The Michelin food guide to Seoul officially drops this week—the fifth Asian edition in the series after Hong Kong and Macau; Tokyo, Yokohama, and Shonan; Singapore; and Shanghai—and a sneak peek inside reveals that 24 restaurants received Michelin stars, two of which, Gaon and La Yeon, earned three stars each. Three Seoul restaurants, Gotgan, Kwon Sook Soo, and Pierre Gagnaire, earned two stars each.
"The richness of selectiveness shows that Seoul has emerged as one of the most exciting and dynamic culinary scenes in the world," Director of Michelin Guides Michael Ellis said at the awards ceremony. Speaking to AFP, he said, "I think it's widely seen as one of the hidden gems of world cuisine... Seoul is a gastronomic roller coaster. There are so many things going on: brining, pickling, fermenting, frying, barbecuing, seasoning—great techniques."
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One-star restaurants included in the inaugural guide are: Alla Prima, Balwoo Gongyang, Bicena, Bo Reun Soei, Hamo, Jin Jin, Jungsik, Kojima, Kuenkiwajip, L'Amitie, Mingles, Poom, Ristorante Eo, Soigne, Twenty Four Seasons, Votre Maison, Yu Yuan, and Zero Complex. Of these restaurants, 11 serve Korean cuisine.
Even though this is the first edition of the Michelin Guide in Korea, it's not the first time the international travel guide has honored Korean cuisine. "It has awarded Korean chefs in other countries," according to the Korea Herald. "Including Lee Young-hoon of Le Passe Temps in France, Yoon Mi-wol of Yunke in Tokyo, Yim Jung-sik of Jungsik in New York, and Corey Lee of Benu in San Francisco."