On Tuesday evening in Macao, some of the most influential, innovative and masterful chefs from across Japan, South Korea, Singapore, China, India, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines, gathered to hear who among them would take the top spots on the annual restaurant ranking.
As the countdown continued with the conspicuous absence of chef Gaggan Anand’s name, it became clear that the group’s favorite chef had secured his title against the competition.
Aside from Gaggan, the city of Tokyo also emerged a big winner this year, landing four spots on the top 10 list, and 11 restaurants on the ranking overall.
Rounding out the podium are Den and Florilège, both in Tokyo.
Organizers credit Anand’s “fertile imagination” and “culinary wit” for endearing him to the judges again this year.
At Gaggan, which serves progressive Indian cuisine, the 25-course menu is written entirely in emojis, setting the tone for the rest of the meal: playful and modern.
One of Anand’s signature dishes, “Lick it up,” for instance, is an amusing take on the Kiss song of the same name and is meant to be licked directly from the plate. Layers of green peas, fenugreek mushroom and tomato are placed in exactly the same spots on the tongue’s taste receptors.
The ranking is based on the votes of 300 food writers, critics, chefs, restaurateurs, and “gastronomes” in the region.
Other big winners of the night include chef Yoshihiro Narisawa, who took home the Chefs’ Choice Award; Nicolas Lambert from Caprice in Hong Kong who was named Asia’s Best Pastry Chef; and Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet in Shanghai for the Art of Hospitality Award.
Chef André Chiang accepted his Lifetime Achievement Award and Bee Satongun of Paste in Bangkok also accepted her award for Asia’s Best Female Chef, both of which were previously announced ahead of the event.
The full list: Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018
1. Gaggan, Bangkok
2. Den, Tokyo
3. Florilège, Tokyo
4. Suhring, Bangkok
5. Odette, Singapore
(Related: Julien Royer tells all about Odette)
7. Amber, Hong Kong
8. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, Shanghai
9. Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo
10. Nahm, Bangkok
11. Mingles, Seoul
12. Burnt Ends, Singapore
13. 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo, Hong Kong
14. Le Du, Bangkok
15. RAW, Taipei
16. Ta Vie, Hong Kong
17. La Cime, Osaka, Japan
18. Mume, Taipei
19. Indian Accent, India
20. L’Effervescence, Tokyo
21. Locavore, Bali
22. The Chairman, Hong Kong
23. Waku Ghin, Singapore
25. Ministry of Crab, Sri Lanka
26. Jungsik, Seoul
27. Sushi Saito, Tokyo
28. Il Ristorante — Luca Fantin, Tokyo
29. Les Amis, Singapore
30. Fu He Hui, Shanghai
31. Paste, Bangkok
32. Neighborhood, Hong Kong
33. Eat Me, Bangkok
34. Hajime, Osaka
35. Jade Dragon, Macau
36. Corner House, Singapore
37. Bo.lan, Bangkok
38. Quintessence, Tokyo
39. Issaya Siamese Club, Bangkok
40. Belon, Hong Kong
41. Ronin, Hong Kong
42. TocToc, Seoul (new entry)
43. The Dining Room at the House on Sathorn, Bangkok
44. Jaan, Singapore
45. Nihonbashi, Sri Lanka
46. Caprice, Hong Kong
47. Shoun Ryugin, Taipei (new entry)
48. La Maison de La Nature Goh, Japan
49. Wasabi By Morimoto, Mumbai, India
50. Whitegrass, Singapore