Chan Hong Meng (Singapore Chef)

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Chan Hong Meng
Hawker Chan.jpg
Born
Chan Hon Meng

Ipoh, Malaysia
Known forHawker Chan restaurant chain
Spouse(s)Irene Quek

Chan Hon Meng, also known as Hawker Chan, is a well-known culinary figure in Singapore. Chan started off as a hawker at Chinatown Food Complex in 2009. He is recognised for his Michelin-starred hawker stall 'Liao Fan Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle'. In collaboration with Hersing Culinary, the Hawker Chan brand has expanded beyond Singapore since 2016. In many news reports and media appearances, Chan portrays himself as a chef who takes pride in maintaining the consistency and standards of his food.[1]

Background[edit | edit source]

Early life[edit | edit source]

Chan came from a humble background. In a behind-the-scenes interview with Michelin Guide (YouTube video), Chan stated that he had grown up in a village where his parents farmed their own crops and reared their own animals.[2] Originally born in Ipoh, Malaysia, Chan came to Singapore at 15 years old to explore his career opportunities. In Singapore, Chan first trained in a restaurant under a Hong Kong cook.[3] There, he learnt the techniques behind cooking Hong Kong-style soya sauce chicken.

Career[edit | edit source]

Early career[edit | edit source]

In 2009, Chan opened his first hawker stall 'Liao Fan Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle' at Chinatown Complex Food Centre, Blk 335, Smith Street #02-126.[4] His stall also serves other dishes such as char siew and roast pork.[5]

Receiving the Michelin star (2016)[edit | edit source]

Hawker Chan's famous Soya Sauce Chicken. Photo from Eatbook.sg.

In July 2016, Chan was one of the two hawkers in Singapore who had been awarded a Michelin star. Chan received the star at the 2016 Michelin Guide Singapore Gala Dinner cum Ceremony that was held at Resorts World Sentosa.[6] Priced at S$2, his famous soya sauce chicken served with rice was dubbed the cheapest Michelin dish worldwide.[7] In 2017, football star David Beckham visited Hawker Chan's 78 Smith Street outlet during his visit to Singapore.[8] A year later, Germany-based Austrian celebrity chef Johann Lafer visited the same eatery to have a meal with Chan.[9]

Local collaborations[edit | edit source]

Since receiving the Michelin star in 2016, Chan has collaborated with many established names in Singapore. For 10 days in June 2017, Chan worked with Fullerton Hotel to set up a pop-up food station at Fullerton's Town Restaurant.[10] He prepared his signature soya sauce chicken rice and the dish was served as part of the restaurant’s dinner buffet. In 2017[11] and 2018, he prepared his signature soya sauce chicken for the Michelin Food Festival at Resorts World Sentosa.[12]

International recognition[edit | edit source]

Hawker Chan in London during the 2018 iteration of KERB. Photo from HOTDINNERS.

Manhattan, United States of America[edit | edit source]

Five months after he received the Michelin star, Chan was given an opportunity to travel to the United States. Sponsored by Tiger Beer, he was able to work alongside the renowned chef, Christopher Kostow at the Indochine restaurant in Manhattan.[13] Together the two chefs collaborated to prepare a three-course meal which was priced at US$330 and US$500 for “The Tasting Menu” and “The Counter Menu” respectively.

London, United Kingdom[edit | edit source]

In collaboration with Singapore Airlines and Singapore Tourism Board, Chan flew to the United Kingdom in March 2018 to set up a stall at KERB, a London food market.[14] Chan returned to London for the 2019 iteration of KERB from 6 to 8 March.[15] In 2018, the event attracted more than 300 people a day and customers queued up to two hours for the chicken and rice sets.[16]

Saigon, Vietnam[edit | edit source]

In 2018 Chan travelled to Vietnam and prepared 200 portions of soya sauce chicken rice for the two-day event in Saigon.[17]

Growth in Singapore[edit | edit source]

An inside view of the Hawker Chan outlet at 78 Smith Street, Chinatown in Singapore.

After receiving the Michelin star, Chan worked with Hersing Culinary to open a casual dine-in restaurant called 'Hawker Chan' at 78 Smith Street, Chinatown.[18] This first outlet of Hawker Chan was opened on 18 November 2016.[19] Hersing Culinary is the food and beverage company responsible for the Tim Ho Wan dim sum franchise in the Asia Pacific. The company spent approximately S$1 million on the air-conditioned, eighty-seater Hawker Chan restaurant.[20] There is also a self-kiosk machine for customers to purchase the menu items.[21] Within five months, two more branches were opened at Tai Seng[22] and Toa Payoh.[23]

Expansion overseas[edit | edit source]

The Hawker Chan brand had expanded internationally as a result of Chan's initiative to send in a proposal to Hersing Culinary in 2016.[24] The following is a timeline of Hawker Chan's expansion overseas.

Year Country Refs.
2019 Malaysia [25]
2018 Kazakhstan -
Philippines -
2017 Australia [26]
Indonesia
Thailand
Taiwan [27][28]

Media coverage[edit | edit source]

After Hawker Chan’s stall attained a Michelin star, several food sites such as Nikkei Asian Review,[29] Eatbook.sg[30] and Daniel Food Diary[31] reviewed and featured the stall on their respective sites. In 2018, the stall was also featured in Little Magazine, a family lifestyle magazine.[32] In the same year, American media site Buzzfeed also featured the stall in a Facebook video on their Bring Me! page.[33]

YouTube features[edit | edit source]

Photo from Strictly Dumpling's YouTube video.

In September 2017, American food YouTuber Mike Chen uploaded a video titled “The CHEAPEST Michelin Star Meal in The WORLD! $2 Chicken Rice!”. The video has more than 1.43 million views as of February 2019.[34] Four months following the video upload, Hawker Chan expressed his appreciation of Mike’s video on his Facebook page. In December 2017, Hawker Chan's stall was featured on 'Food King', a YouTube segment hosted by Singaporean YouTubers Ryan Sylvia. The episode (YouTube video) saw the hosts trying the various Michelin-starred dishes in Singapore. Steven Lim from Buzzfeed's 'Worth It' was a special guest host. As of February 2019, the video had gained more than 624,000 views on Youtube.[35]

Other media appearances[edit | edit source]

The following is a list of Hawker Chan's appearances in 2016 and 2017.

Year Publisher Title Refs.
2017 Prudential Singapore I Am We - The Real Hero: Chef Chan Hon Meng Video link
Eater Chef Chan Hon Meng's Michelin-Starred Hawker Stall Brings His Soy Chicken to NYC — Consumed Video link
CNBC International The business behind the world’s cheapest one-star Michelin meal | CNBC Reports Video link
Great Big Story A Michelin-Starred Meal for $1.50 Video link
2016 The Straits Times Mr Chan Hon Meng, owner of Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle, at work Video link
Michelin Guide Singapore The MICHELIN guide Insider Series: The Story of Chan Hon Meng Video link

References / Citation[edit | edit source]

  1. "Hawker Chan restaurant, by one-Michelin starred Liao Fan Soya Sauce Chicken, opens to public on Nov 18". The Straits Times. November 11, 2016. Accessed on 16 April 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/food/hawker-chan-restaurant-by-one-michelin-starred-liao-fan-soya-sauce-chicken-opens-to
  2. Michelin Guide Singapore. "The MICHELIN guide Insider series: The Story of Chan Hon Meng" . YouTube. July 31, 2016. Accessed on 16 April 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1dBTqm90A4
  3. Michelin Guide Singapore. "The MICHELIN guide Insider series: The Story of Chan Hon Meng" . YouTube. July 31, 2016. Accessed on 16 April 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1dBTqm90A4
  4. "OUR STORY". Liao Fan Hawker Chan. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.liaofanhawkerchan.com/story
  5. "MENU". Liao Fan Hawker Chan. Accessed on 12 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.liaofanhawkerchan.com/menu
  6. Yong, Debbie. "Behind the Scenes: The world's first Michelin starred hawker stall". Michelin Guide. August 1, 2016. Accessed on 16 April 2019. Retrieved from: https://guide.michelin.com/sg/people/behind-the-scenes-with-the-first-michelin-starred-hawker-in-the-world-singapore/news
  7. Leow, Diane. “Owner of Michelin-starred soya sauce chicken stall eyes world domination”. Channel News Asia. September 19, 2016. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/owner-of-michelin-starred-soya-sauce-chicken-stall-eyes-world-do-7809726
  8. Khoo, Nevin. “5 Casual David Beckham Sightings In Singapore - Including One Of Him Eating Chicken Rice”. Must Share News. September 22, 2017. Accessed on 12 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://mustsharenews.com/beckham-singapore-sightings/
  9. Liao Fan Hawker Chan Singapore. Facebook. October 12, 2018. Accessed on 12 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.facebook.com/hawkerchanSG/posts/thank-you-johann-lafer-for-coming-down/1153040334835099/
  10. Xie, Hui Qin. “Now at Fullerton Hotel: Singapore’s Michelin-starred soya sauce chicken rice pop up”. Peak. May 24, 2017. Accessed on 12 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://thepeakmagazine.com.sg/gourmet-travel/soon-fullerton-hotel-singapores-michelin-starred-soya-sauce-chicken-rice-pop/?fbclid=IwAR23tXgX1vn_cnBaJ7HfdXjJWEvtAApJH-YDFcpwqq99_yEGQCaNo51Z7uY
  11. Liaofanhawkerchan. Instagram. March 30, 2018. Accessed on 12 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bg8tVyhBfr2/
  12. “At The Michelin Guide Street Food Festival”. RWSCOOP. May 8, 2017. Accessed on 12 February 2019. Retrieved from: http://www.rwsentosablog.com/michelin-street-food-festival-scenes/
  13. “Hawker Chan’s chicken rice wows fine dining customers in New York”. Today. December 12, 2016. Accessed on 12 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.todayonline.com/lifestyle/food/hawker-chans-chicken-rice-wows-fine-dining-customers-new-york
  14. Ng, Huiwen. “Hundreds queue in London for a taste of Hawker Chan’s soya sauce chicken rice”. The Straits Times. March 16, 2018. Accessed on 12 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/food/hundreds-queue-in-london-for-a-taste-of-hawker-chans-soya-sauce-chicken-rice
  15. "Hawker Chan". King's Cross UK. Accessed on 16 April 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.kingscross.co.uk/event/the-michelin-starred-street-food-returns-to-kerb
  16. Ng, Huiwen. “Hundreds queue in London for a taste of Hawker Chan’s soya sauce chicken rice”. The Straits Times. March 16, 2018. Accessed on 12 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/food/hundreds-queue-in-london-for-a-taste-of-hawker-chans-soya-sauce-chicken-rice
  17. Liaofanhawkerchan. Instagram. May 26, 2018. Accessed on 12 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.instagram.com/p/BjOultEArFA/
  18. Quek, Eunice. “Famous Liao Fan soya sauce chicken stall set to expand”. The Straits Times. October 29, 2016. Accessed on 12 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/food/famous-liao-fan-soya-sauce-chicken-stall-set-to-expand
  19. Liaofanhawkerchan. Instagram. November 11, 2016. Accessed on 12 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.instagram.com/p/BMqv82NAUmB/
  20. Quek, Eunice. “Famous Liao Fan soya sauce chicken stall set to expand”. The Straits Times. October 29, 2016. Accessed on 12 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/food/famous-liao-fan-soya-sauce-chicken-stall-set-to-expand
  21. “Cheapest Michelin-Starred Meal Comes To Hawker Chan”. Weekender. November 4, 2016. Accessed on 12 January 2019. Retrieved from: https://weekender.com.sg/w/dining/cheapest-michelin-starred-meal-comes-hawker-chan/
  22. Liaofanhawkerchan. Instagram. February 24, 2017. Accessed on 12 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.instagram.com/p/BQ4MkdNjGdH/
  23. Liaofanhawkerchan. Instagram. June 25, 2017. Accessed on 12 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.instagram.com/p/BVvoK4XjFsZ/
  24. Quek, Eunice. “Famous Liao Fan soya sauce chicken stall set to expand”. The Straits Times. October 29, 2016. Accessed on 12 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/food/famous-liao-fan-soya-sauce-chicken-stall-set-to-expand
  25. Bunyan, John. "Singapore’s Michelin-star soy sauce chicken rice comes to Ipoh". Malay Mail. March 15, 2019. Accessed on 16 April 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.malaymail.com/news/eat-drink/2019/03/15/singapores-michelin-star-soy-sauce-chicken-rice-comes-to-ipoh/1733004
  26. Thomas, Sujin. "Michelin-starred Hawker Chan has opened an outlet in Melbourne – and the crowds keep coming". December 11, 2017. Accessed on 16 April 2019. Business Insider. Retrieved from: https://www.businessinsider.sg/michelin-starred-hawker-chan-has-opened-an-outlet-in-melbourne-and-the-crowds-keep-coming/
  27. ASIAONE. "Michelin-starred soya sauce chicken restaurant to open first overseas outlet in Taipei". ASIAONE. February 12, 2017. Accessed on 16 April 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.asiaone.com/food/michelin-starred-soya-sauce-chicken-restaurant-open-first-overseas-outlet-taipei
  28. HOYII. Accessed on 16 April 2019. Retrieved from: http://www.hoyii.com.tw/brandInfo.php?i=6&fbclid=IwAR29pGnNPqk30BpOwS-sS41_KO7B1JSDMBveAH-LdeAkjcgsg5aF_r2ZBBE
  29. “Singapore’s Michelin-star chicken, for US$1.50”. Nikkei Asian Review. August 24, 2016. Accessed on 12 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://video.asia.nikkei.com/detail/videos/editor-s-picks/video/5095199484001/singapore-s-michelin-star-chicken-for-us-1.50?autoStart=true&fbclid=IwAR0d5t_K5w2MT46-32PJSPA0APXayGEmICBQOw8ZXDQaq8XSC5l7verah8Q
  30. “Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice And Noodle Review: The Cheapest Michelin Star Meal In The World”. Eatbook. July 26, 2016. Accessed on 12 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://eatbook.sg/soya-sauce-chicken/?fbclid=IwAR0ZP--BBgIChj1nN7n45wf3zs-yZ6MPBPQzgEBaqtZhXh9mfsskyIjbCjY
  31. “Hawker Chan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle- Cheapest Michelin Meal In The World At $2”. Daniel Food Diary. Accessed on 12 February 2019. Retrieved from: http://danielfooddiary.com/2016/07/22/hongkongsoyasauce/?fbclid=IwAR1duBARS6lvaYZ0nxzGwtmuPpnmQRf1QL3JXXIBogxfxEnVoSp3ZmNRnQ0
  32. Littlemagsg. Instagram. August 30, 2018. Accessed on 12 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.instagram.com/p/BnGSbzvn-nt/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet&fbclid=IwAR0Er8eMBwrFWwbtt_FiiFO1hw7CRpaEu8oAgT9UUnIisRpezSk-4CxpDWo
  33. Buzzfeed Bring Me. “The Cheapest Michelin-Starred Restaurant Is In Singapore”. Facebook. Accessed on 2 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.facebook.com/buzzfeedbringme/videos/2015794905121994/
  34. Strictly Dumpling. “The CHEAPEST Michelin Star Meal in The WORLD! $2 Chicken Rice!”. September 17, 2017. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Youtube. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQ1Ula_VCW8
  35. “FOOD KING SINGAPORE TAKES ON MICHELIN FT. STEVEN FROM BUZZFEED!”. Ryan Sylvia. December 28, 2017. Accessed on 11 February 2019. Youtube. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wMJrw9U9WM