Just two months after the Manila opening of Kam’s Roast, a Michelin-starred restaurant from Hong Kong, we have another storied restaurant opening its doors in Manila: Singapore’s Hawker Chan, known as the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world.
The restaurant is known for its Soya Chicken, which according to the Michelin Guide draws lines even before opening time. I got to try it a day before its official launch and fell in love with the food!
Before I share my thoughts, a little primer on Hawker Chan in Singapore: the restaurant was founded by Malaysian chef Chan Hong Meng, the son of a farmer who flew to Singapore to train under a Hong Kong chef. It was there that he perfected the Singapore Soya Sauce Chicken and Noodle, which you can try when you visit.
In 2009, Chang Hong Meng opened a store at the Chinatown Complex, the largest open-air hawker center in Singapore. There, he quickly gained fans for his signature dish, eventually making it to the Michelin’s Singapore Guide. He opened Liao Fan Hawker Chan at 78 Smith Street, and it was included in the 2018 Bib Gourmand Awards (also by the Michelin Guide), which recognizes eateries for its value for money.
Now it’s in Manila and I’m going to share with you what I think:
The menu is straightforward and offers the Soya Sauce Chicken, the Char Siew, the Roasted Pork, and the Pork Rib (P168 with rice / P198 with noodles). You can pair it either with rice or noodles, or get it as a combination of two or three meats.
Of course, I got to try the Singapore Soya Sauce Chicken (P128 with rice / P158 with noodles). I found the meat tender and the flavor light. It was roasted nicely and it made a great pair with the noodles, especially after being soaked with soya sauce. Diners are free to choose from four sauces available: Chili Sauce, Dark Soy Sauce, Pickled Chili, and Light Soy Sauce. I’m beginning to appreciate spicy food so I enjoyed it with the Chili Sauce!
The Roasted Pork (P148 with rice / P178 with noodles) was quite sinful. It came in a large serving with plenty of heft, fat, and a nice juicy strip of skin. The skin gave off a satisfying crunch and I found myself addicted to it. Of course, it wouldn’t be a good idea to eat so much in one sitting but it means you can come back for more.
My favorite would have to be the Char Siew (P148 with rice / P178 with noodles). Thick-cut, flavorful, and decadent, there’s plenty of sauce that’s both sticky and sweet, and it’s a good pairing for rice or noodles.
To balance this, I recommend getting the Thai-Style Tofu (P160), a seemingly-simple tofu dish that packs a punch. Fried tofu is paired with apples, onions, sweet chilli sauce, and peanuts, which makes for a spicy yet surprisingly refreshing dish.
The best thing about Manila’s Hawker Chan, apart from its great flavors, is the affordable pricetag. The most expensive single order is P198 and most of them are way below that. A two-meat combo is P180 while a three-meat combo is P270. You can even order the chicken at P299 for a half-order and P598 for a whole chicken.
Now, fans of its Singapore restaurant won’t have to fly for a taste of the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world!
Hawker Chan was brought to Manila by FOODEE Global Concepts, who is behind Tim Ho Wan, Tsuta Japanese Soba Noodle, FOO’D by David Oldani, Todd English Food Hall, POUND by Todd English, Hook by Todd English, MESA Filipino Moderne, Llaollao, Sunnies Café, Flatterie, Kam’s Roast, and Bench Café.
This story is in partnership with Hawker Chan. Hawker Chan is located at the Ground Floor, Entertainment Mall at the SM Mall of Asia Complex. For more information, follow them on Facebook.