Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards - a recap

by: Vicki Williams
03 Apr 2019

There were few surprises at this year’s Asia 50 Best Restaurants 2019 awards ceremony. Singapore’s modern French restaurant, Odette claimed the number one spot (highly tipped to win last year), Gaggan slipped to second (closing in 2020) and Japan’s Den dropped one spot into third.

The highest new entry, went to Gaa in Bangkok, coming in at number 16. Gaa is headed by chef Garima Arora, who also received the best female chef award. Tipped as one to watch, and expected to rise much higher up the rankings in 2020.

In good news for Hong Kong diners Odette’s chef and owner, Julien Royer, confirmed that together with Yenn Wong’s Jia group he would be opening a casual French restaurant in Hong Kong in June. To be named Louise, the restaurant will replace Aberdeen Street Social.

Hong Kong & Macau
Everyone’s favourite Chinese restaurant, The Chairman, is the highest placed Hong Kong restaurant at No.11, while 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana No.12 was also awarded the 2019 recipient of the Art of Hospitality Award.

Belon was the highest climber, rising 25 places to number 15. Other Hong Kong restaurants on the list include: Amber (21), Vea (34 - new entry), Neighbourhood (37), Lung King Heen (38), Seventh Son (44 - new entry), and Ta Vie (50).

In Macau, consummate awards host, Wynn Palace entered the list for the first time with Wing Lei Palace at number 36. The only other Macau award for 2019 being given to Jade Dragon (27). Looking ahead, it is expected that Andre Chiang’s new restaurant Sichuan Moon, also at Wynn Palace, will enter the list next year. It may even receive highest new entry given the high praise it received from critics and judges during the week.

Marathon Eating
The announcements (and pre and post parties), while definitely the glittering pinnacle, were just part of a larger series of pre and post events (and networking) for the 300+ visiting international media and chefs, many of whom are on the judging panel. This included Asia’s 50 Best talks by noted chefs - essential ingredients and sustainability the two hot topics this year. 

Then there is the eating, which some liken to a marathon - requiring prior training, commitment and strategy. Just ask those who attended the multi-course lunch at Sichuan Moon that went for almost five hours and then had to go straight to dinner prepared by chef, Fran Agudo from Barcelona’s Tickets. Both meals paired with exquisite wines.

These two gastronomic affairs, plus another 13, were part of the “Wynn Chefs Dining Series” or the “Wynn Guest Chef Dining Series” plus there was also the “Wynn Guest Mixologist” events. Some of the noted chefs cooking for media and peers, included Simon Rogan, Shinobu Namae (L’Effervescence), Oliver Pena (Enigma), Zaiyu Hasegawa (Den), Hiroyasu Kawate (Florilege), Yusuke Takada (La Cime), Rodolfo Guzman (Borago), Tam Kwok Fung (Wing Lei Palace), and Liu Guo Zhu (Golden Flower). There was also a spotlight on Macanese cuisine with a collaborative meal from Anthony Sousa Tam (ROOT), Florita Alves (La Famiglia) and Raymond Vong (Henri’s Galley).

For those interested in attending future Wynn guest chef events, here's where to go: