When chef Chan Hon Meng was invited to the Michelin Guide Singapore Gala Dinner, he thought it was a joke and asked if they were serious. He ran an average food stall in the Chinatown Complex. Sure, there was always a long line, but he’d never charged more than $2 for a plate of noodles.
He runs a food stall called Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chiken Rice & Noodle and works 17-hour days. On an average day, he sold countless noodle dishes and sold 150 chickens before the announcement came in that he had won a Michelin star and would be featured in the Michelin Guide for 2016. After the announcement? He still works those same 17-hour days, but now he sells around 180 chickens each day and is filmed and photographed by hundreds of tourists each day.
He has two assistants to take orders, serve rice, and mind the roasting meat. He spends his days chopping and mincing meats and vegetables to create mouth-watering dishes for the public.
The Michelin stars are awarded by anonymous critics that are paid by an outside company – Meng has no idea when they evaluated his cuisine – to judge and weigh the best restaurants in the country.
Tourists line up based on word-of-mouth, sometimes standing in the line simply because they see others waiting in the line. “We were told to come up here and look for the queue. What’s this about?” One tourist asked others standing in the line after getting into it himself.
Despite their long, busy days, the staff doesn’t show any signs of being overwhelmed, panicked, or rushed. They take each order as it comes and create an incredible meal – for just $2.