There’s only one hawker cart in the Michelin Singapore guide, and this is it. Hawker Chan, the runaway culinary phenomenon, and one of the most affordable Michelin starred meals you’re ever going to eat, has officially arrived in Melbourne. Cue immediately booking flights to our southern sister.
The new restaurant has popped up on Lonsdale Street in the CBD, and it’ll be run exactly like its Singaporean counterpart. That means no reservations, walk-ins only, and hawker-style service up at the counter. No muss, no fuss, just the best darn chicken rice you’ll ever stuff in your gob.
This is the dish chef Chan Hon Meng built his fame and fortune on (he puts the ‘Chan’ in ‘Hawker Chan). It picked up a Michelin star in 2016, and again in 2017, which is honestly an insane achievement for a simple, hawker-style dish. Want to know the secret? Here are the basics: first the chicken is gently poached in a broth of stock, ginger and soy. It’s blanched immediately after, giving the skin a kind of gelatinous texture. Whack that on some steamed white rice, and slice a few spring onions over the top and—voila—Singapore’s national dish. No doubt Chan Hon Meng has a few secret flourishes up his chef-white sleeve, but that sh*t is more closely guarded than the Colonel's herbs and spices.
Of course, Hawker Chan will serve more than just chicken rice. The restaurant seats 92 people and there’s 20 different dishes on the menu. Everything from chicken hor fun (sticky, saucy and completely addictive) to char siew noodles and delicate wonton soup.
“Hawker eating is successful because it makes people happy—it will definitely be a trend in Australia,” says Chan Hon Meng.
Damn, we like his style.
Meanwhile, this is where to get the best damn fried chicken in Sydney.
Image credit: Tim Grey