Word of mouth and local reviews can be great for a restaurant’s business, but nothing beats the attention that comes with being awarded a Michelin star. The same company responsible for car tires began reviewing eateries in 1926 and issues an annual guide for select cities, nominally for upscale and expensive shingles.
But the guide is hardly elitist: This summer, word circulated that they had awarded a star to Chan Hon Meng, a street food vendor at the Chinatown Complex in Singapore. From a tiny cubicle in an open-air food court, Meng serves some of the most delicious chicken and noodles around. His trademark dish—chicken slathered in a Hong Kong-style soya sauce—is just $1.50 per plate, the cheapest Michelin-starred meal in the world.
The chef—who works the shack’s entire 17-hour shift—was invited to a Michelin dinner last month but had no idea he’d be awarded a star. (Restaurants can receive up to three.)
“When I received the invitation, I was uncertain,” he told a Michelin videographer. “I asked, ‘Are you joking? Why would Michelin come to my stall?’”
The notoriety has increased business by an additional 30 chickens per day, up from the usual 150. If you want to sample the dish, you might want to bring a snack; the stall is usually surrounded by a queue of people, some of whom wait several hours for a taste.