Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018

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The Wynn Palace Macao threw a fabulous event and party for last night’s awards, the food and drinks poolside were a highlight: free-flowing Delamotte champagne, freshly grilled scallops, a wonderful risotto topped with uni, yakitori and sushi all done à la minute. It was fabulous.

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Here’s the list of 50 Best Restaurants in Asia:

I’ve been very fortunate to eat in some of these restaurants on the list and some more than a couple dozen times over the last 6 years living in Hong Kong and Macao.

1 GAGGAN, Bangkok, Thailand
2. DEN, Tokyo, Japan
3 FLORILEGE, Tokyo, Japan
4 SUHRING, Bangkok, Thailand
5 ODETTE, Singapore
6 NARISAWA, Tokyo, Japan
7 AMBER, Hong Kong, China
8 ULTRAVIOLET BY PAUL PAIRET, Shanghai, China
9 NIHONRYORI RYUGIN, Tokyo, Japan
10 NAHM, Bangkok, Thailand
11 MINGLES, Seoul, Korea
12 BURNT ENDS, Singapore
13 8 1/2 OTTO E MEZZO BOMBANA, Hong Kong, China
14 LE DU, Bangkok, Thailand
15 RAW, Taipei, Taiwan | Best Restaurant in Taiwan
16 TA VIE, Hong Kong, China
17 LA CIME, Osaka, Japan
18 MUME, Taipei, Taiwan
19 INDIAN ACCENT, New Delhi, India
20 L’EFFERVESCENCE, Tokyo, Japan
21 LOCAVORE, Bali, Indonesia
22 THE CHAIRMAN, Hong Kong, China
23 WAKU GHIN, Singapore
24 LUNG KING HEEN, Hong Kong, China
25 MINISTRY OF CRAB, Colombo, Sri Lanka
26 JUNGSIK, Seoul, Korea
27 SUSHI SAITO, Tokyo, Japan
28 IL RISTORANTE LUCA FANTIN, Tokyo, Japan
29 LES AMIS, Singapore
30 FU HE HUI, Shanghai, China
31 PASTE, Bangkok, Thailand
32 NEIGHBORHOOD, Hong Kong, China
33 EAT ME,Bangkok, Thailand
34 HAJIME, Osaka, Japan
35 JADE DRAGON, Macau, China
36 CORNER HOUSE, Singapore
37 BO.LAN, Bangkok, Thailand
38 QUINTESSENCE, Tokyo, Japan
39 ISSAYA SIAMESE CLUB, Bangkok, Thailand
40 Belon, Hong Kong
41 RONIN, Hong Kong, China
42 TOC TOC, Seoul, Korea
43 THE DINING ROOM AT THE HOUSE OF SATHORN, Bangkok, Thailand
44 JAAN, Singapore
45 NIHONBASHI, Colombo, Sri Lanka
46 CAPRICE, Hong Kong, China
47 SHOUN RYUGIN, Taipei, Taiwan
48 LA MAISON DE LA NATURE GOH, Fukuoka, Japan
49 WASABI BY MORIMOTO, Mumbai, India
50 WHITEGRASS, Singapore

You’ve probably read lots of reports on the lowdown, so I thought I’d write more about feelings and being the invisible other half in the industry.

Usually I am addressed as Mrs Chef, Wife of chef, Madame Chef, while it used to enrage me in my younger days when I was insecure and fiercely guarded about my own identity, I’ve transcended the insecurity of having to prove myself as one of us having to do so is enough hard work. The business world is lubricated by beneficial friendships, I’ve stopped taking things personally.

There are lots of opinions, criticism of the list/restaurants/chefs post awards floating about amidst the rave highs. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I’m in the camp of constructive feedback, encouragement, praise and solidarity. We’re all in this together.

The message from the chef speeches and talk can’t drive home the idea enough: One of chef family, community, mentorship, education, sharing in order to do better for greater good and celebrating each other’s successes. Food, after all is all about sharing, conversations and social community.

I spent most of this trip mingling with media folks and had the opportunity to listen to many awkward conversations from rave reviews to pompous bloggers being hyper critical making sweeping baseless judgements about restaurants and chefs. (Oh, here were a few who couldn’t tell lobster from crab, the usual ones you sit with at media tastings who can’t tell prosecco from champagne, coriander from parsley etc but claim food expert status with drool-worthy photos on Instagram). Oh dear. Unfortunately the new economy and reality. Social klout wields power.

It makes me incredibly sad that given how powerful social media is – the ignorance, negativity and judgement is cast on the hard work and effort of chefs and their teams. It perpetuates the endless cycle of viciousness that hurts people and the industry rather than support and uplift.

It’s so easy to sit behind a screen and type away criticism on a high horse. Nothing against qualified critics, they are far and few  in this day and age and revered in their craft.

I love Jay Rayner, he’s particularly entertaining and educates readers with breath and depth. I’m aware he also quit the World’s 50 best chair.

You really have to love your job to be a chef – I know I could never commit to the gruelling schedules of 14-16 hour work days, going back to work on your off day, having so many days off in lieu as you work all public holidays. On top of that, dealing with all types of customers. We all know the service industry is not easy. Managing costs, your team and in this day and age, pompous ignorant influencers that can make or break your business. And sometimes coming home to a cranky hangry wife too – many home cooked dinners gone cold or eating at midnight after service.

I salute all the fellow chef wives/husbands and wives/husbands of the wo/men in the industry out there. The late nights and limited quality time with your husbands/wives and having to play the bigger role of the present parent when you’re raising kids.

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