We join the queues to eat at Hawker Chan in Lonsdale Street

Soya sauce chicken with rice at Hawker Chan. Photo: Tim Grey

Soya sauce chicken with rice at Hawker Chan. Photo: Tim Grey

It’s 6pm on a Monday and I’m standing in line beside Hawker Chan’s illuminated sign. Queues are inevitable when a restaurant is awarded a Michelin Star, but there’s no Michelin Guide in Australia – the original Hawker Chan in Singapore is the outpost with the accolade.

Chef Chan Hon Meng remains there guarding his secret: 30-year-old soy chicken marinade that’s shipped to Melbourne. Our city store has 90 seats and every surface shines like a late-night Spray ’n’ Wipe infomercial. Customers sip green plum juice and embody the phrase “dig in”.

It’s 35 minutes before I reach the front. The roast pork and ribs have sold out. The char siu is dry but with a pleasant char and the white chicken meat is soft and juicy. That’s most of the menu, available for $6.80 to $9.80 with rice or noodles (the slippery egg versions are best). There’s also a passable wonton soup and plates of vegetables.

We don’t have Michelin Stars, but we have Chef’s Hats. I wouldn’t award one to Hawker Chan but if I’m passing again and the queue is short, I’ll join it. 

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