It’s a difficult time for the restaurant industry, as lockdowns around the world prevent people from dining out in the way they usually would.
But perhaps there’s no better moment to celebrate the best-of-the-best in the hospitality world – and add some must-visit foodie spots to our future travel lists.
Asia’s 50 best restaurants were announced Tuesday – a planned ceremony was abandoned in favor of a safer, virtual event that was live-streamed across the region.
The Oscars of fine dining in Asia saw swanky Singaporean restaurant Odette clinch the top spot for the second year running.
Headed up by chef Julien Royer, Odette, located in Singapore’s National Gallery, won plaudits for its Asian-inspired modern French cuisine.
“We take this ray of light with gratitude,” Royer said in a statement posted to the restaurant’s Instagram page.
“Our hearts are with our peers in the industry who are working tirelessly everyday to continue serving. We pray for better times ahead and will continue to do all we can to look out for one another.”
Unlike several of the restaurants on the list, Odette’s currently still open – although there are temperature screenings and travel declaration checks taking place at entrances to the National Gallery.
The restaurant is famed for signature dishes like Normandy brown crab with wasabi oil and Nashi pear, and a Kampot pepper-crusted pigeon.
Japan, meanwhile, was the best represented Asian country on the 50 Best list – with 12 foodie spots making appearances.
The highest ranking was Den, the brainchild of chef Zaiyu Hasegawa, at number three.
Other Tokyo-based restaurants in the top 10 include Florilèdge (seven), which highlights creative French cooking, and Narisawa (nine), which offers original Japanese cuisine.
The Japanese capital has recently been grappling with the decision on whether to postpone the 2020 Olympic Games, due to take place in Tokyo this summer. A decision was reached on Tuesday to postpone the Games by one year.
On Monday, Tokyo’s governor warned residents that a lockdown of the city was a possibility if coronavirus cases continued to rise.
André Chiang’s new restaurant, Sichuan Moon located in the Wynn Palace resort in Macau, claimed the Highest New Entry Award, debuting at number 23 on the list.
Chiang made headlines back in 2017 when he made the decision to shut down his eponymous Restaurant Andre, and requested to return the restaurant’s two Michelin stars.
Sichuan Moon has won rave reviews since it opened last year – and was awarded two Michelin stars.
It’s currently closed, but it’s still worth scrolling through its pictures on social media and dreaming about future meals.
Another notable entry is number 16 – Sorn. The Bangkok restaurant claims the Highest Climber Award and was praised for its take on the cuisine of Southern Thailand.
The restaurant announced yesterday it is closed for the time being.
The accolade for sustainable restaurant was awarded to Amber, located in the Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong, which came in at number 31 overall.
Every dish served up at Amber is dairy and gluten free, and every meal puts sustainability at the forefront.
The best restaurant list is put together by compiling votes from the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, which is comprised of over 300 leaders in the restaurant industry across Asia.
This panel includes food writers and critics, restauranteurs and chefs.
Individual chefs were also awarded – Yusuke Takada, from La Cime in Osaka, Japan won the Inedit Damm Chefs’ Choice Award.
Natsuko Shoji, from Été in Tokyo was named Asia’s Best Pastry Chef.
“I feel so honored to be the first Japanese female chef in Asia’s 50 Best,” she wrote on her Instagram page.
Cho Hee-Sook, the chef-owner of Seoul’s Hansikgonggan, was named Asia’s Best Female Chef 2020 and Yoshihiro Murata won the 2020 American Express Icon Award.
“We are, of course, experiencing unprecedented times both in the restaurant sector and across Asia as a whole,” said William Drew, director of content for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, in a statement.
“It is therefore more important than ever to support restaurants all over the continent in their recovery, to recognize each other’s achievements over the last 12 months and broadcast a message of solidarity.
Here’s the full list of winners for 2020:
1. Odette, Singapore
2. The Chairman, Hong Kong
3. Den, Tokyo
4. Belon, Hong Kong
5. Burnt Ends, Singapore
6. Sühring, Bangkok
7. Florilège, Tokyo
8. Le Du, Bangkok
9. Narisawa, Tokyo
10. La Cime, Osaka
11. Les Amis, Singapore
12. Vea, Hong Kong
13. Indian Accent, New Delhi
14. Mingles, Seoul
15. Gaa, Bangkok
16. Sorn, Bangkok
17. Il Ristorante Luca Fantin, Toyo
18. Mume, Taipei
19. Neighborhood, Hong Kong
20. Fu He Hui, Shanghai
21. Jaan by Kirk Westaway, Singapore
22. Wing Lei Palace, Macau
23. Sichuan Moon, Macau
24. Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo
25. Seventh Son, Hong Kong
26. JL Studio, Taichung
27. TocToc, Seoul
28. Zén, Singapore
29. Sazenka, Tokyo
30. Ministry of Crab, Colombo
31. Amber, Hong Kong
32. 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana, Hong Kong
33. Lung King Heen, Hong Kong
34. Hansikgonggan, Seoul
35. Ode, Tokyo
36. Raw, Taipei
37. Locavore, Bali
38. Paste, Bangkok
39. Bo.Lan, Bangkok
40. La Maison de la Nature Goh, Fukuoka
41. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, Shanghai
42. Corner House, Singapore
43. Shoun RyuGin, Taipei
44. Toyo Eatery, Manila
45. Bukhara, New Delhi
46. Sushi Saito, Tokyo
47. 80/20, Bangkok
48. L’Effervescence, Tokyo
49. Inua, Tokyo
50. Nouri, Singapore