July 28, 2018

Hawker Chan: World's Cheapest Michelin-Starred Restaurant Now Open In Manila

I’ve never been to Singapore, but it surely is in my travel bucket list. My childhood friend and I are actually scouring the internet for affordable flights to this nation so we can travel there around Thanksgiving. We actually don’t plan to shop or tour that much but what we are after for is the food! Singapore is known for its cuisine because of the hawker centers. And that my friends is what I am looking forward to do on that trip: eat my way through the hawker centers. 

Since I am not going to be in Singapore until later this year, I am glad that I can still enjoy some of the great dishes here in my country. And guess what? There’s a new addition to the places where I can eat some food that originated from Singapore: Hawker Chan is now in the Philippines! Woot! Woot!
Metro Manila's bustling dining scene has just zoomed several notches higher with the opening  of Hawker Chan, also known as the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world. This internationally acclaimed Singapore-based restaurant promises to rock the Philippines with its gloriously delicious dishes, especially its soya chicken rice. 

Hawker Chan's global popularity belies its humble beginnings. The restaurant was founded by Malaysian Chef Chan Hong Meng, the son of a farmer, who flew to Singapore in the 1980s and trained under a Hong Kong chef. It was under his mentor's guidance that he learned to prepare the now famous Singapore Soya Sauce Chicken and Noodle.

In 2009, Chan Hong Meng opened a small store at the Chinatown Complex, the largest open-air hawker center in Singapore, where he served soya sauce chicken rice - a dish that quickly caught the imagination of diners across Singapore. Through the years, Chan Hong Meng painstakingly refined his recipe, to the delight of diners who lined up hours on end at the stall. In July of 2016, Michelin's Singapore Guide debuted and among those recognized was Hawker Chan, making it the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world. Just this month, Liao Fan Hawker Chan at 78 Smith Street in Singapore was among the 50 restaurants included in the 2018 Bib Gourmand Awards, which recognizes eateries with menu items that cost no more than S$45, for their value for money. 

The Philippine flagship store of Hawker Chan is located at the Ground Floor, Entertainment Mall at SM Mall of Asia Complex, and the restaurant seats 86 and is perfect for those who want a great, affordably-priced, hearty meat. Among the dishes that diners can look forward to at Hawker Chan Manila are its signature combination platter of char siew, roasted pork, and pork rib, and the whole chicken platter. What makes this even more exciting is that these dishes are priced to be extremely pocket-friendly. On the average, the price range per dish is only PHP 100 to 200! 

I got to attend the exclusive launch of Hawker Chan with my fellow foodies a few days ago. The store is spacious with clean lines and bold colors. You have to go to the counter, pay as you order and wait for your number to be called, nothing fancy and still gives you that hawker dining feels. Blown-up newspaper and magazine features of Hawker Chan adorn the glass walls of the restaurant. So here  are the dishes that we got to try: 

Roselle Tea - - signature Hawker Chan rose-flavored tea. Flavors of rose hip peels, hibiscus, and raspberry are featured in this drink. It kinda made me remember of the taste of Starbuck’s hibiscus tea but this one is stronger almost to the point of tasting like champoy or kiamoy. Still refreshing but wouldn’t be my go-to choice for drinks if whenever I dine at hawker Chan again. 

Thai Style Tofu - I love tofu and I can and would eat anytime for sure. I love that this tofu is just like how Pinoys would do their tofu, almost crispy on the outside but soft on the inside. The sauce is a savory sweet and sour one with a hint of spiciness which greatly appealed to me. 

Combination Platter with Rice - this platter comes with all the meats that Hawker Chan offers: BBQ pork, Crispy pork and the ever famous Soya Sauce Chicken. Foodee, the company that brought Hawker Chan to the Philippines, is also meeting the international standard of a 1.5kg minimum of their chickens, which you will notice, they use larger than usual chickens. The chicken was evidently fragrant with herbs with a slightly thicker-than-usual skin, with a small lining of fat (is it fat or just the skin? I don’t know for sure, but it was good) and a silky smooth texture. The BBQ was ok for me but the crispy pork has got to be my favorite! I love how the skin was super crispy but not hard to eat unlike chicharon, but it had the same consistency as the latter. If you want to fully enjoy the flavors of the meats, pair with plain rice. 

Combination Platter with Char Siew Noodles - comes with the same varieties of meat but this time with noodles on a bed of special sauce. I actually love this version more than with the rice (although I ordered the one with rice), and everyone of my fellow foodies agreed with me on that. I like how stringy and chewy the noodles are, just how I imagined them to be. The noodles in itself were already tasty but combine it with the sauce and the meats it altogether a myriad of flavors and textures.

As for the price points of every combination dish, I believe they are reasonably priced for the quality and taste. In Singapore, I heard basic prices starts at SG$ 4+ which is around PHP 150. But here starting prices are around PHP 120+; little difference right? It’s definitely a bang for the buck. I just can’t wait for hawker Chan to open more branches around Metro Manila. Hopefully somewhere very near to where I live or work. 

To add to the excitement, Hawker Chan customers will get a chance to fly to Singapore every time they dine at Hawker Chan Manila from July 26 to August 5, 2018. TWO (2) lucky winners will get a chance to Fly to Singapore and enjoy a 3 days 2 nights full board and meal stay, sponsored by FOODEE Global Concepts Inc. and the Singapore Tourism Board. Furthermore, the first one hundred (100) diners of Hawker Chan from July 26 to 27 are all it for a treat! The first ten (10) diner will receive a year's worth supply of Hawker Chan products. The following twenty will receive six (6) months' worth, the next twenty (20) will get three (3) months, and the last fifty (50) diners will get one month worth of Hawker Chan products as well. With Hawker Chan now in Manila: roast-loving Pinoys have never had it so good!

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As Hawker Chan opens its doors at SM Mall of Asia in the Philippines, Filipinos can look forward to the same mouthwatering dishes that have captivated people across the region. Thanks to Foodee Global Concepts, the industry maverick that has transformed the Filipino dining scene with groundbreaking offerings such as the Michelin-starred Tim Ho Wan, FOOD By Davide Oldani, Tsuta Japanese Soba Noodles and Llao Llao's unique Spanish frozen yogurt. Pinoys can look forward to the best tasting dishes. That's because Foodee Global Concepts recognized Filipinos' love and curiosity for food, and responded by bringing to the country the offerings of top-rated restaurants that have won the hearts of people around the world. 

G/F Entertainment Mall, SM Mall of Asia 
Pasay City, Philippines
Facebook: facebook.com/Hawker-Chan-Philippines
Instagram: instagram.com/hawkerchanphilippines

For more information, complete menu and restaurant reviews, check out their Zomato profile: 
Hawker Chan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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