rate has prompted the Singaporean government to slowly begin to reopen and develop a strategy to safely live with COVID-19.

Hawker Chan received a Michelin star in 2016. Credit: Roslan Rahman / AFP / Getty Images

Michelin under the magnifying glass

Michelin, owned by the tire company of the same name, is one of the world’s most secret publications. The names of its editors and contributors are closely guarded secrets.

Initially, the company began publishing travel guides for those who drove in Europe, making the leap from tires to cars and tourism. In travel guides, some restaurants received special mentions.

Later the star system emerged, taking on a life of its own. The maximum number of stars a restaurant can earn is three.

The Michelin brand became so respected in the world of haute cuisine that some chefs went crazy trying to get their accolades.

French chef loses Michelin star 0:29

French chef Marc Veyrat demanded to Michelin in 2019 when its famous restaurant, La Maison des Bois, was downgraded from three stars to two. Veyrat, the first chef in history to sue Michelin, wanted the company’s mysterious criteria to be more transparent, and to know the names of the people who worked on the guides and what their backgrounds were.

Eventually, Veyrat lost his claim. But he is not the only chef who has recently spoken out against the gastronomy bible.

Korean chef Eo Yun-gwon, whose Ristorante Eo restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in the 2019 Seoul guide, complained that he did not want to be included in the guide at all.

“I filed a criminal complaint against the Michelin Guide’s behavior of forcibly including (restaurants) on the list, against their will and without clear criteria”, wrote Eo in a Facebook post.

“Including my Eo restaurant in the corrupted book is a smear against Eo members and their followers. Like a ghost, they did not have a contact number and I was only able to get in touch via email. Although I clearly refused to include my restaurant on the list, they also included it at will this year. “

Over the years, Michelin had been criticized for focusing too much on Europe and North America, ignoring the rest of the world, and for prioritizing high-end establishments.

In the midst of these criticisms, Michelin created a new category, the Bib Gourmand, in 1997. According to the company, the Bib Gourmand designation recognizes a “simpler cooking style” which is “something that you feel you could try to reproduce at home.”

He published his first Tokyo guide in 2007 and his inaugural Hong Kong and Macau guide two years later.

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