The pursuit of a Michelin star, or even making it to the guide itself, has become a never-ending quest for many chefs and restaurateurs. Lots of time, money and stress are involved, and sometimes, it destroys lives.

Is it all that important? No one knows who the judges are, but it is the mystique of the Michelin that lures the people in. While the brand generally provides balanced reviews, we can’t agree with all, especially when Tian Tian Chicken Rice got its Bib Gourmand status. If the the country’s oiliest chicken rice could make it to the Michelin Guide, I don’t see why the following can’t. 

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Piloted by ex-Bacchanalia Daniel Krishnan, the grub here is your alternative to traditional Asian and European fare. They attempt to bend the rules, evoking familiarity in modern, comfort food and drink. It’s hard to tell you what to go for exactly, but they are known for their somen, sea bass and chicken skin (especially so). You can’t complain about their service either, which can sometimes be more important than good food itself. 

53 Craig Road, 01-01, tel. 9729 7988. Open Tuesdays to Fridays 12pm – 2.30pm, 6pm to 12am and weekends 6pm to 12am

58 Bak Chor Mee

Some people don’t believe Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle deserves its one star. Someone told me: “It’s overhyped, overpriced and nothing really outstanding.” Sure. While I can’t say it’s bad, it’s definitely not good enough for me to wait 30 to 90 minutes in queue for it. I think that says a lot. No matter, 58 Bak Chor Mee is a fine alternative. 

3 Yung Sheng Road, 03-150 Taman Jurong Market and Food Centre. Open daily 5.30am to 12am

Ah Hoe Mee Pok

Another good option. Oodles of noodles done right by a Japanese man who was formerly the apprentice at this stall.

710 Clementi West Street 2 Weng Kwang Coffee House, open Tuesdays to Sundays 5.30am to 4.30pm

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Solid reinterpretations of classic French food in the heart of Singapore. Best thing I’ve had on the menu? The cold angel hair pasta doused with truffle oil and piled on with caviar. You can’t leave Gunther’s without a plate of that.

36 Purvis Street, 01-03, tel. 6338 8955 or 9010 3075. Open Mondays to Fridays 12pm to 2.30pm, 6.30pm to 10pm and Saturdays 6.30pm to 10pm

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There’s a chance its chef-owner doesn’t care about the stars, but if the Michelin team gave a s**t about unfussy badass Middle Eastern grub, you can’t do better than Artichoke. Long-time favourites happen to be the fried chicken, lamb shakshouka and hot skillet prawns. So good.

161 Middle Road, tel. 6336 6949. Open Tuesdays to Saturdays 6.30pm to 10.30pm and weekends 11.30am to 3.30pm

*Reservations can be made from Tuesdays to Saturdays 3pm onwards

Jiu Jiang Shao La

An old resident of the Ghim Moh Food Centre (which is possibly one of the best in Singapore), Jiu Jiang has a strong reputation for their roasted pork and duck. Long queues are inherent, but they move pretty fast.

20 Ghim Moh Road, 01-45, Ghim Moh Food Centre. Open daily except Wednesday, 10am to 3pm

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