Known for having the cheapest Michelin Star meal, a Singaporean hawker has lost its elite designation.
Hawker Chan, which was founded by Chan Hong Meng, became world-famous for its simple-yet-delicious $2.50 soy sauce chicken noodle dish when in 2016 it was included in Michelin’s first-ever guide to Singapore in 2016 when it earned one star.
However, in the latest edition for Singapore released on September 1, Hawker Chan — previously known as Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodles before the name was changed following earning the Michelin Star — was absent from the prestigious list.
Following the listing, Meng’s brand grew from one stall in a Chinatown hawker center to a franchise restaurant with locations in Thailand, the Philippines, and more, reports CNN.
In response to a request for comment on the loss of the star, a representative of Hawker Chan sent the following statement to CNN Travel by email:
“Chef Chan Hon Meng has prepared his famous soya sauce chicken rice since 2009 with his secret recipe and cooking method, which has not changed since the beginning of Hawker Chan in 2009. He has always believed that his food should be freshly prepared daily and cooking should not be done in (a) central kitchen.
“We do hope to understand why the Michelin Guide has left us out of the list this year. However, we also understand that everyone has their own opinion when it comes to food choices. We will continue to serve delicious and affordable meals as that is our vision and mission.
“We are thankful to our all Hawker Chan customers who have been supporting us since it was founded 12 years ago, and we will do our best to earn the star again for the upcoming year.”
It’s not unusual for Michelin to remove the star listing. Some have said that the reason might be due to a drop in quality with the expansion of the stall into a franchise.
And when one writer for Food & Wine visited a Hawker Chan location in 2017, that wrote that the meal was simply okay.
Singaporean food expert KF Seetoh told CNN, “I think Michelin has correctly stuck to their guns and protected the dignity of the stars.”