10 Michelin-starred restaurants in Asia to try
08 September 2016
With the Michelin Guide making a debut in Singapore this year, there’s no time like the present to check out both new and seasoned Michelin-starred restaurants around the Asian region. For the uninitiated, the main rating criteria for the Michelin Guide consists of stars, where one, two or three can be awarded.
One star ratings indicate that the cuisine is very good and two star ratings are listed as “excellent cooking, worth a detour”. The most coveted of these is the three-star award, which is given to eateries that have “exceptional cuisine, worthy of a special journey”. This list showcases restaurants located throughout Asia that have earned either of these three ratings.
The next time you find yourself travelling to one of these countries, be sure to get those reservations in early.
Lung King Heen
Make your way to the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, which is where Lung King Heen is located. Cantonese dishes are the forte here and rest assured you’ll receive the best with the famous chef Chan Yan Tak at the helm. He is after all, the man responsible for getting the restaurant awarded with three Michelin stars.
A divine view of the Victoria Harbour will greet you from the restaurant, as you tuck into chef Chan’s delicious concoctions, like barbecued pork with honey sauce and Peking duck (order this one in advance, as portions are limited!). Their dim sum is a signature dish for lunch, and for dinner, you can’t go wrong with seafood dishes or the Chef’s Tasting Menu, which has samples of their best dishes.
See also: 24 hours in Singapore – Eat
The number eight is auspicious in Chinese culture, so from the name alone you’ll certainly get the feeling that a lot of care and thought was put in the formation of this place. This is also apparent in the décor with goldfish motifs throughout. These little orange fishes are considered very lucky indeed and you’ll even find dim sum formed to resemble them, which points to the creative efforts apparent in The Eight’s menu.
In addition to the Cantonese and Huaiyang style dishes offered on the menu, there are also some items that are very much reminiscent of Macau’s own culinary traditions, like Portuguese egg tarts. A must-try here is the roast suckling pig stuffed with fried rice.
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Bo Innovation certainly puts the ‘art’ in culinary arts when it comes to their menu, but believe us when we say some engineering is required as well. Self-professed “demon chef” Alvin Leung comes from an engineering background and he has not forgotten that innovative methods can serve him just as well in his culinary career. He has taken the best parts of Chinese cuisine and added his own twist to it, always pushing the envelope and challenging stereotypes along the way.
The contemporary feel of the restaurant is apparent from the trendy interior and even the staff’s personal style here contributes to the artistic and eclectic vibes of the place. The must try dish here is the signature molecular xiao long bao, for an original take on a classic dim sum dish.
Style-wise, this Tokyo eatery’s setting is minimalist and intimate, which will make you feel like you’re right at home. In fact, that’s exactly the concept that founder and head chef Hiroyuki Kanda was going for when he set up his cozy nook.
You won’t find a physical menu here at Kanda though because their dishes are prepared based on the ingredients that are available, as well as the customer’s preferences and budget. Sushi, of course, is a must-try. It wouldn’t be a truly Japanese experience otherwise. Their Wagyu beef karage has also received many rave reviews. Because seating is rather limited, check out their calendar online to make a reservation as early as you possible can to avoid disappointment.
The Song of India
Fresh on the Michelin list is The Song of India, one of the newest inductees this year. Executive chef Manjunath Mural has more than 14 years of culinary expertise to his name, particularly where modern Indian gastronomical delights are concerned.
The restaurant itself is situated within the lush setting of a Colonial style bungalow on Scott’s Road, instantly giving one the sense of being transported into a bygone era. Inside, elegance awaits with chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and a dining area fit for royalty. Their menu consists of a variety of Indian dishes, with a contemporary twist such their lobster moiley. A must-try is their nalli gosht, which is lamb shanks marinated in herbs and cooked in lucknavi jus.
Another Singaporean eatery that made the cut on the Michelin Guide for this year is Candlenut, which serves up Peranakan style cuisine. You get the sense that every aspect of Candlenut is made with love, from the subtle nods to traditional Peranakan culture in the décor of the restaurant right down to the items on the menu, with items affectionately associated with the family members of Chef Malcolm Lee.
In fact, if there’s one thing you must order, it’s definitely Mum’s Curry, which is one of their signature dishes from chef Malcolm’s mother. Sides like pie tee and ngoh hiang are also perfect if you prefer something a little lighter. Note that Candlenut Singapore has separate menus for lunch and dinner.
Kyoto is another location that is swarming with Michelin-starred restaurants, but this one is a little different from the other two Japanese features on this list. While it looks like your typical Japanese restaurant, the last thing you’ll get here is a plate of sushi.
At Yutaka, you’ll need a good sharp knife instead of chopsticks, because it’s a steakhouse that specialises in the most decadent melt-in-mouth cuts of beef. Chef Mamoru Takada’s steaks of course are made with an Asian palate in mind with the steak glazed with soy sauce. Lunch and dinner menus differ, but you should not step out of Yutaka without having sampled the tenderloin steak.
Zi Yat Heen
Macau may have the influence of Portuguese culture, but at Zi Yat Heen chef Ho Pui Yung and his team of chefs cook up a storm the Cantonese way. Located within Four Seasons Macau, the warm and inviting interior is just a precursor to the dishes that await consumption.
Here you’ll find classic Cantonese style roasted meat dishes and delectable dim sum, which is always a good choice and is something they are known for. Their unique dishes include bird’s nest lobster dumpling, crab claw dim sum and fried spring roll with duck. Their baked egg tartlets are a nod to the culture of Macau and the perfect way to end your meal.
8½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA
Hong Kong and Macau
If you have exhausted all options for Asian cuisine, there’s really nothing more comforting than Italian food. Both 8½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA outletes in Hong Kong and Macau have been awarded with Michelin stars. In fact, the Hong Kong outlet was the first Italian restaurant outside of Italy to be given this accolade, so this is definitely worth making reservations for.
Chef Umberto Bombana paid homage to his favourite Federico Felleni film “8 ½” with this restaurant, and besides references to the Italian way of life in the décor, you will also see art from various 20th century visionaries gracing the walls.
His passion for his craft is apparent in the dishes served, combining the best of local and Italian ingredients to achieve a wonderful marriage of flavours. Pasta lovers will adore the homemade tagliolini. Be sure to also try their tiramisu, as it is said to be a cut above the rest.
Note: 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA is also in Shanghai, however, the city is yet to release a Michelin Guide.
Japan’s Michelin-starred eateries are plentiful and widely dispersed, and this entry for Japan on our list takes us to Osaka. Ajikitcho Horie is helmed by chef Ryusuke Nakatani, who has taken over from his father, the founder.
All seafood and vegetables are procured from local sources, and that means that the food items change according to the seasons. At this particular branch, the interior and architecture is inspired mainly by the style of ancient Japan, so you won’t be needing a time machine to experience the tasteful simplicity of a traditional Japanese meal within these walls.
Menu items may differ but you’ll be sure to find classic items like sashimi and sushi, which should be a definite choice. Reservations need to be made at least three days in advance, and you can do this via their website.