The Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants revealed its annual list Friday through a virtual ceremony streamed live for the second consecutive year.
This annual list of best restaurants in Asia is compiled based on anonymous voting by around 300 individuals that comprise the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of food cognoscenti made up of regional culinary experts, chefs and restaurateurs, food writers and critics.
To come out with this year’s list, voting was adjusted to consider the effects of ongoing travel restrictions, shifting the focus somewhat to more local dining experiences versus dining destinations. The voting period covered restaurant experiences from July 2019 through January 2021, thus including a pre-pandemic period when travel was still viable, as well as the months in 2020 when only local dining was possible.
Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants for the first time also announced its 51-100 list a few days before the main event, an extended list that aims to put the spotlight on a bigger selection of noteworthy restaurants across Asia. It will hopefully also inspire foodies to explore and therefore also support more restaurants once we can all safely travel again.
Hong Kong dominated this year’s list with 11 restaurants that includes the newly crowned Best Restaurant in Asia and Best Restaurant in China – The Chairman. The Chairman’s ascent to the top marks the first time that a Chinese restaurant has topped an Asia’s 50 Best list since it was launched in 2013. It is also the first time that a restaurant from Hong Kong is honored with the number 1 spot. Definitely a proud moment for the modern Cantonese eatery’s creator Danny Yip and chef Kwok Keung Tung who established the ingredients-driven restaurant in 2009.
Last year’s winner Odette, The Best Restaurant in Singapore, and a perennial favorite to win the awards again this year, slides to a still impressive number 2 spot after a two year reign on the top spot. Meanwhile, Japan’s Den is able to keep its number 3 slot.
Thailand finished strong with two top 5 entries, namely Chef Ton Tassanakajohn’s (who co-owns Samyan Thai Street Food at The Grid in Rockwell’s Powerplant) Le Du bagging number 4 and chef Gaggan Anand’s namesake restaurant ‘Gaggan Anand’.
The 2021 list highlights a total of 11 new entries, which includes a new restaurant in Vietnam, a country last represented on the list in 2013, and one of my favorite new restaurants in Singapore, Sri Lankan chef Rishi Naleendra’s Cloudstreet—definitely one of the best new restaurants to open in Asia in 2019.
Our very own Toyo Eatery (at no. 49 this year) gets to keep the honor of being The Best Restaurant in the Philippines for the third year in a row. But, thanks to the newly-launched ‘51-100 list’, it is now joined by two more top restaurants from the Philippines. Tonyboy Escalante’s Antonio’s got the 84th spot. It holds the honor of being the first restaurant from the Philippines to be included on the Asia’s 50 Best list back in 2014 and also in 2015. Chele Gonzalez’s Gallery by Chele landed at number 90. Chef Chele Gonzalez’s former restaurant Gallery Vask was also included on the Best 50 list in 2016 and 2017.