These are the Cheapest Michelin-Starred Restaurants in the World

High-quality dining usually comes with high prices. However, that’s not always the case in Asia’s culinary scene, where three Michelin-starred restaurants all offer dishes around $12 or less. Located in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, these three eateries have been recognized by the Michelin Star Guide for being influential in “street food” cuisine and offer affordable menus that make them the three cheapest Michelin-starred restaurants in the world.

Auntie Gaik Lean’s Old School Eatery

Located in Penang, Malaysia, Aunty Gaik Lean’s Old School Eatery earned its first Michelin star in 2023 as one of four restaurants to be awarded one Michelin star in the inaugural launch of the Michelin Guide in Malaysia. The family-style restaurant is owned by Gaik Lean and her son, Adrian, who have been offering homestyle cooking for over a decade. The eatery serves Peranakan cuisine, which is a combination of Chinese, Malay and Indonesian ingredients and cooking techniques.

Appetizers at the local favorite restaurant start at just $1.80 and you can order an entire spread of six dishes and three drinks for about $41.80. Highlights on the menu include the Curry Kapitan, which is served with chicken, handmade coconut milk and a Malaysian-style paste of spices, like chili and shallots, and the Sambal Brinjal, an eggplant dressed in a spicy and savory sambal sauce. 

Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle

Found in Kallang, Singapore, Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle was awarded a Michelin star in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022. The open-air coffee shop is known for its bak chor mee (minced pork noodle soup) and is the only Michelin-starred hawker stall in Singapore. The eatery was founded in 1932 by Tang Joon Teo and is now run by head chef Chua Hock Cheng, who has prepared noodles for customers everyday for over 40 years.

Customers can choose from three sizes of noodle bowls, with the smallest being $4.50 each. The popular noodle bowl, bak chor mee, is prepared in a broth with dark vinegar, chili sauce, garlic, and shrimp paste along with minced meats, pork cracklings and dumplings. 

Jay Fai

Located in Bangkok, Thailand, Jay Fai was awarded its first Michelin star in 2016 and has been awarded every year since then. The roadside restaurant is known for its Thai street food and was founded in the 1980s by Supinya Junsuta, a 76-year-old chef who’s appeared in the 2019 Netflix show “Street Food” and cooks for her long line of customers for about 12 hours a day. 

The restaurant’s signature dishes are the crab omelet featuring fried eggs and generous chunks of crab meat served with a spicy sauce and a soy sauce-based condiment for $33, and the drunken noodles—flat noodles and prawns served in a hot, savory sauce for $13.80.

Photos courtesy Michelin Guide

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