February 22, 2017
Congratulations to Chef Chele Gonzalez of Gallery Vask for winning the No. 35 spot and for Chef Gaggan Anand for winning the No.1 Best Restaurant in Asia for 3 years straight!
Here's a photo essay of the fifth Asia's 50 Best Awarding Ceremony (and the backstories)...
W Hotel & The House of Sathorn
The Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2017 sponsored by S. Pellegrino & Acqua Panna was held at the colonial House of Sathorn and W Hotel in Bangkok.
I love staying at the W Hotel because of its young, vibrant, and eclectic vibe. Check out this cool wall of lights when you go into the elevators.
The Wonderful Room is quite spacious with golden boxing gloves, super comfy bed, and genius lighting settings.
The working space is also big with a nice view of Bangkok buildings and super fast WiFi, ideal for location-independent entrepreneurs.
The open bathroom setup with bathtub, separate toilet and shower, and spacious configuration make you feel right at home.
The toilet amenities are something we look forward to with cool designs and formulation.
It has everything you need to be successful on your trip--from iron and ironing board, to comfy bathrobes, sufficient hangers, and security box.
The people were genuinely nice, quite responsive, and proactive enough to approach you and anticipate your needs.
The #50BestTalks are usually held one day before the Awards Ceremony. This year's theme is "Spice of Life".
Chef Bo Songvisava gave a live cooking demonstration on fish-sauce pickled mangrove crab simmered in coconut cream with pickled mussels relish.
May Chow, Asia's Best Female Chef 2017 shared how her life experiences of 10 years of partying and working at Bo Innovation and Yardbird, inspired her breakthrough with @littlebaohk.
Chef May showed us how to make her signature Sichuan Chicken Bao and talked about her secrets to success.
The key to @littlebaomay's success was the mentoring culture of the chefs in HK, her curiosity with different flavors by eating out often, and passion for building her young team to create the energy of the place.
I don't usually take fan photos, but we were so impressed with the food at Little Bao HK and even more impressed upon meeting Chef May personally and understanding her philosophy that I just had to.
Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Thailand’s Minister of Tourism, stressed the importance of culinary tourism both for traditional Thai food, Thai street food, and modern fine cuisine, because the Thais believe that they "are born to eat!"
Indeed, Thailand is the now considered the culinary hub in Asia. Rumor has it that the Michelin guide will be coming this November to Bangkok. :)
It's always fun to meet the most respected Food Writers in Asia, who are always invited to attend the #Asias50Best!
Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Award Ceremony
The ceremonies started with cocktail and a photo opportunity with the VIP guests and chefs at The House of Sathorn, which was romantically lit for the evening.
It's a like a meet and greet with all the best chefs and respected media personalities in Asia at the house's Garden Terrace.
Unlimited free flowing beer, wine, cocktails, and fine quality drinks were provided by San Pellegrino & Acqua Panna.
They cooked Pad Thai on the spot! We also got to enjoy delicious Thai street food while waiting for the official awards.
Eat-all-you-can oysters and seafood!
The winning chefs of the 50 Best Restaurants in Asia were honored with a red sash, but they didn't yet know what their ranking was at this point.
The cheese buffet was awesome!
I personally liked the Mekhong cocktails.
Awesome to meet Food & Travel Blogging friends based in Bangkok!
At around 8.00pm, we all made our way to the Great Room located on the 3rd floor of the W Hotel with these lovely foodies.
Watch this video summary of Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Awarding Night (Summarized in 15 Minutes)!
I loved the endearing speech of May Chow as she accepted the Asia's Best Female Chef 2017 Award.
The Gallery Vask team proudly waving the Philippine Flag for moving to 4 spots up--from the 39th to the 35th Best Restaurant in Asia!
Bali-based Locavore--the Best Restaurant in Indonesia--pleasantly surprised to be in the#22 spot, earning the Highest Climber Award this 2017.
(Note: They are coming to Manila to talk in Madrid Fusion)
This is one restaurant I would love to go to in Japan because of their renowned hospitality, earning them the inaugural The Art of Hospitality Award.
Everyone cried for Nariwasa, who dropped to No. 6, but is still the Best Restaurant in Japan for 5 years straight.
Amber is the 3rd Best Restaurant in Asia. Quite impressive given the competitive dining landscape in Hong Kong.
Most people wanted Chef Andre to win this year, but he did move up to the #2 spot!
Gaggan is still the Best Restaurant in Asia for 3 years straight now! Well-deserved win!
He confessed that it was a lot harder to win the third time around because he gave it all, even to the point of sacrificing precious time with the family.
I love the camaraderie of the chefs! It's like this brotherhood that they established over the last 5 years.
The Unofficial After Party Celebration
After the awards, everybody went to the unofficial street after party in Gaggan.
It was packed! Everyone was there to celebrate 3-time award winning Chef Gaggan!
Actually, the street food is much better here since he recruited the best street vendors in Bangkok to cater to the party.
Loved this Best Crispy Pork, which is like our lechon except that it's fried instead of roasted and served like lechon kawali.
Can't get enough of the freshly cooked Pad Thai!
Ended with dessert of Mango & Sticky Rice and Homemade Coconut Sorbet!
Asia's 50 Best Restaurants sponsored by San Pellegrino & Acqua Panna Official Press Release:
Gaggan crowned Best Restaurant in Asia at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017!
• Gaggan Anand’s eponymous Bangkok restaurant secures No.1 spot in annual ranking for third consecutive year
• 10 new entries on 2017 list, including four from Bangkok
• China, Japan, Singapore and Thailand each count nine restaurants
• Odette, Singapore, wins the Highest New Entry Award, sponsored by Mekhong
• Locavore, Bali, takes the Highest Climber Award, rising 27 places
• Japan’s Kazutoshi Narita is named Asia’s Best Pastry Chef
• Den, Tokyo, wins inaugural Art of Hospitality Award Asia
• Dave Pynt of Singapore’s Burnt Ends wins Chefs’ Choice Award, sponsored by Peroni
• Umberto Bombana is the 2017 recipient of the Diners Club® Lifetime Achievement Award
• May Chow of Little Bao is named Asia’s Best Female Chef 2017
• TocToc in Seoul, Korea, picks up the Miele One To Watch Award
Before an audience of the region’s most celebrated chefs, industry VIPs and international media, the list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, was announced at an awards ceremony at the W Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. The 2017 list welcomes 10 new entries, while China, Japan, Singapore and Thailand each count 9 restaurants on the list.
Gaggan in Bangkok claims the No.1 spot for a third consecutive year. Gaggan retains the dual titles of The Best Restaurant in Asia, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, and The Best Restaurant in Thailand, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna. Chef Gaggan Anand is renowned for his creative twists on Indian cuisine, reinventing traditional dishes through contemporary techniques. Also representing Thailand are familiar favourites Nahm (No.5), Issaya Siamese Club (No.21), Eat Me (No.31) and Bo.Lan (No.19), the latter making a welcome return to the list. 2017 marks the debut of four Bangkok restaurants: Sühring (No.13), The Dining Room at The House on Sathorn (No.36), Le Du (No.37) and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon Bangkok (No.40).
Individual Country Awards:
Rising one place to No.2, chef André Chiang’s Restaurant André retains the title of The Best Restaurant in Singapore, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna. Other Singapore entries in the top 20 include Burnt Ends (No.10), Les Amis (No.16) and Waku Ghin (No.20).
Amber (No.3) in Hong Kong is again named The Best Restaurant in China, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna. The seven Hong Kong restaurants in the 2017 list include longtime favourites, such as Lung King Heen (No.17) and The Chairman (No.47), as well as newcomer Ronin (No.45).
Narisawa (No.6), one of six Tokyo-based entries in the top 20, is named The Best Restaurant in Japan, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, for a fifth successive year. Florilège, the 2016 recipient of the One To Watch Award, debuts on the list at No.14.
Maintaining its No.15 ranking, Mingles in Seoul retains the title of The Best Restaurant in Korea while Gallery Vask (No.35) in Manila keeps The Best Restaurant in the Philippines honour. At No. 30, Indian Accent is awarded The Best Restaurant in India for the third time. The winners’ circle also includes RAW (No.24), winning The Best Restaurant in Taiwan title, Ministry of Crab in Colombo (No.29) securing honours as The Best Restaurant in Sri Lanka.
Other award winners announced include:
Highest New Entry Award, sponsored by Mekhong: Odette, Singapore
Launched in November 2015, chef-owner Julien Royer’s restaurant at the iconic National Gallery Singapore debuts at No.9, the highest new entry in the history of the list. Serving Asian-inspired modern French cuisine, each dish at Odette is presented with impeccable style and characteristic perfection.
Asia’s Best Pastry Chef: Kazutoshi Narita, Tokyo
Japanese chef Kazutoshi Narita began his career alongside the ‘Picasso of Pastries’ Pierre Hermé - currently The World’s Best Pastry Chef Award holder - before honing his skills at Joël Robuchon restaurants in New York, Las Vegas and Tokyo. At Esquisse and the recently opened Esquisse Cinq, both in Tokyo, the award-winning pastry specialist combines the delicate artistry of Japanese cuisine with the nuances and creative flair of French pâtisserie.
Chefs’ Choice Award, sponsored by Peroni: Dave Pynt, Singapore
An apprenticeship at Asador Etxebarri in Spain helped spark Australian-born Dave Pynt’s passion for playing with fire. Since 2013, Pynt has been turning up the heat at Burnt Ends, a gourmet barbecue restaurant in Singapore. Pynt’s mastery of various cooking techniques – from smoking and slow roasting to grilling – has earned him the respect of his regional peers. Burnt Ends debuted on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2015 at No.30 and this year Pynt is the recipient of the Chefs’ Choice Award, sponsored by Peroni.
The Art of Hospitality: Den, Tokyo
Rising 26 places to No.11, Den delights in surprising and entertaining its guests, making it a worthy recipient of the inaugural Art of Hospitality Award in Asia. The approach is playful, personable and inventive, reflecting the personality of Den’s chef-owner, Zaiyu Hasegawa.
Highest Climber Award: Locavore, Bali
Celebrating Balinese culture and using only sustainably sourced local ingredients, Locavore rises 27 places to No.22, earning the title of The Best Restaurant in Indonesia.
Other award honourees include chef-restaurateur May Chow of Little Bao in Hong Kong and Bangkok, who is named Asia’s Best Female Chef 2017. TocToc in Seoul earns the Miele One To Watch Award for its creative use of seasonal Korean ingredients and refined French-influenced menu. Celebrated Italian chef Umberto Bombana of 8 1⁄2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana is this year’s recipient of the Diners Club® Lifetime Achievement Award.
William Drew, Group Editor of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, said: “Each year the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list welcomes a host of new entries and 2017 is no exception. In its fifth year, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants is proud to showcase the region’s diverse cuisines, introduce gourmets to innovative dining concepts and celebrate Asia’s emerging talent at our events in Thailand. All 50 restaurants on the 2017 list, along with the individual award winners, strive for excellence and we are thrilled to honour this exceptional community of culinary innovators.”
How Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list is compiled
The list is created from the votes of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of over 300 leaders in the restaurant industry across Asia, each selected for their expert opinion of Asia’s restaurant scene. The panel in each region is made up of food writers and critics, chefs, restaurateurs and highly regarded ‘gastronomes’. Members list their choices in order of preference, based on their best restaurant experiences of the previous 18 months. There is no pre-determined check-list of criteria, but there are strict voting rules.
For the 2017 edition, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants is once again working with professional services consultancy Deloitte as its official independent adjudication partner. The adjudication by Deloitte ensures that the integrity and authenticity of the voting process and the resulting list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants are protected.
Live an Awesome Life,
Disclosure: I paid for my own trip and hotel to attend the Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Awards. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.
P.S. All the Asia's Best Female Chefs will be in Manila for the UNICEF Children's Ball this coming March 4 at Manila Peninsula!
P.P.S. May Chow is also coming as a VIP guest but will not cook during the event.