Last September I pushed myself to take a leap of faith in travelling. It was the first time I would travel for music. My love for EDM music found me booking my tickets for Singapore to attend the Ultra music fest.
Since I knew I would be in Singapore for at least 2 days for the music festival, I thought of extending the stay by 2 more days to visit the country.
Being a big time foodie, I researched for places to try and came across the only 2 street hawker type Michelin starred stall (if I may be allowed to call them that). I instantly decided that I would be trying the food from there to understand what was so special about them.
The first stall I ended up at was Hongkong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodles. Located at Chinatown the street hawker type stall attracts hundreds of customers every day. As I started walking towards the end of the queue, I was both excited and tired (as I had only landed in the morning after a long flight).
Slowly the queue started to move, however the number of people that joined the queue after me was at a higher pace than the ones getting their food and moving out of the queue. Around one hour passed by and I was somewhere in the middle of the queue. It was a bit humid as well and I was losing my strength now. Glad the lady in front of me asked me if I wanted to go and get something to drink while she holds my place in the queue. How nice of her!
I managed to pick a refreshing juice from a neighbouring shop which served some amazing combinations. I was already feeling better and was back in the line. Another half an hour passed and we were finally in the area where we had some seating. Every second person in the line would sit for a bit to give a break to those tired legs, without leaving the queue.
2 hours down and I was finally in the front of the queue. Good lord I made it! While waiting for someone to take my order, I noticed the way the food was being prepared. The chef would take a full chicken and cut it using his big knife. Noodles being prepared separately. The whole process was so smooth that it seemed like I was witnessing an assembly line at a food stall.
I ordered for the standard meal of Noodles with Chicken and Soy Sauce. SGD 2.50? What? That’s it. The first thing my brain did was to convert in into Dirhams. AED 7? I am having a dish from a Michelin starred stall for 7 bucks? It took me a while to accept the reality. So far everything seemed good.
Time to try the food. Presentation? They tried what they could. It’s not a 5 star and presentation is not their forte. So I wasn’t expecting a great presentation. What about the taste? The taste of the soy sauce was good and the Chicken was well cooked , however the fact the Chicken was served with bones was a bit of an issue (especially with noodles).
The complete dish put together was nothing exceptional but the price I paid for it, I think it was just about right. Was is worth the wait though? Probably not.
So why is it a Michelin starred stall? Maybe, due to the way the food is prepared. Probably due to the authenticity of the dish? I will be digging deeper into this to understand more about the Michelin star.
After roaming the streets of Singapore for the first day and then partying on the second, I had two more days to go. I woke up the next morning excited for another day of Ultra Singapore, but food first. It was then that I decided to visit the second Michelin star stall.
The second Michelin starred stall I visited is called Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle. Located at Crawford Ln, the place is known for its noodles and of course Pork.
I arrived here well before lunch time and luckily for me the queue was not too long. While waiting in the queue, I met a family from Abu Dhabi (small world). Just like me, they had come down to try the food after some research on Google.
I got excited by the different Tea stalls next to Tai Hwa but I didn’t try any Tea since I wanted to leave as much space in my tummy as possible. Still regret not trying the Tea.
As I go closer to get my food, I observed the technique of the chef. He did quite a few things in the same order for every dish (see video below). It was quite interesting to see him working on back-to-back orders without even stopping for a single minute.
I picked up my order and looked around for a table for 2-3 minutes before I finally found one.
I had ordered the Pork noodles which was served with a soup. The noodles were just amazing. There were different types of meat served in the dish. Some of them were really good while some were average, however the food was still good.
The soup was average, no complains though since the food is not expensive whatsoever.
I asked myself the question again; Is it worth the Michelin? It would be a maybe. The fact that the way the food is prepared with so much consistency can be a huge factor. The ingredients used could be another one.
To understand why these places have a Michelin star as compared to other street hawker type stalls that serve similar food would be a difficult question to answer. However, the fact that a stall that is by no means a fine dining restaurant managed to get a Michelin star is impressive.