Header image: Danny Yip, founder of The Chairman
Moved to a virtual ceremony for the second year (thanks, COVID), the results of the ninth edition of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list have been unveiled – and we have a lot to celebrate here in Hong Kong.
Topping the list for the first time is our very own Cantonese superstar The Chairman, taking the prize from Singapore’s Odette – named The Best Restaurant in Singapore and an impressive number 2 on the overall list – which previously held the top spot for two years in a row.
The Chairman – also winning joint honours of The Best Restaurant in Asia and The Best Restaurant in China – was opened in 2009 by low-profile food connoisseur Danny Yip. The kitchen is overseen by Chef Kwok Keung Tung, who is most famous for his exquisite steamed flowery crab dish. We’re giving ourselves a big pat on the back right now for recognising The Chariman back in 2013 with our Foodie Forks Editors’ Choice Legendary Local Food award. Discovering talent is what Foodie does best!
With 11 entries on the list this year, Hong Kong is at the pinnacle of the country leaderboard. In addition to The Chairman, winning HK restaurants include VEA (16) – also swooping the Gin Mare Art of Hospitality Award – Neighborhood (17), BELON (25), Caprice (28), 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana (33), Amber (37), Ta Vie (38), MONO (44), Lung King Heen (47) and Seventh Son (48).
Hong Kong can also be proud of the winner of Asia’s Best Female Chef 2021 – DeAille Tam of Obscura Shanghai – who was born in the 852 and cut her culinary chops working for acclaimed local chef Alvin Leung of Bo Innovation.
New this year, Asia’s 50 Best unveiled its Essence of Asia list, an unranked collection of restaurants that represents the spirit of Asian gastronomy, providing a well-needed boost to the hard-hit F&B industry. Hong Kong boasts six restaurants on this inspiring list: beloved cha chaan teng Australia Dairy Company, social enterprise and Singaporean eatery Dignity Kitchen, beef-brisket noodle specialist Kau Kee, Pei Ho Counterparts – a food charity founded by Foodie Forks 2016 Food Hero Ming Gor to serve the elderly, disabled and homeless communities – modern Cantonese–French eatery Roots and Yin Yang Coastal, which offers beachfront, farm-to-table cuisine inspired by local fishing villages.
In another first, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants announced the list of restaurants ranked from 51–100 in order to recognise and support a greater number of venues. On this portion of the list, HK’s own ÉCRITURE comes in at number 87 – congrats to Chef Maxime Gilbert for his stunning French-Japanese creations.
Outside Hong Kong
Japan follows closely behind Hong Kong with nine restaurants on the top 50 list. Tokyo’s Den (3) wins the title of The Best Restaurant in Japan for a fourth successive year. L’Effervescence (19), also in Tokyo, claims the Beronia Highest Climber Award, rising 29 places.
In Singapore, Meta is the recipient of the American Express One to Watch Award – a restaurant not on the top 50 list, but a rising star in the region – and Labyrinth (40) wins the Flor de Caña Sustainable Restaurant Award.
Le Du (4) in Bangkok has been named The Best Restaurant in Thailand for the first time. Supinya “Jay Fai” Junsuta – a queen amongst Thai street-food chefs, most famous for her crab omelette – is this year’s recipient of the Icon Award. The Highest New Entry Award goes to Gaggan Anand in Bangkok, coming in with a bang at number 5. Notably, two years ago, Chef Anand closed his Gaggan 1.0 – which was voted number 1 in Asia's 50 Best Restaurants a record four times – so this new namesake restaurant has already made a dramatic rise to fame. Watch this space next year!
Mingles (10) in Seoul has been named The Best Restaurant in Korea for the sixth consecutive year, with Chef Mingoo Kang honoured with the Inedit Damm Chefs’ Choice Award, voted for by his fellow chefs on the list. Chef Kang opened his first overseas restaurant, Hansik Goo, here in Hong Kong last summer.
In other country awards, Ministry of Crab (29) in Colombo retains the title of The Best Restaurant in Sri Lanka, Indian Accent (18) in New Delhi is The Best Restaurant in India for an amazing seven years in a row and Manila’s Toyo Eatery (49) wins the title of The Best Restaurant in the Philippines for the third year. Taipei’s MUME (15) clinches the title of The Best Restaurant in Taiwan for three years in a row, and the city is also home to Asia’s Best Pastry Chef 2021, Angela Lai of Taïrroir.
We’re especially excited to hear that Anan Saigon (39) in Ho Chi Minh City has been named The Best Restaurant in Vietnam. Anan Saigon was opened by Chef Peter Cuong Franklin, who also founded Chôm Chôm here in the 852, and he’s a chef who has been near and dear to our hearts for many years now, taking home our Foodie Forks Chef of the Year award in 2014.
Asia’s top 10 restaurants 2021
1. The Chairman (Hong Kong)
2. Odette (Singapore)
3. Den (Tokyo)
4. Le Du (Bangkok)
5. Gaggan Anand (Bangkok)
6. Sühring (Bangkok)
7. Florilège (Toyko)
8. La Cime (Osaka)
9. Narisawa (Tokyo)
10. Mingles (Seoul)
Hong Kong restaurants in the top 50
1. The Chairman
33. 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana
38. Ta Vie
47. Lung King Heen
48. Seventh Son
Click here for the complete list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021.
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