Has it been a year since Singapore’s inaugural Michelin Guide? It must be, since the winners of the 2017 edition of the little red book’s Bib Gourmand category were announced today, ahead of next week’s gala dinner where the one to three-starred restaurants will be crowned. 38 restaurants and street food establishments have been named in this list, in the second edition of Michelin guide Singapore, of which 20 are "street food" joints and 18 restaurants. The Bib Gourmand Award recognises "restaurants and street food establishments offering quality cuisine at a maximum price of S$45”. In other words, food that won’t leave you broke.
There are nine new Bib Gourmand winners this year, of which three are hawkers: Ah Er Soup in ABC Brickworks Market, serving Cantonese-style soups, New Lucky Claypot Rice at Holland Drive Market and Food Centre, and Zai Shun Curry Fish Head in Jurong East.
New Lucky Claypot Rice, which shifted from its original Clementi location to Holland Drive, has an hour-long wait for its nosh at peak hours (tip: call in advance to make a reservation and skip the wait).
Meanwhile, Zai Shun is already a favourite with foodies in the know, with queues a daily occurrence at lunchtime. We expect the crowds to get worse now that it has been given a Bib Gourmand nod.
The stall at a kopitiam in Jurong is a bizarre blend of Teochew muay and zi char joint, the latter part specialising in more unusual species of freshly steamed fish. Think a mixture of farmed and wild-caught stuff, like Mouse Garoupa, Napoleon Wrasse and Sultan fish, all arranged in ice boxes for you to pick and choose from. You can have any of these more unique creatures in your Fish Head Curry.
While the namesake curry dish is decent enough (so too the Teochew porridge), with a mild tamarind-kissed gravy, what’s most popular at Zai Shun are it’s simpler steamed seafood dishes, which allow the quality of the fish to shine better. Like the delightfully gelatinous Shark’s Cartilage With Fermented Bean Sauce And Lard, and the clean-tasting, fresh and sweet Hongkong-Style Steamed Garoupa Head (see main pic), which comes in varying sizes including ones so enormous it’s got something for everybody: tender meat, gooey collagen and wobbly fat.
The fourth hawker-esque joint — technically not a hawker stall even though it derived from one — is Liao Fan Hawker Chan at Smith Street, an air-conditioned quick-service spin-off restaurant of the one-Michelin-starred Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle stall at Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre. If you ask us, PR-savvy chef-owner Chan Hon Meng emerged the biggest winner ever since Michelin came to town and he was branded by the media worldwide as owner of the world's cheapest Michelin-starred eatery.
Other new entrants to this year’s list include these restaurants: Tsuta ramen (which boasts one Michelin star at its flagship store in Tokyo), Teppei’s Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant, French rotisserie Bar-Roque Grill, Peranakan restaurant The Blue Ginger and yakitori joint Shirokane Tori-tama (strange, since the standard has dropped tremendously at the latter recently).
Incidentally, last year’s winners that are not on 2017's list are: Alaturka, Hjh Maimunah, The Fishball Story, Wedang and fave supper joint of many chefs post-work, JB Ah Meng Kitchen.
The Full List
The Michelin Guide Singapore’s Bib Gourmand Awards 2017
1. A Noodle Story
2. Alliance Seafood
3. Ah Er Soup (ABC Brickworks Food Centre)
4. Balestier Road Hoover Rojak
5. Bar-Roque Grill
6. Bismillah Biryani
7. Chey Sua Carrot Cake
8. Depot Road Zhen Shan Mei Claypot Laksa
9. Famous Sungei Road Trishaw Laksa
10. Hong Heng Fried Sotong Prawn Mee
11. Hong Kee Beef Noodle
12. Hoo Kee Bak Chang
13. J2 Famous Crispy Curry Puff
14. Ka-Soh Restaurant
15. Kok Sen Restaurant
17. Liang Zhao Ji
18. Liao Fan Hawker Chan (78 Smith Street)
19. Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant
20. Na Na Homemade Curry (Bukit Merah)
21. New Lucky Claypot Rice
22. New Ubin Seafood
23. Peony Jade (Keppel Club)
24. Shi Hui Yuan (Queenstown)
25. Shish Mahal Restaurant
26. Sin Huat Eating House
27. Song Fa Bak Kut Teh (New Bridge Road)
28. The Blue Ginger
29. 328 Katong Laksa (Joo Chiat)
30. Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice
31. Tiong Bahru Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice
32. Shirokane Tori-Tama
33. True Blue Cuisine
34. Tsuta (Pacific Plaza)
35. Whole Earth
36. Yhingthai Palace
37. Zaffron Palace (East Coast)
38. Zai Shun Curry Fish Head
The Michelin Guide 2017 Star Event is happening Jun 29 (Thurs) at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore. For more info, go to www.guide.michelin.sg