AUTHOR’S NOTE: Added in Chan Hong Meng’s Malaysian ethnicity, per Eris’ comment below. Timestamp: 28 November 22, 18:15.
Despite having visited Singapore twice, first in 2017 and then in 2019, I was unable to visit Liao Fan Hawker Chan at the Chinatown Food Centre. More popularly known as Hawker Chan, it was originally named Liao Fan Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle when it was first established in 2009.
This hawker stall is known for serving the cheapest Michelin-starred meal in the world. The French tire maker first awarded the famed Michelin Star to the establishment in 2016. However, Hawker Chan lost this commendation five years later in 2021.
Nevertheless, this hasn’t stopped Chan Hong Meng – the Malaysian founder and owner of the hawker stall – from continuing to offer the meal that merited him the much-coveted commendation. Hawker Chan eventually expanded to seven locations, including the Philippines.
I’m no stranger to the joint, having featured it in two triptych posts from 2020 and then a year later. Today’s post, however, will center on a full set I ordered from Hawker Chan. A branch of the famous hawker stall opened up at SM Fairview, a mall less than an hour’s drive away from where I live.
I’ll stop with the introductions to give you today’s set!
I opted to go all-out with my picks since I accomplished several errands on that day of my visit. People would usually order the more budget-friendly options at this joint, but I chose some of the more traditional favorites. It also helped that Hawker Chan had a 50% discount on its Fried Dumplings, which I also availed of.
I ordered a glass of Hong Kong Milk Tea (P88) to start off. This traditional beverage ticked all the boxes – the milk’s sweetness tempered the potency of the black tea used. The sweetness was just enough to cut through the savory menu items I picked. It’s just me though, but I guess sinkers would make this good. Grass jelly, perhaps?
The 2-Meat Combination Platter (P250) allowed diners to choose two proteins – either soya chicken, char siew (barbecued pork) or siew yoke (basic roast pork). I chose the two pork dishes to go with my rice and did not regret doing so. The platter also came with peanuts braised in sweet soy sauce and prawn crackers. The char siew was tender, with the sweet sauce complimenting the meat’s texture. The siew yoke had a rather clean taste and crispy skin. There were times that I would even clean up the char siew sauce using a piece of roast pork!
Hawker Chan‘s Fried Dumplings (originally P140, discounted price P70) were still a good side dish to order even after these years. I ordered them during my 2020 and 2021 forays at the joint – and I’m glad that the establishment did not deviate from the original recipe. These dumplings filled with shrimp and pork came with a black vinegar dip, similar to the one used for xiao long bao (steamed soup-filled dumplings). The dip provided a contrasting tartness that countered the taste of shrimp and pork.
I always make sure to order vegetables to accompany my meal, which I did not forget. The Braised Tofu with Egg and Seasonal Vegetables (P159) fit the bill. It consisted of braised tofu in soya sauce, served with a marinated egg and bok choy with crispy garlic bits. Thanks to the tofu and egg that served as extra protein sources, I no longer saw the need to order an extra cup of rice. The contrasting textures of the bok choy and garlic brightened up my meal. (Mom would often remind us to eat vegetables, so this definitely qualifies!)
I’m glad that Hawker Chan opened up near me as I can simply head over there for a quick meal. Even though the restaurant lost its Michelin Star in 2021, it has nevertheless continued to level up its meals.
Select Hawker Chan locations here in Manila eventually converted into Hawker Chan 2.0 branches, which feature more Singaporean dishes and a setup similar to sit-down restaurants. Basic Hawker Chan branches are set up like fast food counters at hawker centers, which may not be that appealing to those that prefer a homier dining scenario.
Hawker Chan is definitely a must-recommend joint – and I sincerely hope it regains that much-coveted Michelin Star!
Until the next review, bon appetit!
LGF The Parkway, SM City Fairview
Regalado Avenue cor. Quirino Highway
Brgy. Greater Lagro, Quezon City 1100
I know this is unrelated to this entry, but permit me to share this instance that happened at the beginning of this week.
Days before this post, multiple sources confirmed on Nov. 20 the passing of actor and MMA fighter Jason David Frank (JDF) the previous day – with showbiz rag TMZ reporting that he died by suicide.
JDF was known for his role as Tommy Oliver, the Green Ranger / White Ranger from the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers TV show of the 1990s. His death occurred 21 years after that of Thuy Trang, who played Trini Kwan (the original Yellow Ranger) in the series. Trang died in a car crash on Sept. 3, 2001 – eight days before the 9/11 attack.
Requiescat in pace, JD.