Yeah! The list is out again – Asia’s 50 best restaurants is an annual snapshot of the opinions and experiences of almost 1,000 international restaurant industry experts. This is our bible when we plan which restaurants to visit on our trips to Asia. It has seldom let us down, except once in Singapore (Jaan), and it covers restaurants in cities that are not included in Guide Michelin. Next stop for us will be Hong Kong, so let the browsing begin. But fist, a quick look o who is the the top 10 this time.
I am so amused when I think of Gaggan – no 1 restaurant in the whole of Asia. Not because of the restaurants placing; I just have such a funny memory from our first encounter. While walking down the street from our hotel in 2014 I saw a casual sign pointing into a dark alley. Progressive Indian kitchen it said; and I laughed as I though it was just a hut with a fancy name. I did not at that recognize the name regardless of having browsed “the bible” for food options. Later my memory caught up to me and I said to M that I think that funny Indian restaurant is actually one of the best restaurants in the city. The hotel reserved a table for us and at the end of the dark alley we discovered this really fancy white colonial-type villa. I would say I have had better dinners in my life (I think its the mixology that awes people), but the tasting menu at that time did not cost much more than 50€. The cocktails as well were quire awesome.
I have visited four restaurant now placing top 10 and five more placing top 50. The best restaurants by far have been in Tokyo, Japan. Narisawa (#6), l’Effervesence (#12) and Takasawa (#50). Tokyo really houses amazing quality, and depending on the currency, they can be very affordable as well (around 100-200$). Shanghai I have always left alone, as I have never been prepared to pay the price (seriously, 600$ for a tasting menu at Ultraviolet). In Singapore, the food is super but the service Singaporean (bad). Burnt Ends (#10) and Jaan (#42) both disappointed with rude staff, which is a shame because I think with a smile the food tastes better as well.
Going back to the beginning, Hong Kong will be our next destination, and I see several luring options on the list: 8 1/2 Otto Mezzo Bombana (what a ridiculous name), Lung King Heen (View of the Dragon) and the Chairman. The price level in the city seems to be quite acceptable and lunch deals are always a good option to keeping the cost in control. I have also heard that there are several Michelin-starred noodle places housed on the same street, so perhaps a Michelin-crawl is in place. I think I need to start saving money now (last year).