If you’re a big foodie, then you know that you can’t go to Singapore and not visit Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle, the world’s cheapest Michelin Star meal you can have! This little street food stall at a Hawker Centre in Chinatown is owned and run by Chan Hon Meng and in 2016, it became one of the first two street food locations in the world to be awarded a star in the Michelin Guide, which is pretty spectacular. Visiting this Michelin Star gem is high on our Singapore bucket list and Ciaran and I are really excited to try it. Our plan is all mapped out – we’ll visit the street food stall on the first Saturday we are in Singapore and bring our Singaporean friends we’re staying with, who have yet to try it out.
A few days before we set off for our holiday, an email pops up in our inbox that says: “HAWKER CHAN IS VISITING LONDON TO SERVE HIS FAMOUS MICHELIN STAR DISH AT KERB IN KING’S CROSS.” What are the odds that the exact weekend we are in Singapore, Hawker Chan has flown all the way to our hometown in London!?
Well, we didn’t get to try Hawker Chan’s famed Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle the first few days we are in Singapore, BUT the great news is that we did manage to visit during our layover a few weeks later after our trip to Bali.
It’s our final day in Singapore and our friends ask us what we’d like to do. To be honest with you, we had completely forgotten about the Michelin-Star meal until I was scrolling through Instagram and a post about Hawker Chan in King’s Cross flashed across my screen.
“We’re going to finally try the world’s cheapest Michelin Star meal,” I tell the group.
Singapore is the land of the original Hawker Street Food markets and it’s the first time I’ve experienced being in one. The Hawker that we’re in is the biggest one in Singapore, located in Chinatown. It’s a multi-storey, open-air food court, where everything from craft beer, smoothies and satay is available and very affordable. There is really something for everyone. It’s only 11am, but the market is bustling with people queuing for lunch. We’re all starving and the heavenly aroma of all the different types of food is making our stomachs grumble. I love the atmosphere of the Hawker. We have some incredible markets in London, but not on this level quite yet.
We search for Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle and I’m thinking that because it has been awarded a Michelin Star a few years ago now, the popularity will probably have settled down and there won’t be much of a queue. Au contraire! We find the tiny street food stall and with it comes a snake- like queue of people for what seems like a mile.
“I am sure it’ll go by quickly!” I chime in optimistically as we take what truthfully feels like the 500th place in line. We stand there and chit chat. I take in all of our surroundings and am actually enjoying it. We decide to give it 15 minutes before moving on, but I am determined to try it and know that we’re going to wait no matter what.
We end up waiting in the queue for about 45 minutes. I apologise to our Singaporean friend and promise her that the next time we come to visit, we won’t make her do anything touristy! She’s a good sport about it all and we have fun in the line as we people watch and chat about this and that. It goes by surprisingly quick.
It’s FINALLY our turn, hooray! We made it. The stall itself is very simple. It has a lit up sign and rows of of cooked chicken hanging in the window. It looks like a lot of other chicken stalls we saw when we arrived, but this one is obviously something special. As we go up to order, I notice that that Hawker Chan himself is THERE, slicing and dicing up chicken! He is back from London and serving up his signature Michelin Star dish to us.
Wow, I can’t believe it. So many chefs who have risen to fame probably wouldn’t bother to continue to work in their street food stall day in and day out, but I think it’s brilliant that he does and it’s quite exciting to see him in action.
“Three Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodles, please!” As they hand us plates laden with golden brown succulent chicken. The hot and salty smell of the dish wafts through the air as we make our way to a table to dig in. The portions are pretty big and I am stunned that for $2 Singapore dollars (£1 GBP) we are eating a Michelin Star dish, the cheapest we will ever eat.
Now, I have nothing to compare this dish to as I’ve never eaten Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodles before, but our Singaporean friend explains to us that there are a lot of others out there that taste similar. With that said, she says that the dish tastes great and she’s glad she got to experience it with us!
The chicken skin is a deep, crispy golden brown and mine is served on the bone, whilst Ciaran’s isn’t. The chicken itself is incredibly tender and juicy and falls apart. The combination of the salty soy sauce on the rice with the sweetness of the chicken and al dente noodles simply put, tastes delicious and satisfying. It’s hearty and filling. It’s not extraordinary or mind blowing, but just tastes really good. Sometimes the most simple food is the best.
I do wonder why it has been awarded a Michelin Star but I am really happy that a street food stall has received such recognition as it shows that the Michelin Guide is moving with the times and is also awarding those that aren’t the traditional white tablecloth, fine dining establishments. Street food has blown up all over the world and I am glad that Hawker Chan has been so successful.
We finish our dishes and we’re stuffed. Worth the wait? Yes, I think so. There aren’t many places in the world where you can say you enjoyed a Michelin Star meal for £1.
If you’re visiting Singapore, and passionate about food, I’d whole heartedly recommend going to try it out for yourself. It’s worth it just to see what the hype is all about! Go early and the queue won’t be so long. By the time we got up to the front, it was about 12pm and the queue was even longer than when we got there at about 11am. Bring cash with you as it’s cash only and hopefully you’ll get a glimpse of Hawker Chan himself at work!
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