Asia’s 50 best restaurants that you can’t visit right now

Singapore’s Odette has held on to the title of Asia’s best restaurant for the second year running, as top chefs grapple with city lockdowns, temporary closures of their restaurants or food-supply interruptions during the coronavirus pandemic.
Cantonese restaurant The Chairman in Hong Kong, Tokyo kaiseki eatery Den, neo-Parisian bistro Belon in Hong Kong and Singapore-based barbecue restaurant Burnt Ends rounded out the top five. The winners were announced in a video livestream, in place of a ceremony originally planned for Saga prefecture, Japan, during cherry blossom season.
Odette chef Julien Royer said his three-Michelin-starred restaurant has been “working hard to support guests who have had to delay their visits and change travel plans.”
“In unpredictable times food can be a source of comfort,” Royer said in an email interview. “And now more than ever we wish to offer our guests the comfort of a beautiful and thoughtful meal above all else.”
Two Macau restaurants made the list this year, both of which are located inside the Wynn Palace integrated resort.
Cantonese fine-dining establishment Wing Lei Palace made number 22, while double Michelin-starred Sichuan Moon came in at number 23. According to the Wynn Palace website, Sichuan Moon is closed until further notice.
Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, Chef Richard Ekkebus of two-Michelin-starred Amber (No. 31) said food-supply logistics have been “a challenge.” But he says the restaurant has been able to source the ingredients it needs to continue serving its French menu, which includes dishes such as pigeon with foie gras, pepper berry and blackcurrant as well as spelt with black trumpet mushroom and preserved black truffle.
Amber reopened in April 2019 with a renovated interior and a new menu that eliminated what Ekkebus calls “the usual tricks of the trade,” including butter, refined sugar and salt, so that ingredients’ natural flavors could shine through.
“Where salt is needed,” he said, “it’s distilled from natural umami through ingredients like seaweed or techniques like fermentation. Where dairy is required, we’ve searched for plant-based alternatives.”
Mume in Taipei (No. 18 and the best restaurant in Taiwan) has seen a drop in its usual tourist clientele, prompting it to close once or twice a week and to limit the number of reservations to ensure ample space between diners. Mume’s staff wear face masks at all times and check guests’ temperatures before they sit down. The chefs wear antimicrobial gloves while preparing food.
“Just like most businesses and maybe 99 percent of the hospitality industry, we are of course greatly affected by the outbreak,” said Mume’s chef and owner, Richie Lin.
Lin can count one blessing: His food is 99 percent locally sourced, enabling him to offer a tasting menu that includes cuttlefish with mullet roe and black garlic as well as abalone and duck risotto. Lin says his interest was piqued by indigenous ingredients such as “wild vegetables that is foraged by aboriginal [people]” of Taiwan.
Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list is selected and voted on by a panel of 300 food writers, critics, chefs, restaurateurs and foodies across Asia. The awards have been held and published each year since 2013 by William Reed Business Media. MDT/Bloomberg

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