Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2014: The Diners Club Roundtable

Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2014 was announced on February 24. The event, one of the biggest in the fine dining scene, unveils this year’s 50 best restaurants in the region as voted by over 900 international restaurant industry experts of The Diners Club® World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy.

Thanks to Diners Club International, I had the rare privilege to attend the gala event that took place at the luxurious Capella Singapore. In conjunction with the main event, Diners Club held a pre-event reception at Bob’s Bar at the Capella.

Eduardo Tobon, President of Diners Club International, attended the event along with Chef Ivan Li, winner of the prestigious Diners Club® Lifetime Achievement Award winner for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2014.

A roundtable session was held as Chef Li took questions from a select group of journalists and bloggers at this session.

Diners Club Eduardo Tobon and Chef Ivan Li

As the direct descendant of a chef who cooked for Empress Cixi during the late 19th century, Chef Li spent most of his 30-year career preserving the heritage of Chinese imperial cuisine. The strong restaurant empire he built under Family Li Imperial Cuisine boasts celebrity clientele that has included Bill Gates, Bill Clinton and even Mick Jagger.

If you ever visit a Family Li restaurant, you will be treated to exotic delicacies that have endured the test of time. His menu today features modern alternatives that preserve the original flavour without compromising the quality. One example is the lobster, which was not served back then.

We then moved on to the red carpet. This is like the Oscars equivalent for the restaurant industry. It is difficult not to gaze starry-eyed at the top chefs here, including Yoshihiro Narisawa, whose Tokyo restaurant topped the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list last year, and chef-owner André Chiang, who picked up the respected Chefs’ Choice Award this year, based on votes from fellow head chefs.

One additional focal point for the evening was this magnificent ice sculpture, featuring the Merlion and Singapore’s skyline. People waited patiently for their turn to capture a cool photographic moment.

Diners Club Merlion Ice Sculpture

Chef Li’s Family Li Imperial Cuisine was one restaurant that made it to the list for the first time, coming in at No. 46. Here, he receives his Lifetime Achievement Award on stage from Eduardo Tobon.

Nahm in Bangkok, Thailand, took the coveted top spot. The runner-up is last year’s winner and the current Best Restaurant in Japan, Yoshihiro Narisawa’s Les Créations de Narisawa. Third place goes to Gaggan, also from Thailand. Host city Singapore’s Waku Ghin and Imperial Treasure and came in at No. 7 and No. 40, respectively.

Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Winners

The full list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2014 is also available online.

What do you think of the rankings for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2014? Leave your thoughts in my blog post here.


BelieveBelong Editor’s Note: Veron Ang is the editor and lead blogger behind Sparklette is an online lifestyle and food blog dedicated to the latest updates on entertainment, fashion, beauty, food and beverage and travel trends in Singapore and the region. This post is an excerpt from Ms. Ang’s coverage of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants and the Diners Club Lifetime Achievement Award Reception, originally published on February 27. Click here for the full post.