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Five Indian restaurants among Asia's 101 best: survey

May 16, 2013, Reuters
  U.S. actor Tom Cruise (L) poses with Din Tai Fung President Yang Chi-hua and xiaolongbao, or dumpling, that they have made, at the restaurant's Taipei 101 branch April 6, 2013.  Credit: Reuters

A Taiwanese eatery famed for its dumplings was crowned Asia's best restaurant, while restaurants in Beijing claimed the lion's share of spots in the top ten of a new survey of the food-obsessed region's best dining.

Five Indian restaurants made it to the list of 101 best Asian restaurants.

Din Tai Fung in the Taiwanese capital Taipei was ranked number one in the inaugural "101 Best Restaurants in Asia" list, released on Thursday by the U.S.-based food website The Daily Meal, which does similar polls in the United States and Europe.

"Ultimately we chose ... a place best-known for doing one thing absolutely perfectly," said Colman Andrews, editorial director of The Daily Meal, adding that they were aware their selection of the restaurant, which has spun off into an international chain, would be controversial.

Half of the top ten restaurants were in Beijing, with Duck de Chine - noted for its Peking duck - at second place, and the Chinese-style nouvelle cuisine Green T. House at third.

"Our feeling is that Shanghai has had a good reputation as a restaurant city for some time, due both to a strong regional cuisine and the early incursions of Western celebrity chefs ... but that Beijing is definitely catching up," said Andrews.

"It's an imperfect analogy, but in a way the culinary contrast between the two mirrors that between New York City and Washington D.C. The former is more famous as a food city, but Washington increasingly offers serious competition - usually just with a little less fanfare."

Food critics, writers and long-term foreign residents in Asia, among others, voted on a list of restaurants pulled together over a six-month nomination period, considering cuisine, style, value and overall buzz, to select the top 101.

Beijing's Temple Restaurant was fourth and Capital M, a modern Australian restaurant overlooking Tiananmen Square, was fifth. Another Beijing establishment, Dali Court, hit seventh.

Varq, in New Delhi, came in sixth. The top ten was rounded out by Hong Kong's venerable Lung King Heen and Michel Bras TOYA, Japon, a Michelin three-star restaurant on Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido.

Andrews said that Asia's flourishing restaurant scene was developing some interesting new trends. Apart from Varq, four other Indian restaurants made the list -- Orient Express and Bukhara in New Delhi; Indigo in Mumbai and Karavalli in Bangalore.

"India, indeed, will continue to develop in restaurant terms - and I hope not entirely through the efforts of the top hotel chains - but I also think South Korea shows great promise, and frankly I'm surprised that more of its top restaurants didn't place on our list," Andrews said.

The top Korean restaurant was The Byeokje Galbi in Seoul, which came in at 30.


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