This year I was honoured with an invite to ‘Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants’ award ceremony held in Macau, a ceremony which is a bit like the ‘Oscars’ of food to me, or maybe the ‘Asian Films Awards’ given its regional reach. But I will infinitely be more exciting for Asian food, and I’m sure the same goes for pretty much any Asia obsessed foodie out there. So events rarely come bigger for me, and it is no doubt a rather big deal within Asia’s food scene, and this year in Macau I was going to be part of it all. Or at least I was invited to tag along. So this would be an absolute new for me, admittedly outside out of my usual comfort zone, given we’re normally not ones to get involved in networking (and Allan is still in the UK house sitting meaning I would also be travelling alone). But the Wynn Palace Macau would be hosting me, and the food experiences on offer were just phenomenal, and no sane person could ever turn it down. Not to mention that it all takes place beneath the backdrop of Macau’s bedazzling Cotai Strip.
In the past we have eaten through Macau at street level (and shared local Macanese favourites here). But this experience was set to be very different, as for the coming 3 days my life would become a blur of fine dining, from slap-up breakfasts served to my guestroom, to the massive macarons I found on my pillow following turn-down service at night. Not to mention the eating extravaganza of fine dining and Michelin star restaurants in Wynn Palace and Wynn Macau. And I can say these were by far the best 3 days of food I could imagine, as we were invited to dine at the on-site restaurants of Wynn Palace (and Wynn Macau) for pretty much every meal of our stay (which I will share in their entirety soon enough). This includes two Michelin Star Restaurants as well (Mizumi 1* and Golden flower 2*) and while Macau is obviously heavily Chinese influenced, the diversity of food is just rather incredible. So I decided to go for some 5-star steaks, rather than the Michelin Starred sea cucumber.
And the Winner Is…
There were obviously 50 winners (the full list here), but the top spot otherwise goes to Gaggan (again) with the ‘Best Restaurant in Asia’ award, for the fourth year running. And for me Gaggan Anand epitomizes what these awards stand for in Asian Cuisine, being young, inventive, daring, and innovative in his techniques and cuisine. He’s just a very exciting chef to share in my hometown of Bangkok. And while his progressive Indian cuisine at Gaggan (which is ridiculously affordable given its credentials) continues to push the boundaries of his imagination, this will only happen for a short while longer. As in 2020, Gaggan Anand will be hanging up his apron in Bangkok, to replace it with a kimono (metaphorically – although he was running around in kimonos for much of the event). As the next venture for this ‘Superstar Chef’, is to open a restaurant in Fukuoka, Japan, in 2021. So no doubt there will be many exciting years to come.