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It’s Official – Singapore gets a Michelin Guide in 2016

Michelin's anonymous inspectors are already on the ground; F&B players express excitement about the news.

With the impressive number of top-tier chefs who’ve set up shop in Singapore, and a hawker culture as vibrant as any other, the question of when the Little Red Dot would get its little red guide has been on everyone’s lips for a time. That query has finally been answered: in the second half of 2016.

Announced earlier today, the Michelin Guide, deemed among the world’s most authoritative restaurant award platforms, will launch the Singapore edition in bilingual format. This makes Singapore the first Southeast Asian country to be featured in a Michelin Guide.

According to Michael Ellis, international director of the Michelin guides, an international panel of Michelin “inspectors” are already exploring the city-state’s offerings. These salaried inspectors dine anonymously and assess an establishment based on five elements: consistency, value for money, quality of product, personality of the chef as expressed by the cuisine, and – of course – the flavours and preparation of the food.

(RELATED: The 9 chefs set to shake up 2016 in Singapore.)

The most exceptional performances are awarded three stars by the guide – an accolade considered to be the pinnacle achievement of a restaurant in some circles. Two- and one-star ratings denote excellent establishments that are but a few shades shy of the higher tiers. Between editions of the guide, restaurants may lose or gain stars based on their performance during subsequent visits (incognito as well).

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Japan, Hong Kong and Macau are the only other Asian countries to have Michelin Guides.

The arrival of the guide bodes well for Singapore’s food scene as a whole. “The impending, albeit belated arrival of the Michelin guide obviously shows that the culinary centre of gravity has shifted to Southeast Asia, specifically Singapore,” says Raymond Lim, a spokesman for the Les Amis Group. “Together with (San Pellegrino’s) Asia’s 50 Best, it adds another impartial voice of authority on the culinary scene here.”

(RELATED: Gourmet & Travel spends a day with Les Amis’ chef Sebastien LePinoy.)

Prominent chef Andre Chiang of Restaurant Andre was optimistic about the announcement as well. “It is definitely a good thing – probably the greatest thing could happen for (the food scene) in Singapore,” says Chiang, whose restaurant has consistently held the top spot in Singapore under the annual Asia’s 50 Best ranking. “It will push the industry to produce the best quality fare and service to try obtaining a star.The ultimate beneficiary will be our diners.”

Restaurateur and hotelier Loh Lik Peng, however, says that while the high-end establishments may gain good international exposure, for “the vast majority of restaurants, it won’t matter so much.”

(READ MORE: The Peak sits down with Loh Lik Peng for some insight into the man’s prolific mind.)

That said, Ellis says that the street and hawker food scene in Singapore “will have a major role to play” in the coming guide, which hints at these affordable eats being featured in the Bib Gourmand section, where only eateries below a certain price point may be featured.

More information on the guide specific to Singapore is available at the Michelin site developed in collaboration with Robert Parker Wine Advocate: guide.michelin.sg.

(RELATED: Michelin stars? No thank you, say some chefs – we find out why.)

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