For chefs, Michelin stars are the ultimate recognition of one’s life work. It’s the most renown and most highly respected restaurant rating system in the world, and it’s trusted by diners everywhere (more or less).

Restaurant Andre - michelin guide singapore 2016

Restaurant ANDRE

Last night, 29 establishments in Singapore (see the full list below, if you haven’t already) received the first Michelin stars in the country, including two hawkers – Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle and Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle – so you can actually have Michelin-quality food in Singapore for just $2.

There were some shoo-ins right from the start (think Restaurant ANDRE, Les Amis, and its ilk), and yet, there were more than a few that we imagined were front-runners that bagged none of these coveted stars.

Tippling Club - michelin guide singapore 2016

Tippling Club

For instance, the only other restaurant to make The World’s Best Restaurants, Burnt Ends is surprisingly not on the list. Neither are Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant old-timers Tippling Club and Iggy’s.

Perhaps we shouldn’t compare lists (call me kiasu, but it’s nice to be doubly assured when I fork out a few hundred dollars for a meal) since the judging criteria are different, but is it not a little strange that there aren’t more mod-Sin representatives on the list, save Peranakan-focused Candlenut? We had thought that Wilin Low’s Wild Rocket or even Violet Oon’s National Kitchen would surely make an appearance.

National Kitchen by Violet Oon - michelin guide singapore 2016

National Kitchen by Violet Oon

Trend spotters would also notice a dearth of Italian restaurants on the list – I would have liked to see Gunther’s or Garibaldi receive a star – and while Japanese cuisine is well represented, we’re a tad shocked that Hashida Sushi didn’t make the cut.

Also, given that Putien and Crystal Jade Golden Palace managed to score a star apiece, we’re slightly upset that the latter’s neighbour at Paragon Shopping Centre, Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck Restaurant, did not.

Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck

As with any other kind of rating system, the list is a controversial one (though seemingly less so than their Bib Gourmand awards), but the organization never divulges why a particular restaurant doesn’t receive a star. So I guess we’ll never know why some of our favourite restaurants didn’t make it – but Michelin star or not, we’d keep going back for more, and that’s what matters.

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The Michelin Guide uses the following definitions for restaurants in the guide – one star means very good cooking in its category, two stars means excellent cooking and worth a detour, and three-starred restaurant serves exceptional cuisine that’s worthy of a special journey.

Three Michelin Stars

Joël Robuchon Restaurant, Resorts World Sentosa

Odette - michelin guide singapore 2016

Odette

Two Michelin Stars

Restaurant ANDRE, Bukit Pasoh Road

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Resorts World Sentosa

Les Amis, Shaw Centre

Odette, National Gallery Singapore

Shisen Hanten by Chen Kentaro, Mandarin Orchard Singapore

Shoukouwa, One Fullerton

One Michelin Star

Alma by Juan Amador, Goodwood Park Hotel

Bacchanalia, Hong Kong Street

Beni, Mandarin Gallery

Candlenut, New Bridge Road

Corner House, Singapore Botanic Gardens

Crystal Jade Golden Palace, Paragon Shopping Centre

CUT by Wolfgang Puck, Marina Bay Sands

Forest, Resorts World Sentosa

Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle, Crawford Lane

Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle, Chinatown Food Complex

JAAN, Swissôtel The Stamford

Lei Garden, CHIJMES

Osia, Resorts World Sentosa

Putien, Kitchener Road

Rhubarb Le Restaurant, Duxton Hill

Shinji by Kanesaka, Raffles Hotel

Shinji by Kanesaka, The St. Regis Singapore

Summer Pavilion, The Ritz-Carlton Millenia

Sushi Ichi, Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel

Terra Tokyo-Italian, Tras Street

Song of India, Scotts Road

Waku Ghin, Marina Bay Sands

Top Image: Joel Robuchon Restaurant