Singapore is known to be a food paradise and after soooo many years, we finally have our very own Michelin Guide Singapore!!
We’re pretty sure you’ve heard a thing or two about the Michelin Guide but what exactly is it? Why is a tyre maker involved in the dining scene?
What Is the Michelin Guide?
The Michelin Guides are a series of annual guide books published by French tyre manufacturer Micheline, for over a century. It is the oldest European hotel and restaurant reference guide. It awards the ever prestigious Michelin stars to establishments for their excellence.
The very first guide was published in 1900 and was actually intended for French motorists. Back then, there were fewer than 3,000 cars in France. If the demand for cars increases, tyres too will sell like hot cakes.
It was only in 1926 when the guide began awarding stars for fine dining establishments and in 1936, the criteria for the starred ranking was published:
What Is Michelin Guide Singapore?
Developed by Robert Parker Wine Advocate with the support of the Singapore Tourism Board, the Michelin Guide Singapore‘s web portal will bring the best of Singapore’s food offerings via three different platforms:
- The Michelin Guide Singapore 2016 print, and digital guidebook are independently produced by the Michelin Guide’s team of dining inspectors
- A series of culinary events fronting local dining establishments and foreign chefs rated by the Guide
- A gourmet lifestyle editorial section with informative content that supports the Michelin Guide Singapore
Michelin Guide Only Lists Atas and Fancy Places?
Contrary to popular belief, the Michelin Guide is not elitist and out of touch with local taste. In 2010, Hong Kong’s dim sum chain, Tim Ho Wan (Mong Kok branch) earned a Michelin star of its own. In the Singapore’s 2016 Guide, two hawker stalls, Crawford Lane’s Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle and Chinatown Food Complex’s Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle made it to the prestigious list.
On top of that, there’s also the ‘Bib Gourmand‘ category that recognises friendly establishments that serve good food at moderate prices. In Singapore – the meal must be under SGD$45 to qualify. Click here to check out which 34 food establishments in Singapore made the cut.
Michelin-Starred Chef or Michelin-Starred Restaurant?
What do Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal have in common? They are decorated top chefs, wrote a few books, have their TV shows and they’re head chefs of Michelin-starred restaurants. But that doesn’t make them a Micheline-starred chef. In fact, there’s no such thing as Micheline-starred chef.
The Michelin Guide awards stars to restaurants based on the quality of the food they serve and not to individuals. Chefs cannot take off with the stars, nor can the stars be transferred to another restaurant owned by the same chef.
On top of that, if a Michelin-starred restaurant opens a new branch, the new outlet is not automatically a starred restaurant. For example, Tim Ho Wan (Mong Kok’s branch) may be a starred restaurant but the branch in Orchard Singapore is NOT considered one.
The Michelin Guide Is Skewed Towards French Cooking?
It’s true that there are many Michelin-starred French restaurants but do you know that Tokyo has a mind blowing number of 226 Michelin-starred restaurants? Paris has a mere 94 (as of 2015). While about 50 of the 226 restaurants in Japan are French restaurants, most starred restaurants serve traditional Japanese cuisine (Kaiseki, sushi, ramen, and even poisonous blowfish).
The Michelin Guide panel of inspectors who are in charge of rating hotels and restaurants in over 24 countries live in different continents of the world. They have an open mind towards the cuisines of very culture.
Besides, the Guide also celebrates local food culture and that is reflected in the symbols it uses. Additional wines and toothpick symbols are used on noteworthy tapas bars in Spain while quality pubs in UK and Ireland’s guide are marked with a beer mug symbol.
Does the Guide Rate a Restaurant’s Service Standards?
Restaurants are rated on 5 criteria: quality of the ingredients used, mastery of flavour and cooking techniques, the personality of the chef in his/her cuisine, value for money, and consistency between visits. Interior decor, table setting, and service quality are not taken into account during the inspection.
However, the Guide acknowledges that ambience and service crew do play a part in a pleasant dining experience and separate categories are used to rate the comfort level of the establishment.
Michelin Guide Inspectors Are Not Always Anonymous?
To protect the integrity of the Guide, the identities of the inspectors are kept confidential during restaurant visits. However, members of the Michelin Guide team may at times identify themselves. This is because they need to conduct technical visits to obtain updated information and press materials from a particular establishment. Once the inspector identifies himself/herself, he or she will not be allowed to assess the restaurant. Restaurants do not and cannot pay to be listed in the guide.
Now that you’ve read about the Michelin Guide Singapore, where can you get a copy? Just head to Michelin Guide Singapore and order a physical copy at $39.95 now!
Header image: Elite Traveler