From French fine-dining to frantic food stalls, the first Michelin stars to fall in Southeast Asia have reinvigorated the local food scene
Last night’s launch of the prestigious Michelin Guide in Singapore marks the first appearance of the foodie’s holy book in Southeast Asia, scattering stars from the highest of haute cuisine to the raucous charm of the city-state’s food stalls.
Singapore’s iconic hawker culture was honoured at last night’s awards ceremony – held, of course, alongside a black tie gala dinner in the ballroom of the upmarket Resorts World Sentosa – with two local food stalls receiving a star apiece in the guide.
Also recognised was the Singapore chapter of French chef Joël Robuchon’s culinary empire, whose eponymous restaurant had the distinction of being Singapore’s only recipient of the coveted three stars. Another restaurant of Robuchon’s, L’Atelier Robuchon, was among the six restaurants to receive two stars. A further 22 establishments received a single star.
For Ivan Brehm, head chef of Bacchanalia, which was awarded one star, Michelin’s Southeast Asian launch could be just the thing to reinvigorate a scene that has seen exclusive fine-dining establishments threaten to eclipse the local food culture.
“I think as far as the guide’s relevance locally, I don’t think it could have come at a better time,” he told Southeast Asia Globe. “It will have, we hope, a very positive impact on reviving the interest in the local food tradition and the hawker culture which has been having a little bit of difficulty in the past few years.”
Brehm put the decline, in part, down to a lack of enthusiasm for traditional hawker culture in Singapore’s younger demographics.
“Hopefully Michelin will bring a little more interest in that,” he said.
Andre Chiang, the French-trained Taiwanese chef-cum-philosopher who opened his critically acclaimed Restaurant Andre just less than six years ago, was ecstatic to see Singapore’s lauded food scene receiving more international attention.
“I truly believe Singapore has so much local talent with the full package of creativity and professionalism that deserve the recognition and is just waiting to be discovered,” he said in a statement.
For Brehm, the rating is a welcome vindication of years of hard work in a city of fierce competition.
“It’s a very small community and everyone’s an expert,” he laughed. “For us, I’ve never really thought of the competition so much as trying to stay true to what we believe in.”
Michelin-starred restaurants in Singapore
Three Michelin stars:
Joël Robuchon Restaurant (Resorts World Sentosa)
Two Michelin stars:
Restaurant Andre (Bukit Pasoh Road)
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon (Resorts World Sentosa)
Les Amis (Shaw Centre)
Odette (National Gallery Singapore)
Shisen Hanten by Chen Kentaro (Mandarin Orchard Singapore)
Shoukouwa (One Fullerton)
One Michelin star:
Alma by Juan Amador (Goodwood Park Hotel)
The Kitchen at Bacchanalia (Hong Kong Street)
Béni (Mandarin Gallery)
Candlenut (New Bridge Road)
Corner House (Botanic Gardens)
Crystal Jade Golden Palace (Paragon Shopping Centre)
CUT (Marina Bay Sands)
Forest (Resorts World Sentosa)
Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodles (Crawford Lane)
HK Soya Sauce Chicken Rice Noodles (Chinatown Food Complex)
JAAN (Swissotel the Stamford)
Lei Garden (CHIJMES)
OSIA (Resorts World Sentosa)
Putien Restaurant (Kitchener Road)
Rhubarb Le Restaurant (Duxton Hill)
Shinji by Kanesaka (Raffles Hotel)
Shinji by Kanesaka (St Regis Hotel)
Summer Pavilion (Ritz-Carlton, The Millenia Singapore)
Sushi Ichi (Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel)
Terra Tokyo-Italian (Tras Street)
The Song of India (Scotts Road)
Waku Ghin (Marina Bay Sands)