Michelin stars are awarded based on the quality of ingredients, harmony of flavors and “the chef’s personality as expressed in their cuisine,” according to the company’s website. (Shutterstock/File)
Not a single restaurant in Singapore received three Michelin stars in the 2018 ratings released Wednesday, soon after the city lost its only restaurant with the top honor.
Celebrity chef Joel Robuchon last month closed his eponymous restaurant, which won three stars in the first two years of the Michelin Guide Singapore.
A total of 44 stars were awarded in the third annual Michelin guide to the city, down from 47 in 2017. Five restaurants were awarded two Michelin stars and 34 received one star.
Singapore’s dining scene reflects a melting pot of influences, including Chinese, Malay and Indian, while European restaurateurs have flocked to the city, giving it a true global flavor. One of the biggest tourist draws are the hawker stalls that can be found across the city, serving up Singaporean specialties like chicken rice, chili crab and hokkien mee.
“I have yet to find a country where the people are so fanatically passionate about food,” said Michael Ellis, international director of Michelin Guides. “People in Singapore will get into fist fights about who has the best fish head curry, and you don’t see that anywhere else in the world.”
Chefs were disappointed at the lack of three-star awards.
“I’m sad for Singapore because I find that Singapore will be less attractive to the tourists,” said Sebastien Lepinoy from Les Amis, which was awarded two stars. “And we need the tourists.” He estimates that up to a quarter of his customers at Les Amis are tourists.
Michelin stars are awarded based on the quality of ingredients, harmony of flavors and “the chef’s personality as expressed in their cuisine,” according to the company’s website.
The French tiremaker and publisher began producing restaurant guides in 1900 and introduced its three-star rating system in 1931. It now publishes titles covering more than 25 countries around the world. In recent years, it has expanded its Asian catalog and now covers cities including Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
Thailand’s guide debuted last year. In addition to Bangkok, Michelin reviewers will cover the southern tourism hot-spots of Phuket and Phang Nga in the 2018 edition, which will be published in November.
Michelin released its Bib Gourmand list for Singapore last week, which recognizes eateries offering dishes at a maximum price of S$45 ($33).
One of the new entrants was Burnt Ends, a restaurant specializing in grilled meats, owned by Australian chef David Pynt.
His wife, Katrina Wheeldon-Pynt, who accepted the one-star award, said it would not put more pressure on them and they would continue to focus on their staff and guests. “He does it because he loves it. That’s what he does, he’s a barbecue man,” she said.
Chef Tang Chay Seng from Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle said it was a pity that no new hawker stalls were awarded stars.
Only three street food stalls globally — two in Singapore, one in Bangkok — have been awarded Michelin stars, Ellis said. “A Michelin star for a street food restaurant is the exception, not the rule,” he said.
* new to the list