A Michelin Star and a Walk by the Bay
What is a Michelin star? To be honest I never really took time to know what it was. I only knew that stars are given to prestigious restaurants. When you see Michelin star on a restaurant it is a badge that the food is good. Just recently a franchise from Singapore just opened in Manila. The world’s first and cheapest food stall to receive a prestigious star. Liao Fan Hawker Chan now has international franchises all over the world. Finally the Filipinos will now have a chance to taste their signature dish “The Soya Sauce Chicken”. Join me today to have a taste of this popular dish and after that let’s have a walk at Manila Bay.
A Michelin Star and a Walk by the Bay
As some of you might recognize the mascot for Michelin which reminds me of the Stay Puff Marshmallow man from the Ghost Busters. Michelin is a tire company in France that published a guide for motorist. It includes maps, instructions, gas stations and in 1922 they also added restaurant and hotel listings. The restaurant section became so popular that they recruited Michelin inspectors to do reviews of the restaurants. These inspectors are secret agents and remains anonymous. In what I have learned they are not even allowed to disclose to their families of their secret identity.
A street food stall located in Singapore named Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle, it is one of the two food stalls that has been awarded with one star. The stall is owned by Chan Hong Meng that started from humble beginnings. With the recognition received the lines became longer, but still he kept the cheap price of his food. Today there are a lot of franchises internationally. As a lot of us could go to Singapore to experience it at the original branch this franchise is a welcoming sight in Manila. It is located at Mall of Asia which is one of the largest mall in our country.
Outside you can see the food that they have to offer and I am looking forward to taste their signature dish. The prices are very affordable which is similar to the price that they have in Singapore. The Soya Sauce Chicken rice cost 128 pesos which is about $2.36. This price is comparable to the rice meal prices in most fast food chains here.
As for us we are looking forward to have a taste of a little bit of everything.
From outside you can already see a line building up and I was expecting that we might also have a little trouble getting a table.
With that brightly lit sign and the word one Michelin star, we are excited to have a taste of their food.
The set up is very different form the usual fast food chains. It had a different feel than the usual food chains here, from the setup and design it was all new.
Behind the counter the chicken and pork are displayed, which reminds of the the restaurants in Chinatown. There is also a sweet smell that would stimulate your appetite.
At the counter your order will be taken and you will be assigned a number. Surprisingly, the line moved very fast and was just took a few minutes to take our order.
They also sold different types of tea and we ordered the Roselle tea. A magenta colored tea made from the roselle flower. I am not a tea fan, but my daughter insisted that we order it.
Here you would wait for your order and while waiting we were already on a look out for a vacant table.
Finally, we got our table and we just needed to wait for our number to come up.
After waiting a few minutes our order was ready. Time to feed the hungry family, but before that we had to take a couple of photos first.
We ordered a little bit of every in regards to the meat dishes, but missed to order the pork ribs.
I guess the food is already enough for just the four of us to enjoy.
First we have the popular Soya Sauce Chicken with noodles. The dish that gave Chan Hon Meng international recognition. The chicken was a bit sweet as expected and the meat quite tender. I really loved it especially the skin as for the noodles it had a very good texture and the taste of the sauce and sambal was a bit unusual, but interesting to my taste. First time I have had sambal and the taste of it is very similar to bagoong which is our local shrimp paste.
It was not what I was expecting, but over all the meal was satisfying at this price point.
The extra rice that we ordered had the special sauce poured on it. We had to pay an extra 20 pesos or $.37 to have the sauce on the rice. I think the sauce is the same that was used on the chicken so it was also a bit sweet.
Next we had the platter meal that you can choose from any meat combination and as a side dish it also includes some soya beans. We selected the roasted pork, char siew and the chicken. The price is 270 pesos which is roughly around $3.00. The roasted pork had a crunch top part, but what I really loved the most is the Char Siew. Sweet tender almost taste like Tocino which is our local sweet pork dish.
We had to have some vegetables to complete the meal. Here is their steamed Chinese Broccoli with roasted garlic and with a dash of their special sauce. The cost is 99 pesos which is around $1.82 price which is a bit steep for vegetables, but hey vegetable are very expensive now here these days.
Our taste of the Michelin star restaurant was complete. There are different review about Hawker Chan and some does not think it is worthy of the star. My wife was not a fan and she mentioned that she preferred the food that we had in China town. I on the other hand was also not completely blow away. I am not a professional food critic, but I know what I like and for me it seemed to be just ok for my taste. Well, still it earned that star and maybe we all just have different taste when it comes to food. I am still wondering why there are long lines in Singapore, it makes me wonder if it is a different experience on the main branch. If you are near any branches of Hawker Chan try it out and please let me know what you think.
After that meal we decided to take a walk at the bay in the back part of the mall. The sun was setting and it had a gorgeous sky. We crossed the walkway to reach the other side and wanted to relax and enjoy the cool ocean breeze.
Unexpectedly, the place was packed with people and it was pretty hard to get a spot. I have never seen this place so crowded before. I recall last time we went here there a plenty of places to sit. It seemed there was like a concert or a celebrity that everyone was waiting for. But there was no concert and everyone just seemed to have the same idea to hang out here.
My kids was also surprised with the volume of the people around.
I wanted to take photos of the sunset, but had a very hard time looking for a spot. When a couple left, I immediately took the spot to be able to take a few shots.
This is the perfect time of day for me and if you could just freeze time to make it longer. A ferry boat passes by and I think this is one of those boats that offers buffet and a tour around the bay. Perfect time would be later at night to watch the fireworks display.
This looks like a fishing boat and if you could zoom in, you would notice a guy with two hands raised in the air. If I had my zoom lens with me we could have gotten more detail.
More and more people are starting to pour in as the sun sets. Families, lovers and friends all are drawn by the golden hour.
Security is present around the bay and their presence makes us feel safer which is good. Although there are no news of crime around this area it is good that they keep this place secured.
My family found a spot where they could enjoy the view, but I wondered around a bit. As that big yellow sun is swallowed away by the ocean, magic surrounds the area. The breeze from the ocean was a little bit cooler and lights from the restaurants are starting to light up.
People enjoy the closing of the day with friends and lovers holds each other closer as night begins to descend.
With the gentle sound of the waves the sky slowly changes colors in the most relaxing tones. This sets the perfect mood for romance and reminds me to take my wife on a quiet dinner date in one of the restaurants here. Better yet have a dinner on a romantic cruise around the bay. Not today, but maybe soon as it has been a while since we spent time together alone on a date.
As it almost darkens the lights from the harbor and the city are lighting up like a gentle glow from a flame. Out here it all looks so peaceful and you could just forget everything for a moment and breath in the ocean air. It was an interesting afternoon with the meal that we had and with a bay that is crowded. But still we had a fun time as I get to spend an afternoon outside with the people that I love.
Thanks for joining me in this food trip and the walk by the bay. Have you experienced eating at this restaurant? Let me know what your thoughts are and for the meantime have a good evening everyone.
Hope to see you again soon.
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All photos are original and taken with
Lumix GX85 and 12-32 mm kit lens