Singapore-style ramen hawker stall wins Favourite Street Food Vendor in inaugural award

A Noodle Story co-founders Gwern Khoo (left) and Ben Tham. The stall won the Favourite Street Food Vendor award at the public-voted GastroMonth Circle of Excellence Awards.
A Noodle Story co-founders Gwern Khoo (left) and Ben Tham. The stall won the Favourite Street Food Vendor award at the public-voted GastroMonth Circle of Excellence Awards.PHOTO: ST FILE

Popular hawker stall A Noodle Story at Amoy Street Food Centre won the Favourite Street Food Vendor award at the inaugural GastroMonth Circle of Excellence Awards on Saturday (Nov 4), the first public-voted awards that honours chefs, sommeliers and bartenders here.

One of its co-founders, Shatec graduate Gwern Khoo, 36, said: "We feel really honoured and lucky because the award was chosen by the public and so reflects how customers in general see our food.

"We did ask people to vote for us over our Facebook page. But if the customers didn't already enjoy our food in the first place, they probably won't have voted for us."

His stall, which sells Singapore-style ramen, has also been on the Bib Gourmand list of Singapore's Michelin Guide since last year.

"We treasure all awards equally," said Mr Gwern. " Each one encourages us to do even better."

Food and beverage professionals from six restaurants and eateries were recognised at the gala dinner-cum-ceremony, attended by about 300 guests at the Shangri-La Hotel on Saturday night (Nov 4).

Seven awards were given out. The winners were chosen from among 35 finalists which were nominated by the public.

Two "innovative and bold" award winners - a restaurateur and a chef - were selected by a judging panel that comprised veteran chefs Christophe Megel, Edmund Toh, Otto Weibel and Peter Tsang.

Through a two week-long selection process, the judges dined in restaurants to look out for restaurateurs who pioneered interesting food concepts and chefs who showcased culinary excellence through creative cooking techniques and daring flavours.

The awards are organised by Robert Parker Wine Advocate, an independent consumer's guide to fine wine.

The Innovative and Bold Restaurateur award went to Beppe de Vito, founder of the il Lido Group of restaurants and bars, which has seven establishments here.

They include the progressive Italian restaurant Braci - which received a Michelin star this year - and the 200-seat Aura Restaurant & Bar at the National Gallery Singapore.

Mr de Vito, who is born in Italy and a permanent resident here, said: "I'm happy to win as the award is a great encouragement and sign of recognition to my staff.

"But winning has not changed any of my future plans. I have no ambitions, and just love creating new concepts for our guests to experience and enjoy.

"The process itself is very rewarding, and that is what I look forward to when I get up every morning."

The other five winners were selected by the public, which cast about 6,000 votes through GastroMonth's website over a period of about two months, ending on Oct 15 this year.

LIST OF WINNERS:

Innovative and Bold Restaurateur: Beppe de Vito (il Lido Group)

Innovative and Bold Chef: Pepe Moncayo (BAM!)

Favourite Restaurant Team: CUT by Wolfgang Puck, Marina Bay Sands

Favourite Restaurant Manager: Paul Joseph (CUT by Wolfgang Puck, Marina Bay Sands)

Favourite Street Food Vendor: A Noodle Story

Favourite Bartender: Boo Jing Heng (Tess Bar & Kitchen)

Favourite Sommelier: Daisuke Kawai (La Terre)