Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants List Is Announced for 2018
For the fourth year in a row, Gaggan Anand’s eponymous restaurant Gaggan, located in Bangkok, has been named as number one on the prestigious Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list. The awards ceremony took place in Macao on Tuesday night, local time. Den by chef Zaiyu Hasegawa, a modern kaiseki restaurant, took second place; Florilège, a French restaurant by chef Hiroyasu Kawate, took third. Both are located in Tokyo.
Anand surprised few with his repeat win. The vocal chef—seen on season 2 of Netflix’s Chef’s Table—has become known for his experimental, proto-Indian cuisine: Goat brain foie gras, for example, with exploding spheres of raita. Or the grilled oyster oyster marinated in spices: It’s served with ice cream made of kokum, a vivid red fruit found in tropical climes. The dish is called “Viagra.”
Diners will only have until 2020 to get a taste, however—that's when Gaggan is closing his highly successful restaurant after a decade in operation. “We have young chefs taking over [for] the old ones,” he said in his acceptance speech. “So it's time for us to leave and you guys to take over.”
“I am peaking right now and the best lesson I ever learned from Ferran [Adrià] was to leave in the peak,” he told Food & Wine in an interview last month. “I have fame already. I want to climb a new mountain, but you can’t go from top to top. You have to come down, get out of your comfort zone and sacrifice everything." That's why his new concept come 2020 will be a heavily Japanese-inspired restaurant called GohGan, in collaboration with Japanese chef Takeshi Fukuyama. It will be located in Fukuoka, Japan.
Anand aside, people are also talking about Singapore’s Restaurant André—not because it won, because it didn't. A mainstay on the list’s top ten—although never number one—chef-owner André Chiang shocked diners last winter when he announced the closing of his restaurant, which served its last dinner on Valentine’s Day 2018. Like Anand, Chiang chose to leave at the peak of his game to focus on other ventures. Chiang also asked to return the restaurant’s two Michelin stars (more of a philosophical statement than a practical request, since his restaurant would be closing anyways, it seems).
"I'm a perfectionist,” he said in a statement, “and for the past 30 years of my career, I've been looking for that unrealistic moment of perfection; three Michelin stars, World's 50 Best Restaurants, until now, I realised – it is perfect as it is.” You can still dine at four of other Chiang’s restaurants, including Raw in Taipei, on which he wants to focus more.