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Michelin dishes out Hong Kong, Macau street food

Best known for its listings of haute cuisine establishments, the Michelin Guide is now featuring wallet-friendly street food in the latest instalment of its Hong Kong and Macau edition.

There are no stars awarded for the street food featured in the 2016 edition of Michelin's Hong Kong and Macau hospitality guide, but the listings underscore the importance of the affordable fare in the local context, the International Director for the Michelin Guide told CNBC's Squawk Box on Friday.

"Street food is very much a part of the Hong Kong culinary scene. Hong Kong has fantastic gastronomy everywhere but Hong Kong is a city that never stops; it never sleeps. People are out and about all the time and street food has always been a very big part of Hong Kong culture," said Michael Ellis.

The selection of Hong Kong street food recommended by the guide's inspectors range from fried pork fat noodles to baked potatoes and Indonesian fried rice.

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Twelve Macau street food selections were also featured.

More than 300 names are featured in the 2016 edition of the Hong Kong and Macau guide, with eight restaurants receiving the highest three-star rating—which means that they serve "exceptional cuisine, worth a special visit".

A large group of people sit around small tables in an alleyway in Hong Kong to enjoy their street food dinner
Jonas Gratzer | LightRocket | Getty Images
A large group of people sit around small tables in an alleyway in Hong Kong to enjoy their street food dinner

Three-star establishments in Hong Kong include a contemporary French restaurant run by celebrity chef Joel Robuchon, and new guide entrant T'ang Court, which specializes in Cantonese cuisine.

Ellis said that three-star establishments feature food that achieves the "highest level of gastronomy".

"When (inspectors) go out, they are looking for quality of ingredients, they are looking for mastery of cooking technique, harmony and equilibrium in the flavors and regularity over time. To get three stars, it really has to be almost perfection."

Despite the proliferation of peer-to-peer review guides and sites, Ellis said Michelin is confident that there is still demand for an independent guide that is the "gold standard" and "north star" for the industry.

This is not the first time Michelin has featured simple, wallet-friendly eateries in its celebrated guide.

In 2010, Michelin picked a budget 20-seater dim sum restaurant, Tim Ho Wan, for one of its recommendation earning one star. It is now popularly known as the world's cheapest Michelin-star restaurant and has been expanding internationally since 2013.