Of the world’s 50 best restaurants this year, none is Chinese.
Some people might call it unfair but there are no strict rules for the judges, which include food writers, critics, chefs, restaurant owners and gourmets, to avoid potential conflicts of interest. Also, there are no clear standards for making their picks.
Although the awards ceremony held in Melbourne, Australia, on April 5 was just a party for industry insiders, the fact that no Chinese restaurant made the list is a good reason for those who devote themselves to Chinese cuisine to reflect on what they can do to improve their chances.
Let me explain why I do not think the list is fair.
I have dined twice at Eleven Madison Park, the New York City restaurant that tops the list this year. It knows very well how to use fancy tricks to make its customers happy.
While many of its dishes are no doubt palatable, such as the duck breast and beef, I personally see little creativity in them.
In that sense, I prefer El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain, which comes in third on the list.
Tickets, a Tapas Bar in Barcelona, Spain, is not really worth a revisit, and I think the reason it took the No. 25 spot is perhaps the judges wanted to show their respect to the defunct El Bulli, whose style is shared by Tickets.
As for Nham in Bangkok, Thailand, there is also nothing creative about its food.
Many Chinese restaurants should have been able to make the list. Nham is ranked 28th.
Taiwan-born chef Andre Chiang’s Restaurant Andre in Singapore is ranked No. 14, with two others in the Greater China region－Ultraviolet in Shanghai in 41st spot and Amber in Hong Kong in 24th.
But again, these are not Chinese restaurants.
Lung King Heen, which sells authentic Cantonese food in Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, is the highest rated Chinese restaurant based on the list compiled by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants organization. It is ranked No. 71 and the only one of its kind among the top 100.
Some Chinese people may not be happy at such a low appraisal of Chinese food and even feel hurt. I hope Chinese restaurant operators can look at it from a different angle and turn the list into a catalyst for improvement.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on April 7
Translation by Taka Liu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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