Thu, Apr 11, 2019 - Page 13 News List

Taipei restaurants receive Michelin stars

The second Michelin Guide to Taipei awarded stars to 24 restaurants and recognized culinary excellence in the city’s street food stalls

By Davina Tham  /  Staff reporter

A dish served at Mountain and Sea House, a restaurant that earned a star from this year’s Michelin guide on Taipei.

Photo: Ling Mei-hsueh, Taipei Times

The French Michelin Guide yesterday awarded stars to 24 establishments in its second restaurant guide to Taipei.

“Our inspectors were not only impressed by the standard of local Taiwanese cuisine, but also by the global influences being imported by the very talented and innovative local chefs, which together will no doubt entice food lovers from around the world,” said Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the Michelin Guides.

Establishments like Tairroir (態芮) and Raw, prominent names that each received a star last year for thoughtful modern treatments of Taiwanese ingredients, embody that attitude. Both restaurants rose to earn two stars in this year’s guide.

The name Tairroir — a portmanteau of “Taiwan” and “terroir” — is an artist’s statement by chef Kai Ho (何順凱). Speaking after the ceremony yesterday morning, Ho said that his intention went beyond using indigenous ingredients, to give diners an immersive experience in Taiwanese culture and history.

Raw, opened by renowned chef Andre Chiang (江振誠) in 2014, is already one of the city’s most in-demand reservations. Chiang’s decision to shutter his eponymous two-star restaurant in Singapore last year and return to train a new generation of Taiwanese chefs was regarded as a boon for the country’s culinary scene.

Chef Alain Huang (黃以倫) said that Raw, which treats local ingredients with French techniques, had taken the last year to embark on “deeper research” into Taiwanese produce and culture. But the win still came as a surprise.

Also among the new one-star recipients is Mountain and Sea House (山海樓), which serves meticulously-researched banquet-style dishes honoring Taiwan’s culinary heritage. Chef Tsai Jui-lang (蔡瑞郎) acknowledged the hard work of colleagues who scour the island in search of native species of ingredients, allowing his kitchen to revive authentic versions of Taiwanese dishes from early 20th-century recipe archives.

Two young restaurants that opened just last year also received one star each at yesterday’s ceremony — Logy, which Hokkaido-born chef Ryogo Tahara said aspires to bring French and Italian inflections to Asian cuisine; and Impromptu by Paul Lee, which offers casual fine-dining for an international palate.

One new entrant immediately received two stars on its first outing with the Michelin Guide. Sushi Amamoto is a 12-seat sushi bar offering a 20-course chef’s choice menu, with seasonal fish flown in from Kyushu and Tokyo.

Cantonese restaurant Le Palais (頤宮) at the Palais de Chine Hotel remains Taipei’s only three-star Michelin establishment.

Reactions by recipients ranged from delight to near nonchalance, with many admitting that they could not take the day off to celebrate as they had full houses of reservations to honor.

“The pressure starts tomorrow,” Ho said, acknowleding the high scrutiny and expectations that Michelin honorees receive.

STREET FOOD CAPITAL

Earlier, Michelin also named 58 eateries, including 25 new entrants, in its more affordable Bib Gourmand selection. To qualify for the Bib Gourmand, an eatery must offer a three-course meal not exceeding NT$1,000 (roughly US$32).

Gongguan (公館), Yansan (延三) and Huaxi Street (華西街) night markets made their debut on the list, which already recognizes Shilin (士林), Ningxia (寧夏), Raohe (饒河), Nanjichang (南機場) and Linjiang (臨江) night markets.

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