Food • January 2017
In Asia, Michelin stars don’t always translate to fancy fine dining. Travel writer Cathy Adams reveals five destinations where excellent food sometimes comes from hawker stalls and on paper plates
Hong Kong has a varied foodie scene, but it’s the native dim sum that impresses. Tim Ho Wan serves local favourites such as pork buns, har gow and siu mai for around HK$25 (£2.50) a dish. Branches are all over town, but the most convenient is in Hong Kong Station.
Star dish: Roasted pork buns – gooey, sugary and crispy on top.
Singapore isn’t short on Michelin-starred options, but few leave change from £5 – apart from hawker stall Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle, run by chef Chan Hon Meng in Chinatown. His most famous plate is the eponymous one-Michelin-starred soya sauce chicken and rice, which costs S$2.50 (£1.45) – after two hours of queuing.
Star dish: The aforementioned Hong Kong-style chicken has won the accolades, but there’s also tender barbecue pork.
Ramen is a Japanese signature dish: tasty and cheap. No more so than at Tsuta in Tokyo’s Sugamo district, the only ramen restaurant in the world to have a Michelin star. Tsuta has just nine seats, which means customers line up from 6:30am to pay a 1,000 yen (£7.80) deposit for a bowl of wholewheat noodles, slices of chashu pork and black truffle oil-laced soy broth. Slurp loudly to show your appreciation.
Star dish: The bestseller is the shoyu soba, topped with a boiled egg.
Canton 8 snatched the title of world’s cheapest two-Michelin-starred restaurant last year, with lunch a cool 48 yuan (£5.70). Chef Jie Ming Jian serves a short-and-sweet menu of mainly Cantonese favourites.
Star dish: Most people come here for the crystal prawn dumplings and lobster porridge.
A ferry ride from Hong Kong is the former Portuguese enclave of Macau. Tiny Castiço, which scored a Bib Gourmand in the 2017 Michelin Guide, is worth seeking out. The five-table restaurant serves simple, inexpensive plates (from 130 MOP, around £13) of traditional Portuguese food, including duckling rice, baby pork and bacalhau (the Iberian take on roasted cod).
Star dish: The Michelin Guide praises the stewed pork with clams.