a plate of food on a table

It’s not easy to earn a Michelin star, but it’s really easy to lose one.

Michelin Stars are awarded yearly, and if the the secretive team behind the ratings deems that a place isn’t upholding the lofty standards required to reach a coveted star, it can shoot away into the night sky, overnight.

For Singapore’s Hawker Chan, which has served as the “cheapest” Michelin Star meal in the world in recent years, a new title will be necessary. The restaurant lost its “star”, and is now just “a great cheap restaurant”.

a woman eating noodles at a restaurant

Singapore’s Hawker Chan Loses Michelin Star

When a restaurant wins a Michelin Star, it can be the best or the worst thing to happen to them. Some restaurants have sued not to be included, over fears of what the hype and newfound interest would do to guest experience.

For others, it’s an honor complete with a golden ticket to print money.

people standing in front of a food stand

Hawker Chan, once a humble singular location in a hawker center without air conditioning, somewhat went the golden ticket way. I ate at the original location and found it wildly good, but within months of the award, and international press along with it, Hawker Chan expanded its Singapore locations.

Locals quickly grumbled that quality had dropped, but to outsiders, any subtlety was all but impossible to distinguish. Any grumblings were overlooked, because it finally put Singapore’s otherworldly Hawker culture and its many culinary delights onto the world map.

Singapore is a city worth visiting, just to eat. It’s Hawkers are now UNESCO protected too.But then Hawker Chan went further, signing major restaurant chain branding deals and opening locations throughout Asia, from China to Thailand.

It wasn’t the first time a restaurant looked to capitalize on its new found fame — and in the end — nor was it the last time that an aggressive commercial plan resulted in the loss of the very thing which propelled the growth. All of Hawker Chan’s locations are now without a Michelin Star.

The food is still exceptionally good, but in Singapore, so are pretty much all the other Hawkers. Here’s a guide to some of the best.

a row of gold statues in a temple

Where Is The World’s Cheapest Michelin Star Restaurant?

Now that Hawker Chan is sans star at all locations, it’s not actually immediately clear which restaurant holds the title of the cheapest Michelin Star meal. However, a good guess would be Jay Fai in Bangkok.

Jay Fai is the preeminent wok cooking star of Bangkok, whose crab omelette was largely responsible for securing a Michelin Star for her humble Bangkok street corner abode. Unlike Hawker Chan, Jay Fai still operates from a sole location and business hasn’t changed, other than the longer lines.

The Michelin Guide continues to expand into new countries and territories, and GSTP believe Mexico could be a likely candidate for some of the next low price, super quality Michelin Star meals to be discovered.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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