For the first time in its history, the awards ceremony for the annual World’s 50 Best Restaurants ranking is held in Singapore. The shindig takes place today (June 25) at Marina Bay Sands, which means our little island is suddenly crammed with a lot of the world’s top chefs, who’re all in town to attend the awards.

If you’re a foodie who’ve had the fortune of dining at their restaurants, or at least watched Chef’s Table on Netflix, you’d be familiar with some of these big names — Massimo Bottura, the Italian chef-owner of Osteria Francescana, which was ranked the world’s top restaurant last year, Eric Ripert of three-Michelin-starred seafood restaurant Le Bernardin in Manhattan, Daniel Humm of New York celeb hotspot Eleven Madison Park… the list goes on.

But where do chefs eat when they’re off-duty? And where do they makan when they’re in Singapore? As it turns out, they also throng beloved local zi char restaurants Keng Eng Kee Seafood and JB Ah Meng like the rest of us.

Check out their FOMO-inducing foodie adventures below:

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Food and its ambience create memories, using the 5 senses of sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing. 6 years ago, @chefjoseandres came, get messy, stained his shirt, sweat it out, all for the experience of our local Chilli Crab. Today, he brought more friends, @ericripert @fcolinchef , to create more mess! All for the love and experience of Singapore cuisine. Thank you for remembering the table you sat before, the food you had ate before, and the @kengengkee family that you had met before. Appreciate on the social movement of providing meals during natural disasters, and being a role model of our industry. 🙏❤ #kekseafood #passionmadepossible #hawker #ourhawkerculture #stfoodtrending #琼荣记海鲜 #singapore #新加坡 #新加坡美食 #sgcuisine #singaporecuisine #burpple #sgfoodie #singapore #streetfood #sgstreetfood #foodporn #foodies #foodiesg #zichar #czechar #stfoodtrending #theworld50best

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Chefs Eric Ripert, José Andrés (who’s widely credited as the man who introduced the small plates dining concept to the US) and Frederic Colin (chef-owner of local French restaurant Brasserie Gavroche) dig into chilli crabs at Keng Eng Kee. According to the zi char eatery’s Instagram caption, these guys aren’t afraid to get messy: “6 years ago, @chefjoseandres came, get messy, stained his shirt, sweat it out, all for the experience of our local Chilli Crab. Today, he brought more friends, @ericripert @fcolinchef, to create more mess! All for the love and experience of Singapore cuisine.”

Chef Eric also shares that KEK is late chef and food personality Anthony Bourdain’s favourite spot for chilli crabs, saying: “I go to this place where Anthony Bourdain used to love to visit all the time.” Okay, it just might get harder to snag a table there after this.

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Definitely 1 of the night KEK will remember for a long time. An unofficial gathering of chefs and food writers invited for @theworlds50best event. The magnet of Singapore Street Food is so strong that initially was a small group, that eventually turn up to be a gathering of more than 70 foodies! Just like a big reunion! And suprise didn't stopped here, #PhilippineMadrigalSingers were here for dinner, and they put up an impromptu performance for KEK! Now, that's a mini #theworld50best party, in our localised 🇸🇬street food way! Love it! We are honoured. #kekseafood #passionmadepossible #hawker #ourhawkerculture #stfoodtrending #琼荣记海鲜 #singapore #新加坡 #新加坡美食 #sgcuisine #singaporecuisine #burpple #sgfoodie #singapore #streetfood #sgstreetfood #foodporn #foodies #foodiesg #zichar #czechar #stfoodtrending

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Another post on Keng Eng Kee’s IG revealed that over 70 chefs and local gourmands chilled out and swigged Tiger Beer at the no-frills restaurant. That’s one hell of a #squad there.


Local investor and avid foodie Chan Kwai Sum (@chanksters) hung out with Massimo Bottura (and his rad Gucci tee) at Keng Eng Kee too. The good chef also gamely helped the Keng Eng Kee team take a group photo. Also present: Peruvian chef Virgilio Martinez, whose restaurant Central was voted as The Best Restaurant in South America at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018, and chef Simon Davies from three-Michelin-starred molecular gastronomy restaurant Alinea in Chicago.


Meanwhile fellow Peruvian chef Daniel Chavez — who owns stellar Spanish restaurant Ola Cocina del Mar, Peruvian restaurant Tono Cevicheria and Latino restaurant Tonito in Singapore — also hosted a bevy of culinary stars at his restaurant Tono. This includes Mitsuharu Tsumura, owner-chef of Peruvian Nikkei restaurant Maido (which is currently no. 8 on the World’s 50 Best list), Spanish chef Josean Alija of the one-Michelin-starred Nerua Guggenheim Bilbao in the Basque Country in Spain, and chef Jefferson Rueda (whose restaurant A Casa do Porco is currently no. 7 on Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list).


​​​​​​​Guess where Chef’s Table star Eric Ripert goes for dim sum and prata here? According to his Instagram post, he dropped by Lei Garden for some har gows, and XXXXXXX for prata. Like his late pal Anthony Bourdain, Eric seems fascinated by Singaporean culture (check out his endearingly blurry snapshot of prata and curry that looked like the ubiquitous food photo shot by everyone’s parents). So earnest is he, he makes Singaporeans like us want to visit Singapore. Can this man do more travelogues please?  

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