Why It Matters

Putting Singapore on the world foodie map

Barring last-minute hiccups, the Singapore edition of the Michelin Guide is expected to debut here next year.

There have been whispers for the last few years that the guide, which foodies all over the world turn to for restaurant recommendations, is coming. Restaurateurs have been sizing up lone diners, wondering if they might be anonymous Michelin inspectors.

Anything that promotes Singapore's vibrant food scene on the world stage must surely be a good thing.

It will draw more visitors here, give the scene a boost and, most importantly, galvanise chefs to stay on top of their game to remain in the guide, which comes out annually.

The original one was put out by the French tyre company in 1900 in a bid to boost the sale of cars and, therefore, tyres. Restaurants are rated with stars. The highest ranking of three stars is given to restaurants serving "exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey".

Soon, there were guides for other European countries and cities. In 2005, the New York guide debuted.

In Asia, Tokyo got its guide in 2007, followed by Hong Kong and Macau in 2008.

Given that the fine-dining scene here is small, Singapore's version of the guide might look much like Hong Kong and Macau's, with mid-tier restaurants included in the rankings, and perhaps street food.

What will make or break the Singapore guide is credibility. Do the restaurants in the guide deserve the stars they have been given?

If they do not, trust that vocal Singapore gourmands will have plenty to say.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2015, with the headline 'Putting S'pore on the world foodie map'. Print Edition | Subscribe