The release of any new Michelin results are a newsworthy event, but last month’s publication of Singapore’s inaugural guide was particularly significant. For the first time in the guide’s history two hawker stalls were awarded a prestigious star, hinting at what some might call an uncharacteristically progressive shift in criteria for Michelin’s classifications.
Are the days of the tasting menu numbered? The short answer – especially if you glance slightly further up the list of Singapore’s starred restaurants to the likes of L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon – is no, but it has given a glimmer of hope to food fanatics with slightly more modest budgets; a meal at the now Michelin-starred Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle costs less than £2, after all. Speaking about the decision to include hawker stalls, the inspectors behind the guide emphasised that they based the award on food quality alone. While this perhaps unfairly downplays the role of front of house in a dining experience, the broader definition of ‘food quality’ sets an exciting new precedent for future guides. Many are predicting that the upcoming Michelin results for Seoul and Shanghai, both well-known for their street food, will continue the inclusive theme, which in turn has led to speculation about when this change in attitudes might be felt closer to home.