What Bib Gourmand really says about Singapore’s cuisine

Bib Gourmand

Singapore’s inaugural Bib Gourmand

The highly anticipated Michelin Guide Singapore has finally been released , but prior to that, in an effort to tease us — and our palate — Michelin unveiled its Bib Gourmand list comprising a selection of 24 restaurants and hawker stalls.

Bib Gourmand, quite simply, is the younger, less mature sister of Michelin Guide, listing eateries that serve good food at affordable prices. It differs from country to country, with Singapore’s limit being S$45. Average, for a meal at a restaurant, but rather generous for hawker fare.

While the Bib Gourmand distinction started off as a mark of quality to restaurants that offered three-course meals (starter, main and dessert), today’s list is an exception. Having made way for hawker fare — our joy and pride that makes us the foodies that we are today — Singapore’s Bib Gourmand focuses on the dish itself instead.

The list comprises 14 restaurants, 17 hawker stalls and three stalls in coffee shops, simply termed ‘other street food’. Household names like Song Fa and 328 Katong Laksa made the cut, which was a given.

Since its release, many have contested the list. Myself included. Some awardees were a surprise, given how standards have clearly dropped over the years. And while I believe that food preferences are truly ‘to each his own’, the inspectors could have done more to explore various corners of the island, instead of being conservative and limiting themselves to the CBD area.

That said, regardless of which stalls have made the cut, Michelin Guide Singapore’s Bib Gourmand has certainly hit bull’s eye with the list. It has whet our appetites, occupied the large part of meal-time conversations, and spurred foodies to go on an amazing race round the island to prove (or disprove) why certain stalls deserve the distinction (or not).