See & Do

5 Michelin-starred meals you can afford for RM50 or less

If you had told me last month that I could afford to eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant for as little as RM50, I probably would have laughed in your face. Because I can’t even buy my weekly groceries for that amount.

However, since the release of Traveloka’s “50 Cheapest Michelin Meals” earlier this month, which features the world’s 50 cheapest Michelin Guide-approved restaurants, I have learned the error of my ways. Not only can I afford to eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant for as little as RM50, I can actually choose from FIVE. So excuse me while plan my next trip – here are five Michelin-starred meals that’ll only cost you RM50:

1. Jay Fai | Thailand

Jay Fai
Credit: ferdyboy / Shutterstock

Beside the busy Maha Chai Road in the middle of Bangkok is this simple streetside restaurant, famous for serving up lip-smacking crab omelettes, crab curries and dry congee. The restaurant’s name is adopted from its owner, whose nickname is “Jay Fai” (loosely translated to “Sister Mole”) due to the prominent mole on her face.

Jay Fai was the only street eatery awarded a star in the first-ever Bangkok Michelin Guide in 2018. Starting from US$12 (RM50), you can enjoy dishes made from fresh ingredients sourced across the country by Jay Fai herself. Though its prices may be higher than those found at typical street food stalls and the long queues seem daunting, the satisfied reviews from those who have tried her food prove that it’s worthwhile.

Raan Jay Fai
327 Maha Chai Road (at intersection with Samranrat Road), Bangkok.
Tel: +66 2 223 9384
Opening Hours: 3.00pm – 2.00am (Mon-Sat) | Closed on Sundays


2. Chugokusai S.Sawada | Japan

Chugokusai S.Sawada
Credit: @autourdumonde1010 / Instagram

Osaka’s reputation as one of Japan’s hubs for good food goes without saying, but did you know that you can savor Michelin star-level Chinese food for around RM40 here? Yep, Chugokusai S.Sawada offers a lunch set menu for as little as US$9.70. However, the restaurant is often fully booked up to three months in advance, so plan your visit ahead of time!

Its owner, Chef Sawada Shuhei, is well-versed in Chinese cuisine after honing his culinary skills in Hong Kong for many years. The restaurant is famous for its Nagasaki seafood stir-fry with Chinese vegetables, as well as ‘Crispy Kaoridori Chicken from Tochigi’ (or ‘Mr. Sawada’s crispy chicken’).

Chugokusai S.Sawada
1F, New Masago Bldg, 4-6-28 Nishitenma, Kita-ku, Osaka.
Tel: +81 6 6809 1442
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 1.00pm (Lunch);  5.30pm – 9.00pm (Dinner) | Open daily


3. Hamo | South Korea

Credit: Michelin Guide

Seoul may be the world’s sixth most expensive city to live in, but surprisingly, it’s also home to one of the cheapest Michelin meals. Hamo, which means “of course” in the Gyeongsang province dialect, offers its cheapest à la carte meal at only US$7.10 (RM29).

The restaurant is known for preparing authentic traditional Jinju-style cuisine. The Jinju Bibimbap is served with a mound of seasoned raw beef on top of vegetables and rice, and comes in a brass bowl with a side of beef and turnip soup. The Joseon Japchae, unlike the modern japchae, is made without noodles, consisting of finely-sliced vegetables tossed in a fragrant mustard sauce.

2F, 819 Eonju-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul.
Tel: +82 2 515 4266
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 2.30pm (Lunch); 5.00pm  – 9.00pm (Dinner) (Mon-Fri) | 11.30am – 9.00pm (Sat-Sun)


4. Tim Ho Wan | Hong Kong

Tim Ho Wan
Credit: Tim Ho Wan / Facebook

Formerly dubbed the “world’s cheapest Michelin-star restaurant”, internationally-renowned dim sum restaurant Tim Ho Wan has become a global franchise, popping up in over 40 locations around the world. In Hong Kong alone it operates at six locations. While there’s a wide variety of dim sum choices available, every dish is carefully prepared by hand and reasonably priced.

Owner-chef Mak Kwai Pui, formerly of 3-star Michelin restaurant Lung King Heen, offers his cheapest à la carte dish at a mere US$3.80 (RM16). The restaurant’s specialties include baked BBQ pork buns (its biggest hit), steamed shrimp dumplings and steamed beef balls. Unfortunately, the two Tim Ho Wan outlets that were in Kuala Lumpur closed down last year, but hey, all the more reason to travel to Hong Kong to taste the real deal!

Tim Ho Wan (Tai Kwok Tsui)
Shop G, 72A-C, Olympian City 2, 18 Hoi Ting Road, Tai Kwok Tsui, Hong Kong.
Tel: +852 2332 2896
Opening Hours: 10.00am – 9.30pm | Open daily (Except for 3 days during the Lunar New Year)


5. Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle | Singapore

Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle
Credit: Michelin Guide

Currently holding the title of “world’s cheapest Michelin meal” is Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle, which offers its famous soy sauce chicken rice for as little as US$2.20 (RM9). Besides chicken rice, you can also order soy sauce chicken noodle, roasted pork rice, char siew rice and char siew noodles for less than a tenner.

Following in the footsteps of Tim Ho Wan, after being awarded a Michelin star, the owners opened branches all around the world, from Bangkok to Melbourne. However, everyone says that the best place to enjoy their soy sauce chicken is still at the original hawker stall, located in the Chinatown Food Complex.

Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle
Blk 335, Smith Street #02-166, Chinatown Food Complex, Singapore 050335
Opening Hours: 10.30am – 7.00pm (Mon-Tues, Thurs-Fri) | 8.30am – 7.00pm (Sat-Sun) | Closed on Wednesdays

Not only is it possible to eat at a Michelin-star restaurant without burning a hole in your pocket, but with our fantastic deals and affordable prices for flights and hotels, it’s never been easier to plan your foodie trip – check out our promotions and book your trip on Traveloka!

A storyteller with an insatiable sense of curiosity. Travel junkie. Card-carrying member of many fandoms. Heavily dependent on caffeine. Loyal cat servant. Former journalist at the New Straits Times and Hybrid News.

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