7 things about Singapore's inaugural Michelin list

The lunchtime queue at Michelin-starred Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle on July 22, 2016.
The lunchtime queue at Michelin-starred Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle on July 22, 2016.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - Singapore is now home to the cheapest Michelin-starred eateries in the world - two hawker stalls that have served great food at affordable prices for decades.

Also in the list of 29 restaurants, the world's first Peranakan restaurant to be given a coveted star, and two home-grown restaurant chains.

The Guide was also predictably packed with celebrity chefs who have won stars for their restaurants in other countries.

Here's more about the inaugural Michelin Guide Singapore:

1. Cheapest Michelin-starred meals


Singaporean chef Chan Hon Meng prepares meals for customers at Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle stall. PHOTO: AFP

This accolade belonged to dim sum chain Tim Ho Wan from Hong Kong, but after July 21, Singapore wins hands down.

You can savour a bowl of Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle for as little as $5, while a plate of soya chicken rice at Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle costs just $2.

That is, if you have time to queue with the hungry hordes that have descended on the stalls since they won their stars.

2. If you're feeling flush


PHOTO: MARINA BAY SANDS

There are no lack of uni-laden, truffle-topped meals at restaurants in the Guide that could cost you upwards of $500.

The six-course Krug dinner menu at one-starred Jaan, which includes Irish oysters, hand-dived scallops and wine pairings, is $498++.

Two-starred Shoukouwa's 25-course Hana omakase costs $480++, and in the $450++ range are Shinji's 16­ to 20-course Shin omakase, and Waku Ghin's 10-­course degustation.

Shinji's two branches, at Raffles Hotel and St Regis, and Waku Ghin at Marina Bay Sands all have one star each.

Shinji does have a more economical sushi set lunch priced at $75++, and other meals in the $100 to $300 range, while you can have the 16-course Mio lunch menu at Shoukouwa for $150++.

A degustation menu at Singapore's only three-starred establishment, Restaurant Joel Robuchon, will set you back $438++.

3. Singapore restaurants and chefs


Chef Malcolm Lee of Candlenut. PHOTO: dazza.sg

Of the 29 eateries listed, at least six have Singapore chefs, including Mr Chan Hon Meng of Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodles and Mr Tang Chay Seng of Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodles.

Candlenut, started by chef Malcolm Lee, combines modern and traditional techniques to re-invent Peranakan cuisine.

Corner House in the Botanic Gardens by chef Jason Tan, serves gastro-botanica cuisine, which centres on the use of vegetables in dishes.

Singapore celebrity chef Sam Leong's Forest, a contemporary Chinese restaurant,was also recognised.

Osia is owned by celebrity chef Scott Webster but has a Singaporean executive chef Douglas Tay.

Then, there's Putien and Crystal Jade, Chinese chain restaurants that started here, and have expanded overseas.

Putien's original Kitchener Road branch and Crystal Jade Golden Palace each have one star.

4. United Nations of food


Chef Seita Nakahara of Terra. PHOTO: TERRA

But reflecting Singapore's diverse society and food scene, all manner of cuisines, created by chefs of many nationalities, were in the Guide.

French and European cuisine dominated the Guide, with eight in all. There is also one Italian representative - Terra.

But Terra is not classic Italian, as it serves Japanese-Italian fare, like uni pasta, by Japanese chef Seita Nakahara, who spent many formative years in Singapore.

Chinese restaurants took six spots, not including the two hawker stalls. Japanese restaurants took five.

Among the Chinese restaurants, Shisen Hanten is run by Japanese chef Chen Kentaro.

The restaurants is the offshoot of the same-named Sichuan restaurant chain in Japan started by his grandfather Chen Kenmin, who was born in Sichuan.

There were also three on the list classed as "innovative". They include Taiwanese chef Andre Chiang's Andre, Corner House, and Bacchanalia.

Bacchanalia is run by German-Brazilian chef Ivan Brehm, who cut his teeth at British three Michelin-starred restaurant The Fat Duck.


Chef Ivan Brehm of Bacchanalia. PHOTO: ROBIN THANG

These are just a few examples of the international crew that made the list.

Unfortunately other than the Song of India by Mumbai-born chef Milind Sovani, Malay and Indian cuisine were sorely missed.

Candlenut is the first Peranakan restaurant,while Osia is the first Australian restaurant to get a Michelin star.

CUT by Wolfgang Puck is the only steakhouse on the Singapore list.

5. Oldest vs newest


Nigiri sushi from Shoukouwa. PHOTO: SHOUKOUWA

Japanese restaurant Shoukouwa has been in Singapore all of four months.

It is a joint venture between the Emmanuel Stroobant group and the founder of three-Michelin-starred Sushi Shikon in Tokyo.

Meanwhile, Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodles has been around since the 1930s, when the late Mr Tang Joon Teo started his stall in Hill Street.

6. Which area has highest concentration of stars?

As expected, the Michelin-starred restaurants are mostly in the city area.

A large number are in tourist hot spot Orchard - such as Shinji at The St. Regis, Beni at Mandarin Gallery and Crystal Jade Golden Palace at Paragon shopping mall.

There are quite a few in Tanjong Pagar and Chinatown, including Andre, Candlenut, Rhubarb, Terra and Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle.

There are also restaurants in heritage sites - Odette in the National Gallery Singapore and Corner House in Botanic Gardens.

Sentosa also boasts many starred eateries, due to the four awardees at Resorts World Sentosa.

7. Resorts World Sentosa vs Marina Bay Sands


Restaurant Joel Robuchon at Hotel Michael. PHOTO: RESORTS WORLD SENTOSA

There is a high concentration of celebrity chef-owned restaurants at both integrated resorts, but RWS is more "starred" than its rival.

At MBS, one star was given to CUT by Wolfgang Puck, and one to Waku Ghin.

RWS houses the only three-starred Restaurant Joel Robuchon. L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon got two stars, while Forest and Osia have one each.