The Michelin Star System Explained


If you are not a foodie lover, you will not appreciate a Michelin three starred restaurant even if you see it and actually dined there. For those who are familiar about the star system, they just know the definitions of the starred restaurants but not the nitty-gritty things about it. It is time that you know nitty-gritty of Michelin star system because it is now in Singapore.


On July 21, 2016, the Michelin’s international director Michael Ellis awarded one star to two hawkers. The two hawkers include Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noddle and Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle. This is another first not only here in Singapore but the history of Michelin guide being a Michelin-starred food establishment that offers meal below S$5.

You already know that Michelin have three star with different definitions. One star represents a “very good cooking in its category”. The two stars on the other hand represents an “excellent cooking, worth a detour” and finally the three stars represents “exceptional cuisine, worthy of a special journey.” The provision of giving out the stars is done every year by a their roster of inspectors. No one knows the exact criteria or definition of what is looked for in a restaurant. It is the Michelin’s closely guarded secret.


Despite that, it has become a highly sought-after accolade because of its integrity unlike other guides that take advantage of hidden fees and advertising. Regarding the frequency of visit for restaurants waiting to be re-inspected, it was said that inspectors visit less annually but if the restaurant seeks for a promotion, it will be visited several times in the same year.

Michelin guide doesn’t include every country. Until 2005, it was just exclusive in Europe. In 2005, it launched its New York Guide. As of 2012, Michelin guide covered Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Benelux, Portugal, Spain, France, Ireland, France, UK, San Francisco, Chicago and in Asia Hong Kong, Macau, Tokyo, Kyoto, Yokohama, Osaka, Kamakura and Kobe.

Now you may be wondering if décor counts. In some cases, it does not. There is for instance Sushi Saito that serves food using wooden counter within a car park but still awarded three stars. You also need to know about Espoir. Espoir refers to “rising star”. It was a term introduced in 2005. It is a guide that includes good restaurant with chances of at least being considered for a star promotion. It was said that you can only hold the status for two years.