A Singapore food hawker who was awarded one Michelin star in July is seeking an international expansion deal which he hopes can bring him at least RM6.1 million (SGD2million). Waiting time averages two to three hours now to get your hands on this well-known chicken rice and even up to 60 minutes before the Michelin star win.
Malaysian-born Chan Hon Meng who was acknowledged worldwide for his soya sauce braised chicken said he wants a partner who can make him into an international franchise like KFC. He cited iconic Asian food brands like Hong Kong’s Tim Ho Wan and Taiwan’s internationally renowned Din Tai Fung, which have both won one star.
The celebrated Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle hawker stall won a star in the inaugural Singapore Michelin Guide and has been lauded as the cheapest Michelin-starred meal in the world.
Potential investors have been approaching him after his win and how he is “slowly beginning to understand” their pitches, Chan mentioned to The Malay Mail. Until recently, the 51-year-old had little interest as those who approached him were not in the food industry.
“They said they will provide the finances, and me the expertise, but it is not so easy. They are willing to open factories, but how will they be run?” Chan Hon Meng said.
The potential expansion move by Chan was fueled in part by customer feedback about the long queues and longer waiting times at his stall, and his regular customers have been telling him to develop and enlarge his business. A key reason he wants to expand overseas is the increase in the number of tourists at his eight-year-old stall since its Michelin award in July. He estimated that about 90 per cent of his customers now are tourists.
He told the Chinese Evening Daily that he is considering the offer because he is getting older and does not know how long he can continue running the stall. Chan listed three conditions for prospective partners to fulfil: The other party must have the capability and desire to expand overseas; must guarantee that the quality of food will remain the same in every branch; and must be able to provide a guarantee that the recipe will remain within the business.
Until then, he can be found at Chinatown Food Centre, working hard to guarantee curious and famished customers are fed.
Here are 3 chicken rice stalls in KL you have to try (and which might also deserve that Michelin star)
Hoe Fong Chicken Rice – P.J. Sea Park
Identified as the place with the best fried chicken rice in Petaling Jaya, this restaurant has been around for more than 30 years and its version is unlike the others out there. The chicken is crispy and lightly caramelized on the outside, yet so moist and tender within. Their buttery, fluffy chicken rice is enjoyable along with some chili sauce and a mound of minced garlic.
Kee Kee Bentong Chicken Rice – Restoran Yat Yeh Hing
Opened since 1992, this is one of PJ’s favourite chicken rice stalls and it normally gets packed around lunchtime. Best known for its poached chicken and what makes it stand out is the trick of plunging the cooked chicken in cold water to stop the cooking that thwarts overcooking but keeps the skin springy and tender. The chili condiment served is addictively spicy and tasty with a lovely sourness from lime, and add to that a spike of grated ginger makes for a great addition to this already wonderful chicken rice.
Restaurant Loke Yun Ampang
Back in 2007, Guang Ming Daily gave Phang Kee Kim, the owner of Loke Yun, the “King of Hainanese Chicken Rice” award. The chicken rice is delicious, especially their chili sauce – it has the perfect blend of chilies, garlic and ginger. You have the option of choosing either the regular chicken or village free-range chicken. Smooth and juicy chicken while the soup has a nutty wholesome flavor that is very pleasant.