Hawker Chan’s journey from a Singapore street stall to Michelin Star

Singaporean chef Hawker Chan

Singaporean chef Hawker Chan | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Michelin star restaurants immediately conjure up an image of lavish restaurants with fine cuisine and highly trained chefs. But in 2016, when hawker Chan Hon Meng received a star for his stall at Singapore’s Chinatown Complex food centre, it turned his fortunes around and encouraged hawkers like him around the world to aim higher.

“When I was told that my stall was a part of the Michelin Guide, I did not understand what it meant. The next day, the line at the stall was very long and I knew immediately that I would have to change the way I worked to cater to all the customers,” says Chef Chan, who recently worked as Leela for Singapore Street Food. Was in Chennai in the palace. Festival.

At the Liao Fan Soy Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle stall, the soy sauce chicken rice is the hallmark. Chef Chan got the original recipe for the sticky soy sauce when he trained with a chef in Hong Kong. “As a child, I lived on a farm in Malaysia and I was always inspired by the way we used vegetables, rice and chicken. I also like to eat different tastes. At the age of 15, realizing that my future lay in cooking, I moved to Singapore and trained under a Hong Kong chef. He had a recipe for soy sauce chicken and I made it my own,” he adds.

Although the original recipe was one he learned as a teenager, he developed a new recipe with influences and ingredients from Malaysia and Singapore when he set up his stall in 2009. “The Hong Kong recipe has a darker color and a different flavor but the technique is the same,” he mentions.

Chef Chan Hon Meng of Hong Kong Soy Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle was awarded a Michelin star in 2016

Chef Chan Hon Meng of Hong Kong Soy Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle was awarded a Michelin star in 2016. Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

After being included in the Michelin Guide, Chef Chan understood the demand and collaborated with Singapore-based Hersing Corporation Limited to expand his business. Liao Fan Soy Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle Restaurant now has 12 outlets in seven countries. “It is important for us to maintain taste because that is what sets us apart from others. That’s why we ship our sauces all over the world.” He says the recipe is tested for three months after it’s set up in a new country, to see if it needs to be sweetened or the ingredients used The ratio of spices needs to be changed.

“There is a lot of Indian influence on Singaporean food. Naan is our roti para so it is natural that my dish has Indian notes too. Especially with spices – I use star anise in my recipes which makes a difference.’

His restaurant lost its Michelin star in 2021 but retained its Bib Gourmand spot at the 2023 Singapore Michelin Guide ceremony held earlier this month.

Chef Chan at Liao Fan Soy Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle Restaurant

Chef Chan at Liao Fan Soy Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle Restaurant | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

But Chef Chan is still on his way to popularize his recipe and become a huge brand like the popular fried chicken brand Kentucky Fried Chicken. “I want to take Soy Sauce Chicken Rice and consequently Singaporean cuisine to the world. ,

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