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‘I don’t really learn anything new’ — KF Seetoh says of Michelin Guide Singapore

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"Almost all of what they've recommended is already in Makansutra,” said the hawker food guru

SINGAPORE: Michelin Guide Singapore recently released the newest additions to its Bib Gourmand, but food guru and Makansutra founder Kf Seetoh does not appear to find the citations particularly valuable.

“Almost all of what they’ve recommended is already in Makansutra. I don’t really learn anything new,” he told Insider in a piece published on Monday (July 3).

On June 15, The MICHELIN Guide Singapore 2023 Bib Gourmand Selection was published, with 19 new establishments, 2 restaurants and 17 hawker stalls listed as Bib Gourmand awardees.

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There are now a total of 79 Bib Gourmand addresses in Singapore.

Among the hawker stalls on the list are Beach Road Fish Head Bee Hoon in Whampoa Market Place, No.18 Zion Road Fried Kway Teow at Zion Riverside Food Centre, and Yong Chun Wan Ton Noodle at 115 Bukit Merah View Market & Food Centre.

The Insider piece, while admitting that the awards are good for hawkers’ bottom line and perhaps Singapore in a general sense, for locals, they may not be much of a boon in that they can mean longer queues and wait times, higher prices, as well as, in some cases, lower standards, due to increased demand.

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The article quotes Mr Seetoh, saying, “Frankly, they should just stick to what they’re good at. Let Singaporeans judge our own food.”

However, his opinion is not shared by Chan Hong Meng, one of the country’s best-known street chefs.

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Mr Chan is the powerhouse behind Hawker Chan, which became famous for “The World’s First Hawker Michelin-Starred Meal” and “The Cheapest Michelin-Starred Meal in the World.”

Hawker Chan is also one of the reasons why the lowly Chicken Rice is now known worldwide.

“When I first got the star, people lined up for my food for up to five hours. I was shocked at how well-received my food was,” Mr Chan is quoted in The Insider as saying.

And even though Hawker Chan lost the Michelin Star in 2021, he still thinks that being among Michelin’s awardees helps bring global recognition to Singapore’s dishes and keeps him going in the right direction.

However, Mr Seetoh believes that for visitors to Singapore, the best way to experience the best that hawkers and restauranteurs offer is to ask locals instead of following a guide. /TISG

KF Seetoh calls manpower quota rules ‘stifling… 3,6,9 locals to one foreigner who wants the job’

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