As the restaurant world from New York to London and elsewhere reopens in fits and starts, Singapore is a microcosm of both problems and solutions. Within the compact city-state of 5.6 million people are white-tablecloth Michelin-starred establishments, long-running family-owned eateries, pizza parlors, Mexican takeout, the world-famous hawker culture of small specialist stands—a miniature foodie universe. The pandemic struck them all.
The food scene—from highbrow to popular to inexpensive—suffered dramatically. Vianney Massot, a one-star Michelin restaurant run by an alumnus of the late French superstar chef Joël Robuchon, announced it was ceasing operations while it looked for a new home, because its location on Hongkong Street “is no longer compatible with our vision” in a post-Covid-19 world. Founder Bak Kut Teh, which has been serving the pork bone soup that’s part of its name for more than four decades, issued a public plea for customers, saying sales had fallen by more than 85% and if things didn’t turn around in the next two months it would need to shut down.