Two modest food stalls in Singapore made history last week by becoming the first street vendors to be recognised by the prestigious Michelin Guide.
Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle and Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle were among 29 dining venues to feature in the new Singapore guide.
With its 100-plus open-air "hawker" centres and 6,000 stalls selling traditional food, Singapore is the first south-east Asian country in the world, and the fourth in Asia, to be rated by the Michelin Guide.
Chan Hon Meng, owner of Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle, said he was "very excited" by the international accolade and hopes its will encourage youth to enter the street food business, which he believes is suffering from a lack of successors and run primarily by elderly chefs.
"Never knew hawker food can go global," Mr Chan told Reuters.
"Hopefully the next generation will also pick this up."
The Michelin-star stalls do not come with Michelin-star prices (at least not yet). The 51-year-old Chan, who serves 150 portions of his signature chicken rice dish each lunchtime for around £1.40 a go, has no immediate plans to increase the price of his food.
Other Michelin-starred venues in the new Singapore guide include French restaurant Joël Robuchon, the only establishment awarded three stars, which is run by the chef of the same name who has accumulated more Michelin stars than any other in the world.
Six venues were given two Michelin stars, including another by Joël Robuchon, L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, and two additional French restaurants, as well as Restaurant André, which is a frequent winner in Asia's best restaurant awards.
"Michelin is a food authority," Tetsuya Wakuda, the Japanese chef who owns the now Michelin-starred Waku Ghin at Singapore's Marina Bay Sands, told CNN.
"Its launch in Singapore gives the city -- and its restaurants -- due recognition as a food city. It's no longer just a transit city, there are reasons to stay and eat," he added.
A handful of renowned restaurants, however, such Wild Rocket (ranked among Asia's 50 best restaurants this year) as well as Burnt End (which was on both the world's 100 best restaurants list and Asia's 50 best), were snubbed by Michelin's inaugural guide.'
Some critics also questioned the credibility of some of the stars awarded, noting that four of the star-rated venues were associated with guide's sponsor Resorts World Sentosa.
"The Michelin Guide is the most respected and revered foodie guide in the world," Litti Kewkacha, a Bangkok-based restaurateur/theme park owner who travels to eat in Singapore five to six times a year, told CNN.
"I hope that it doesn't get tainted by having sponsors' dealings for the first time, at least publicly, in Singapore."
More unlikely Michelin-starred venues
Singapore isn't the only country to have made Michelin history in recent years. Last year, Tsuta in Tokyo, the food capital with the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, became the world's first ramen noodle bar to receive a Michelin star.
The tiny nine-seat venue, offering noodle dishes for around £4.50 a bowl, was recognised for its surprising gourmet options such as shoyu soba, made with black truffle oil, and a soya sauce ramen with a porcini mushroom fragrance.
The Telegraph, London
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