Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017: Gaggan On Top, Gallery Vask Up + My Bangkok Highlights + The Full List

3 years in a row!!!! 🏆🏆🏆 Congratulations to our dear Gaggan and team for being the #1 restaurant in Asia for 2017 once again, and to Chele and Gallery Vask for being the best restaurant in the Philippines, jumping up to #35!!! A little trivia, Cross Cultures by Cheryl Tiu was only 1 MONTH old when I collaborated with these two, and they have been the *HUGEST* supporters of my events platform, and have been promoting it to everyone since. Thank you so much!

“You were young and your heart was an open book… You used to say let live and let live…” Guns n’ Roses’ version of Sir Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die” played in the background as Gaggan was crowned– for the third year in a row– the Best Restaurant in Asia. Coincidentally, when asked by a journalist during the press conference at the W Bangkok afterwards what pushed him to be  a  cook, chef-owner Gaggan Anand responded, “I was poor so I needed to cook… let live and let die.” He added, “Motivation is the most important part in life. If there’s no Asia’s 50 Best, we don’t know if we are doing the right or wrong thing.” He dedicated the award to his daughter Tara, his 67 staff at his eponymous restaurant, to India (“the country where I came from”) and to Thailand (“my present and my future.”)

Gaggan- Best Restaurant in Asia 2017- Three Years in A Row
Congratulations Gaggan!!! Number one for three years in a row!!! (Photo courtesy of Asia’s 50 Best)

This was the last year that Thailand was host country for the prestigious awards ceremony. (Next year, it will be traveling to another city in the region.) But they had a lot to celebrate this year, as four (out of the 10) new restaurants that entered the list came from Bangkok: L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Bangkok (No. 40), Le Du (No. 37), House on Sathorn (No. 36), and Suhring (No. 13). I’d not yet been to Robuchon, but I have only great things to say about the latter three, and recommend them to anyone traveling to Bangkok. I’d written about them previously here.

Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2017- House on Sathorn- W Bangkok
Last year in Thailand.. the stunning House on Sathorn at the W Bangkok was the venue for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants for the last two years. (Photo courtesy of Asia’s 50 Best)
Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2017- Cocktail Reception- House on Sathorn- W Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand
Cocktail hour at House on Sathorn before the awards ceremony. I’m gonna miss this gorgeous space! It was a former Russian Embassy. (Photo courtesy of Asia’s 50 Best)

The six other new restaurants were: Ronin (Hong Kong, No. 45), Mume (Taiwan, No. 43), The Tasting Room by Galliot (Macau, No. 39), Jade Dragon (Macau, No. 32), Florilege (Japan, No. 14)—and the highest jumper, Julien Royer’s Odette (Singapore) which landed straight to No. 9! He visiting the Philippines this April as part of Madrid Fusion Manila.

Speaking of the Philippines, we also have a great cause for celebration. Gallery Vask, which entered the list last year at No. 39 jumped up four places to No. 35, earning them the Best Restaurant in the Philippines title– for the second year in a row! *It is important for me re-clarify once again that the “fine dining” Gallery Vask (which serves anthropological cuisine in a tasting menu format) is completely different from the more casual Vask Tapas Room (which serves modern Spanish tapas).“I want to thank the Philippines for welcoming me with open arms and allowing me to grow as chef and artist,” shared chef-partner Chele Gonzalez, originally from Torrelavega in northern Spain, citing his team and the Filipino farmers, growers, fishermen, artists and craftsmen, as the inspirations for his “culinary calling.”

Gallery Vask- Best Restaurant in the Philippines= Asia's 50 Best 2017
Gallery Vask remains the best restaurant in the Philippines for the second year in a row—jumping up four places this year to No. 35. Gallery Vask partners Carlo Calma, chef Chele Gonzalez and Paula Cortez, received the award in Bangkok

I spent a total of four short days in the Thai capital- at the eco-friendly and reasonably priced Sivatel Bangkok for the weekend,  and the trendy W Bangkok for the awards period, packed with nonstop eating at all my favorite restaurants. The joke was, “We know you guys have like 5 lunches and 5 dinners!” Ha, that wasn’t too far from the truth. Well I was stuffed to the brim every meal– to the point where I thought I could never eat again– but I feel so grateful.

Here are some photogenic highlights of my days in Bangkok:

Sivatel Bangkok Hotel- Eco-Friendly- Reasonably Priced- Next To Central Embassy- Bangkok, Thailand
Home for the weekend was the eco-friendly Sivatel Bangkok, right next to Central Embassy. This Regal Suite is so massive, I got lost just going to the bathroom, and it is a reasonable 5,200 baht (USD149) per night, as it’s also intended for families.
ThiTid Tassanakajohn- Chef ton- Le Du- Bangkok- Asia's 50 Best
My 2nd time back in Le Du after a year, and I thoroughly enjoyed everything I ate. Through his new dishes, 31-year old chef Ton has now clearly defined the path his cuisine is taking, which is that of new (modern) Thai– and they are not only pretty but delicious. This is the new second floor dining space which just opened 3 weeks ago. Watch out for this guy, I’m telling you! Le Du is a new entry on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016, at no. 37.
Mango Sticky Rice- Mango Panna Cotta- Le Du, Bangkok Thailand
Here’s a little secret about me: mango is not my preferred fruit. But Chef Ton’s version of mango sticky rice at Le Du was so good, I wanted more! It’s essentially a mango panna cotta with puffed rice.. How is it sticky? When you mix it with the smoked coconut ice cream (with a hint of pandan), it becomes “sticky.” Lovely finish to a coming-of-age menu.
World's 50 Best Tastemakers Cheryl Tiu and Litti Kewkacha with Den's Zaiyu Hasegawa and Gaggan's Gaggan Anand- GagaDen
Hug us, we smell like CURRY!!!😁😁😁 My fellow World’s 50 Best Tastemaker Litti Kewkacha and I are now part of the Gaggan-Den, or should I say #GagaDen team. Zaiyu’s Den in Tokyo won the Art of Hospitality Award and it’s so so well-deserved! Keep scrolling.
Gaggan-Den Fried Chicken
Gaggan Den Fried Chicken!!! What’s inside?!
What's Inside the Gaggan Den Fried Chicken
Inside the box is the signature DENtucky fried chicken (DFC).. so I guess since I got Gaggan’s face, this is the GagganFried Chicken (GFC), but this time stuffed with Thai sticky rice, Thai curry and Thai chili. So cool and so fun! Plus, I have a new friend– Piyo-chan!
Gaggan Anand, Jin Perez, Cheryl Tiu, Thomas and Mathias Suhring, Rajesh Kewalramani- Asia's 50 Best
Me wearing the Gaggan service staff shirt, Hug Me I Smell Like Curry, with chef-owner Gaggan Anand, food blogger and my dear friend Jin Perez (Jin Loves To Eat), Suhring’s Mathias and Thomas Suhring and Rajesh Kewalramani. Trivia: Gaggan and Rajesh are also partners at Suhring. Gaggan remains the best restaurant in Asia for the third year in a row, and Suhring entered the list this year, landing straight to No. 13- big feat for this family!
Suhring- Bangkok, Thailand
The cutest way to start a meal at Suhring: homemade pretzels and obatzda, served with non-alcoholic beer in the cutest beer mugs ever. Love Suhring forever!!! Totally deserving entering the list this year right sack at No. 13!!!
Four Hands lunch between Julien Royer and Mandarin Oriental Bangkok Le Normandie chef Arnaud Dunand Sauthier.
Surprise! I get to eat Odette here in Bangkok, for a special Four Hands lunch between Julien Royer and Mandarin Oriental Bangkok Le Normandie chef Arnaud Dunand Sauthier. 🤗🤗🤗 This is Julien’s signature Hokkaido Uni, with beautiful snacks from both chefs.
Le Normandie’s Arnaud Dunand Sauthier, Rashmi Uday Singh, Cheryl Tiu, Odette's Julien Royer, Cathy Chao- Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
Mandarin Oriental Bangkok Le Normandie chef Arnaud Dunand Sauthier and Odette Singapore chef Julien Royer with Rashmi Uday Singh (Asia’s 50 Best Chair), myself and Cathy Chao of Fim Media in Taiwan
Cheryl Tiu Uniqlo Bangkok Thailand
Heehee, you never know when you gotta hop onto a bike to beat the Bangkok traffic!
W Bangkok- Spectacular Room- Bangkok, Thailand
I got upgraded to the Spectacular Room on the 21st floor of the hotel bec I’m an SPG member! I urge you to sign up as it’s free, and you get perks like tonssss of complimentary bottled water (and higher floor rooms). It’s so easy to go up and down from room to the awards, so I don’t have to worry about traffic, lol.
Manti- House on Sathorn- Fatih Tutak- W Bangkok, Thailand- Asia's 50 Best
The House on Sathorn, adjacent to the W Bangkok, is another of my fine dining favorites in the Thai capital. While chef Fatih Tutak is Turkish, his menu is a showcase of his journey through Japan, Thailand, etc. I enjoyed it a lot last year, and this year it’s gotten even better– more depth in flavor, technique and execution. AND, so thrilled to see a Turkish addition to the tasting menu– an elevated Turkish manti (dumpling stuffed with lamb and spices, tomato sauce and Turkish clotted cream (kaymak)– a tribute to his mom. Congrats on entering the list at No. 36 this year!
Fatih Tutak House on Sathorn- W Bangkok- Asia's 50 BEst
Turkish chef and director of culinary Fatih Tutak was born in Istanbul and worked at Noma in Copenhagen, Nihonryori Ryugin in Tokyo, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and The Bellbrook in Hong Kong before helming the kitchen at The House on Sathorn. We were also recently together in Istanbul for Gastromasa!
Umberto Bombana- Lifetime Achievement Awardee 2017- Asia's 50 Best Restaurants
Only with Lifetime Achievement awardee Umberto Bombana at the Chef’s Feast After Party at Eat Me! His 8 1/2 Otto E Mezzo Bombana leaped up to No. 4 this year, congratulations!
Team Philippines at the San Pellegrino Brunch at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok- February 2017 (2)
With the Pinoy crew at the San Pellegrino brunch at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok: Margarita Fores, Kissa Castaneda, Jin Perez, Cheryl Tiu, Amado Fores, Butts Solinap, Paula Cortez-Solinap, Carlo Calma
The Gaggan Unofficial After Party- Asia's 50 Best 2017
When Gaggan throws a party…
...The whole world will be there! *This was taken early... I got there even before Gaggan himself did. Lol. I also left early at 2AM.
…The whole world will be there! *This was taken early… I got there even before Gaggan himself did. Lol. I also left early at 2AM.
Street Food Party at Gaggan- Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2017 (2)
What an incredible idea to bring Thai street food from all over the country to Gaggan so we can all try and enjoy Thai culture!
Team Mume- Gaggan After Party- Bangkok, Thailand- Asia's 50 Best
Team Mume!!! Richie Lin and head chef Kai Ward, with San Pellegrino’s Mitch Walles, Gallery Vask’s Carlo Calma and Gaggan’s Brian Gosling
Street Food Party at Gaggan- Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2017
I was worried I wouldn’t get to eat Thai street food before flying out of Bangkok today (my schedule was nonstop, full-on, no joke).. but Gaggan’s epic “unofficial after party” (after the ‘after party’👯) gathered street vendors from all over Thailand!👌👌👌 This one was from the south, where I asked for a rice bowl of *everything* = 3 kinds of curry, fried pork, melinja leaves w/ fried egg, fermented shrimp.. So good! It was the one of the most culturally relative after-parties I’d been to, honoring a country’s culture through the best of its (street) food– in between a massive disco and crazy champagne showers.
World's 50 Best Tastemakers and 50 Best Team- Bangkok, Thailand
World’s 50 Best Team x Tastemakers: Litti Kewkacha, Zoe Bowker, Cheryl Tiu, Amelie Vincent; Emer Schlosser, Tim Brooke-Webb, Charles Reed, Laura Price, Perm Paitayawat
World's 50 Best Tastemakers- Zoe Bowker, Amelie Vincent, Cheryl Tiu- with 50 Best Team Emer Schlosser and Laura Price
Jump!!! With these amazing ladies Emer Schlosser and Laura Price of the 50 Best Team (right and left) and the female Tastemakers Zoe Bowker, me and Amelie Vincent (center).
Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2017- Photo of Winners- W Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand
Congratulations to all the winners of the 2017 Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards!!! (Photo courtesy of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants)

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Here’s the full list of the 2017 Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants:

1. GAGGAN – Bangkok, Thailand | Best Restaurant in Thailand

2. RESTAURANT ANDRÉ – Singapore | Best Restaurant in Singapore

3. AMBER – Hong Kong, China | Best Restaurant in China

4. 8 1/2 OTTO E MEZZO BOMBANA – Hong Kong, China

5. NAHM – Bangkok, Thailand

6. NARISAWA – Tokyo, Japan | Best Restaurant in Japan

7. NIHONRYORI RYUGIN – Tokyo, Japan

8. ULTRAVIOLET BY PAUL PAIRET – Shanghai, China

9. ODETTE – Singapore | Highest New Entry Award

10. BURNT ENDS – Singapore

11. DEN – Tokyo, Japan | The Art of Hospitality Award

12. L’EFFERVESCENCE – Tokyo, Japan

13. SUHRING – Bangkok, Thailand

14. FLORILEGE – Tokyo, Japan

15. MINGLES – Seoul, Korea | Best Restaurant in Korea

16. LES AMIS – Singapore

17. LUNG KING HEEN – Hong Kong, China

18. QUINTESSENCE – Tokyo, Japan

19. BO.LAN – Bangkok, Thailand

20. WAKU GHIN – Singapore

21. ISSAYA SIAMESE CLUB – Bangkok, Thailand

22. LOCAVORE – Bali, Indonesia | Highest Climber Award and Best Restaurant in Indonesia

23. CORNER HOUSE – Singapore

24. RAW – Taipei, Taiwan | Best Restaurant in Taiwan

25. JUNGSIK – Seoul, Korea

26. SUSHI SAITO – Tokyo, Japan

27. TIPPLING CLUB – Singapore

28. LE MOÛT – Taichung, Taiwan

29. MINISTRY OF CRAB – Colombo, Sri Lanka | Best Restaurant in Sri Lanka

30. INDIAN ACCENT – New Delhi, India | Best Restaurant in India sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna

31. EAT ME – Bangkok, Thailand

32. JADE DRAGON – Macau, China

33. TA VIE – Hong Kong, China

34. HAJIME – Osaka, Japan

35. GALLERY VASK – Manila, Philippines | Best Restaurant in the Philippines

36. THE DINING ROOM AT THE HOUSE OF SATHORN – Bangkok, Thailand

37. LE DU – Bangkok, Thailand

38. LA YEON – Seoul, South Korea

39. THE TASTING ROOM BY GALLIOT – Macau, China

40. L’ATELIER DE JOËL ROBUCHON – Bangkok, Thailand

41. L’ATELIER DE JOËL ROBUCHON – Hong Kong, China

42. JAAN – Singapore

43. MUME – Taipei, Taiwan

44. SHINJI BY KANESAKA – Singapore

45. RONIN – Hong Kong, China

46. WASABI BY MORIMOTO – Mumbai, India

47. THE CHAIRMAN – Hong Kong, China

48. FU HE HUI – Shanghai, China

49. NIHONBASHI – Colombo, Sri Lanka

50. TAKAZAWA – Tokyo, Japan

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