Din Tai Fung tops The Daily Meal’s poll for Asia

Reuters, TOKYO

Fri, May 17, 2013 - Page 3

A Taiwanese eatery famed for its dumplings was crowned Asia’s best restaurant, while restaurants in Beijing claimed the lion’s share of spots in the top 10 of a new survey of the food-obsessed region’s best dining.

Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) in Taipei was ranked No. 1 in the inaugural “101 Best Restaurants in Asia” list, released yesterday by US-based food Web site The Daily Meal, which conducts similar polls in the US and Europe.

“Ultimately we chose ... a place best-known for doing one thing absolutely perfectly,” said Colman Andrews, editorial director of The Daily Meal, adding that they were aware that their choosing the restaurant, which has spun off into an international chain, would be controversial.

Half of the top 10 restaurants were in Beijing, with Duck de Chine — noted for its Peking duck — in second place and the Chinese-style nouvelle cuisine Green T. House in third.

“Our feeling is that Shanghai has had a good reputation as a restaurant city for some time, due both to a strong regional cuisine and the early incursions of Western celebrity chefs ... but that Beijing is definitely catching up,” Andrews said. “It’s an imperfect analogy, but in a way the culinary contrast between the two mirrors that between New York City and Washington DC. The former is more famous as a food city, but Washington increasingly offers serious competition — usually just with a little less fanfare.”

Food critics, writers and long-term foreign residents in Asia, among others, voted on a list of restaurants pulled together over a six-month nomination period — considering cuisine, style, value and overall buzz — to select the top 101.

Beijing’s Temple Restaurant came in fourth, while Capital M, a modern Australian restaurant overlooking Tiananmen Square, was fifth. Another Beijing establishment, Dali Court, hit seventh.

Varq, in the Indian capital, New Delhi, came in sixth.

The top 10 were rounded out by Hong Kong’s venerable Lung King Heen and Michel Bras TOYA, Japon, a Michelin three-star restaurant on Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido.

Andrews said that Asia’s flourishing restaurant scene was developing some interesting new trends. Five Indian restaurants made the list, including one in Bangalore.

“India, indeed, will continue to develop in restaurant terms — and I hope not entirely through the efforts of the top hotel chains — but I also think South Korea shows great promise and frankly I’m surprised that more of its top restaurants didn’t place on our list,” he said.

The top South Korean restaurant was The Byeokje Galbi in Seoul, which came in at 30.

The list included restaurants in Taiwan, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, South Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam and can be found on: www.thedailymeal.com/101-best-restaurants-asia.