Han Li Guang fancies himself a free spirit. A headstrong individual who, while not quite embracing of the rebel label, concedes to being stubborn.
“It’s who I am: stubborn on philosophy, stubborn on techniques,” acknowledges the chef-owner of one-Michelin-starred Labyrinth restaurant at the Esplanade Mall. The philosophy in question? A culinary lexicon that continuously challenges and reimagines the notion of Singapore cuisine—one that places the locavore in focus, as up to 90 per cent of Labyrinth’s menu features produce sourced from local farmers and fishermen.
Labyrinth serves up a “new expression of Singapore cuisine” inspired by Han’s childhood memories and in which familiar Singaporean flavours are elevated and interpreted as edible art guaranteed to jolt jaded palates.
“I named the restaurant Labyrinth because, like a maze, it’s designed to have a surprise element at every corner,” Han explains.
Creative presentation is the name of the game, while preserving the emotional connection people have to the dishes’ traditional form remains a priority. “Never boring or classical,” he insists. And with a little personality and colloquial humour, we might add. On Labyrinth’s current Chef’s Tasting Menu, for instance, there is a Bak Chor Mee, No Bak Chor, No Mee dish, a tongue‑in‑cheek reference to a local noodle favourite and the uniquely Singaporean way of requesting to hold certain ingredients—but extravagantly garnished with Hokkaido scallop and squid from Jurong Fishery.