Michelin-starred meals are often associated with candle-lit environment, upscale ingredients like foie gras and caviar, and an expensive bill at the end. But in the recently-launched Singapore Michelin Guide, you can enjoy the world’s cheapest one-star meal at a local hawker centre that costs as low as $1.48.
CCTV’s Miro Lu reports.
Local street food in Singapore awarded MichelinMichelin-starred meals are often associated with candle-lit environment, upscale ingredients like foie gras and caviar, and an expensive bill at the end. But in the recently-launched Singapore Michelin Guide, you can enjoy the world’s cheapest one-star meal at a local hawker centre that costs as low as $1.48. CCTV’s Miro Lu reports.
Chan Hon Meng has been cooking up his soya sauce chicken for more than 20 years. He’s nailed the recipe that he learnt from a Hong Kong chef and perfected over the years. He knew that Michelin Star is the ultimate recognition for a chef, but he never thought that one day the star would bestow on him.
“No, I never thought of Michelin. All I think of is how to run my business, to have more customers and better business. Things like how to expand the market is as far as my imagination could reach,” Chan said.
More customers and better business, that is a guarantee for a shop that just won a Michelin star. Chan used to sell 100 chickens a day, now he sells 180. He doesn’t have the means to expand the shop yet, so he has to work longer hours in order to turn away fewer customers.
In its first edition for Singapore, Michelin embraced the local hawker scene. Praising it as a national icon that plays a central role in the daily lives of so many Singaporeans, Michelin not only awarded two stars to two local hawker stalls, it also included a selection of hawker centres in its 2016 Singapore guide.
Local food blogger Leslie Tay has spent almost a decade roaming around Singapore in search of the best hawker food and he is thrilled that Michelin has put Singapore hawker food on the map of global gastronomy.
“His stall is definitely one of the many stalls in Singapore that where the hawker is really passionate about cooking and very passionate about producing a dish that is of superb quality. So they only found two, I think next year in the 2017 edition of the Michelin guide we hope to see more,” Tay said.
Chan now has the pressure of retaining the Michelin star. But he said he will always put customers first, because at the end of the day, the anonymous Michelin inspectors can well be in the waiting line.
“Michelin is a customer. They come and try your food. If they think your food is getting better, then I think you can keep the star,” Chan said.
Being a hawker is a tough work, it involves long hours in unbearable heat, and often with little profit margins, but chefs like Mr. Chan have been doing that for decades or even generations. Winning a Michelin star might be a total surprise for Chan, but doing his very best to satisfy his customers has always been his dream.
Jeffrey H. Dorfman on food industry
For more about the state of the food industry, CCTV America’s Jessica Stone interviewed Jeffrey H. Dorfman, the professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Georgia and the author of “Economics and Management of the Food Industry.”