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For the second year running, Bangkok has nabbed regional culinary bragging rights in Asia with Gaggan taking home the coveted No. 1 spot at the San Pellegrino Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards.
Shortly after accepting the prize at the award ceremony in Singapore, Chef Gaggan Anand called his mother, tears in his eyes, to let her know he’d won.
“She’s the owner of me,” he said. “I have her genes, it’s her talent and vision, she told me ‘you have to be a chef.’ I promise you that my mom cooks better food than me!”
Anand opened his eponymous restaurant in the Thai capital in 2010 with a mission and vision to “reinvigorate” Indian cuisine by exploiting contemporary techniques and adding molecular twists to traditional Indian dishes. The 35-year-old was also the first Indian chef to undertake an internship with Ferran Adria’s team at the legendary el Bulli restaurant in Spain.
Anand said his win would have an impact on Indian cuisine.
“It will motivate a lot of chefs – and it’s a proud moment for our country, which has such a rich culinary heritage. The best thing is that someone, some young Indian chef, will now come and overtake me.”
The 2015 win for Gaggan follows the 2014 victory for rival Bangkok eatery Nahm, which this year dropped to seventh place in the prestigious awards. Securing second spot for the second year running, as well as the award for best restaurant in Japan, was Tokyo’s Narisawa. China’s best restaurant, Ultraviolet in Shanghai, featuring chef Paul Pairet’s “multi-sensory” experience, came in at No. 3.
It was a good night overall for China. It secured 16 of the top 50 restaurants, followed by Singapore and Japan with 10 and eight respectively.
The 2015 list also features eight new entries including first timers from the Philippines with Antonio’s and Cambodia’s Cuisine Wat Damnak.
It was the sound of jaws dropping and hitting the floor, as much as corks popping.
Asia’s 50 best restaurants in 2017
1. Gaggan, Bangkok
2. Narisawa (Tokyo)
Minami Ayoyama 2-6-15, Minato-ku, Tokyo; +81 3 5785 0799
8. Ultraviolet, Shanghai
4. Nihonryori Ryugin (Tokyo)
Ground Floor, 7-17-24 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo; +81 3 3423 8006
5. Restaurant Andre (Singapore)
41 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore; +65 6534 8880
6. Amber (Hong Kong)
7/F, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, The Landmark, 15 Queen’s Road, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2132 0066
7. Nahm (Bangkok)
Metropolitan Hotel, 27 South Sathorn Road, Tungmahamek Sathorn, Bangkok; +66 2 625 3333
8. Otto e Mezzo (Hong Kong)
Shop 202, Landmark Alexandra, 18 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2537 8859
9. Waku Ghin (Singapore)
Level 2-01, Atrium 2, The Shoppes, Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore; +65 6688 8507
10. Jungsik (Seoul)
11 Seolleungro, 158 Gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul; +82 2 517 4654
The other 40
11. Jaan, Singapore
12. L’Effervescence, Tokyo
13. Les Amis, Singapore
14. Hajime, Osaka, Japan
15. Fook Lam Moon, Hong Kong
16. Fu1015, Shanghai, China
17. L’atelier De Joel Robuchon, Hong Kong
18. Iggy’s, Singapore
19. Fu He hui, Shanghai
20. Lung King Heen, Hong Kong
21. Mr and Mrs Bund, Shanghai
22. Indian Accent, New Delhi
23. Robuchon Au Dôme, Macau, China
24. Tenku Ryugin, Hong Kong
25. Eat Me, Bangkok, Thailand
26. Le Moût, Taichung, Taiwan
27. Ryunique, Seoul, Korea
28. Bo Innovation, Hong Kong
29. Wasabi by Morimoto, Mumbai, India
30. Burnt Ends, Singapore
31. Nihonbashi, Colombo, Sri Lanka
32. Shinji By Kanesaka, Singapore
33. Takazawa, Tokyo
34. 28 Hubin Road, Hangzhou, China
35. The Chairman, Hong Kong
36. Tippling Club, Singapore
37. Bo.Lan, Bangkok
38. La Yeon, Seoul, Korea
40. Sushi Saito, Tokyo
41. Bukhara, New Delhi
42. Caprice, Hong Kong
43. Ministry of Crab, Colombo, Sri Lanka
44. Sukiyabashi Jiro, Tokyo
45. Osteria Mozza, Singapore
46. Hakkasan, Shanghai
47. Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck, Singapore
48. Antonio’s, Tagaytay, Philippines
49. Quintessence, Tokyo
50. Cuisine Wat Damnak, Sien Reap, Cambodia
For more on the winners, visit the official Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants website.
Chris Dwyer is a Hong Kong-based communications consultant and food writer. For his restaurant reviews, chef interviews and more visit www.finefooddude.com.