Monday, 24 February 2014

Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2014 - The Full List (and Risers and Fallers)

It is that time of the year again when some restaurateurs and chefs in Asia hold their breath, and others feign indifference.  Regardless of one's views of the system, all crave its recognition, if only for the undoubted financial benefits which a listing bestows.

Anyway, I am at the Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2014 Awards Ceremony, being hosted this year at the beautiful Capella Singapore, Sentosa.  I generally can't be arsed crossing the bridge to Sentosa (it's a psychological thing), but an invitation of this ilk is anything but general, coming as it does but once a year assuming I haven't been naughty in the last 12 months.

Over a glass of Hugel Gentil, I was ruminating over whether the word "winner" was appropriate.  Just because you are on the list does not make you a winner (although if you are a Malaysian restaurant, it probably does!).  This is all about maintaining, and if at all possible, improving one's position.  Andre will be looking to maintain its dominance in Singapore, and I am sure that Les Amis, with the very talented team of Sebastien Lepinoy and Cheryl Koh now running the show, will be looking to recover from last year's decline while it was in caretaker mode.

Enough hot air from me, below is the full list of Asia's 50 Best Restaurants:

Asia's 50 Best Restaurants (2013 Ranking and Individual Awards in Brackets)

50 - Tenku Ryugin, HK, China (New Entry; The One to Watch)
49 - Karavalli, Bangalore, India (44; down 5)
48 - Franck, Shanghai, China (34; down 14)
47 - Sarong, Bali, Indonesia (Best Restaurant in Indonesia; New Entry)
46 - Family Li Imperial Cuisine, Shanghai, China (New Entry)
45 - Yardbird, HK, China (46; up 1)
44 - Nihonbashi, Colombo, Sri Lanka (Best Restaurant in Sri Lanka; 38; down 6)
43 - Sushi Saito, Tokyo, Japan (39; down 4)
42 - Hajime, Osaka, Japan (21; down 21)
41 - Sawada, Tokyo, Japan (New Entry)
40 - Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck, Singapore (49; up 9)
39 - Robuchon au Dome, Macau, China (37; down 2)
38 - Sukiyabashi Jiro, Tokyo, Japan (New Entry)
37 - Eat Me, Bangkok, Thailand (19; down 18)
36 - Wasabi by Morimoto, Mumbai, India (20, down 16)
35 - Shinji by Kanesaka, Singapore (32; down 3)
34 - Takazawa, Tokyo, Japan (31; down 3)
33 - 28 Hubin Road, Hangzhou, China (25; down 8)
32 - Varq, New Delhi, India (30; down 2)
31 - Issaya Siamese Club, Bangkok, Thailand (New Entry)
30 - Dum Pukht, New Delhi, India (17; down 13)
29 - Indian Accent, New Delhi, India (41; up 12)
28 - bo.lan, Bangkok, Thailand (36; up 8)
27 - Bukhara, New Delhi, India (Best Restaurant in India.  26; down 1)
26 - Fu 1015, Shanghai, China (40; up 15)
25 - L'Effervescence, Tokyo, Japan (New Entry)
24 - Le Moût, Taichung City, Taiwan (Best Restaurant in Taiwan. New Entry)
23 - Tippling Club, Singapore (New Entry)
22 - Quintessence, Tokyo, Japan (16; down 6)
21 - Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin, Bangkok, Thailand (29; up 8)
20 - Jungsik, Seoul, South Korea (Best Restaurant in South Korea; Highest New Entry)
19 - Fook Lam Moon, HK, China (48; up 29)
18 - L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, HK, China (23, up 5)
17 - Jaan, Singapore (22; up 5)
16 - Ishikawa, Tokyo, Japan (42; up 26)
15 - Bo Innovation, HK, China (15; unchanged)
14 - Les Amis, Singapore (14; unchanged)
13 - Caprice, HK, China (12; down 1)
12 - Iggy's Singapore (9; down 3)
11 - Mr and Mrs Bund, Shanghai, China (7; down 3)
10 - Otto e Mezzo Bombana, HK, China (6; down 4)
9 - Lung King Heen, HK, China (13; up 4)
8 - Ultraviolet, Shanghai, China (8; unchanged)
7 - Waku Ghin, Singapore (11; up 4)
6 - Restaurant André, Singapore (Best Restaurant in Singapore.  5; down 1)
5 - Nihonryori Ryugin, Tokyo, Japan (2; down 3)
4 - Amber, HK, China (Best Restaurant in China. 4; unchanged)
3 - Gaggan, Bangkok, Thailand (10; up 7)
2 - Narisawa, Tokyo, Japan (Best Restaurant in Japan. 1; down 1)
1 - Nahm, Bangkok, Thailand (Best Restaurant in Thailand. Best Restaurant in Asia. 3; up 2)

Individual Awards

Asia's Best Pastry Chef - Janice Wong, 2am Dessert Bar, Singapore (second consecutive win, bravo Janice!)
Lifetime Achievement Award - Ivan Li, Family Li Imperial Cuisine, China
Asia's Best Female Chef - Lanshu Chen, Le Moût Restaurant, Taichung City, Taiwan (24)
Chef's Choice - André Chiang, Restaurant André, Singapore
The One to Watch - Tenku Ryugin, HK, China
Highest Climber - Fook Lam Moon, HK, China (2014 rank 19; up 29 spots) 

Highest New Entry - Jungsik, Seoul, South Korea (20)

Unofficial Awards to complete the Statistical Analysis (sponsored by this blog)

Biggest Dropper  (still on list) - Hajime, Osaka, Japan (2014 rank 42; down 21 spots)

2014 Casualties (dropped off list; 2013 rank in brackets):

Mozaic, Bali, Indonesia (50; Best Restaurant in Indonesia 2013); 
Don's, Hanoi, Vietnam (47; Best Restaurant in Vietnam); 
Jade on 36,  Shanghai, China (45)
Gunther's, Singapore (43)
Osteria Mozza, Singapore (35)
Kahala, Osaka, Japan (33)
Indigo, Mumbai, India (28)
Sushi Mizutani, Tokyo, Japan (27)
L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Singapore (24)
The Chairman, HK, China (18, and the Biggest Casualty)

You may not like the system, you may not like the people who run it, you may not like the results.  But as I have said previously, the point of lists such as these are to trigger debate and introspection, and I am happy to have done my bit in creating the list for 2014.

My personal view on the list?  "Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos".


  1. So many from Singapore and Thailand, yet none from Malaysia? Thanks for posting. Plenty to eat at these best restaurants in Asia.

  2. Just Wondering : though i feel some on the lists are questionable .. especially Bo Innovation, my opinion as a malaysian .. no restaurant from msia deserves to be there.

    Julian - if it was only your choice - who would have been in the top 10 ?

    1. Hi cyberK13 and "Just Wondering",

      Completely agree with you that no Malaysian restaurant deserves to be there.

      Good question re my top 10. I cast only seven votes in total, so I haven't thought about a "top 10" as such. I have heard great and less great things about most of the restaurants on the list and don't want to impugn the official Top 10 as they have all, without exception, worked extremely hard to win this distinction.

      Bo won three Michelin stars this year for the first time, so maybe Alvin's stepped up his game. I haven't been, so won't comment further :)

  3. Love your take on things as always Julian. Thanks for the concise list too.

  4. Thanks for the kind feedback, Victoria, it's always a pleasure to see you here!