Sometimes it can be challenging to find an eatery that embodies the ‘more for less’ concept but as it turns out, Michelin seems to understand their consumers’ secret desires.
Michelin recently unveiled their 2018 Bib Gourmand selection, which award good-value eats priced at a maximum of US$33. More than 20 street ‘hawkerpreneurs’ from Singapore have made the cut.
So pull up your plastic chair at the kopitiam for some good old fashioned comfort food, hawker style.
One of the newest additions to the Michelin family, Coconut Club or Kelab Kelapa serves a substantial portion of nasi lemak, unlike the bungkus wraps we know and love. It’s accompanied by perfectly crunchy ayam goreng berempah (fried chicken, which is meant to be crispy, unlike rendang) and rice that’s creamier and richer in texture due to their coconuts which come from one specific plantation in Sabak Bernam. If you’re feeling greedy, then try out the fried fish, sambal lala, asam pedas (spicy sour sauce), otak-otak (grilled fish paste), or sayur lemak (vegetables in a coconut milk gravy) as add ons. You’ll sweat but you won’t regret.
Muthu’s Curry has been around since the summer of ’69 (cue Bryan Adams). Their most renowned dish is the fish head curry. Not only do they serve slurp-worthy stews but the restaurant also boasts the architectural brilliance of the Chettinadu style. Beware of Muthu’s loyal fans – you might have to battle them in line for a taste.
Tai Hwa Pork Noodle
Tai Hwa Pork Noodle is a tight-knit family restaurant, which serves teochew-style bak chor mee that happens to be uniquely Singaporean. One can expect al dente noodles tossed in a vinegar concoction, topped with slices of liver, minced pork and tender dumplings. If you plan on grabbing a bowl during your lunch hour, you might have to wait up to 45 minutes and you’ll have tough competition trying to snag a table at the Hong Lim Food Centre. Our advice? Tapau, la.
Chuan Kee Boneless Braised Duck
The flavours in Chuan Kee Boneless Braised Duck’s signature duck rice are both herbaceous and saccharine. Tying these together are their spicy sauces, which consist of belacan (prawn paste) and chilli sauce. The secret is to a mouthgasm is to get your mix of sauces just right.
Rolina Traditional Hainanese Curry Puffs
If you’re feeling peckish, stop by Rolina Traditional Hainanese Curry Puff. The business started in the late 50s when the current owner’s father learnt this secret recipe from a Hainanese sailor. We’ll let you in on some of the secrecy – according to the owner, the restaurant uses rempah chilli paste or baba-style chilli paste, as well as thinner skins to wrap the juicy fillings.
One thing’s for sure – Southeast Asia is a place where the food of the masses shine. Most of these hawkers are your average Joes just trying to cook good food for a pretty penny. That their food serves as a slice of palatable history is just a bonus.
The hawkers who received the Bib Gourmand award:
1. Chai Chuan Tou Yang Rou Tang
2. Chuan Kee Boneless Braised Duck
3. Eminent Frog Porridge and Seafood
4. Fresh Taste Big Prawn Noodle
5. Heng Carrot Cake
6. Hong Kong Yummy Soup
7. Lao Fu Zi Fried Kway Teow
8. Lian He Ben Ji Claypot Rice
9. Muthu’s Curry
10. Outram Park Fried Kway Teow
11. Rolina Traditional Hainanese Curry Puff
12. Shi Wei Da Teochew Porridge
13. Sik Bao Sin
14. Sin Kee Famous Cantonese Chicken Rice
15. Tai Wah Pork Noodle
16. The Coconut Club
17. Tiong Bahru Yi Sheng Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee
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