What do chefs love to do in their spare time? Eat, of course! And many of them have eaten around the world. Some of the World’s and Asia’s Best 50 chefs tell us where they had their most unforgettable meals and what to order.
1. Ray Adriansyah and Eelke Plasmejer of Locavore group
Ray and Eelke can be largely credited as the men who put Bali on the world culinary map with their innovative world cuisine made with Indonesian produce. Since their first restaurant Locavore nabbed a place in Asia’s Best 50 in 2016, it has consistently made it to the list every year (and even won the Sustainability award this year) and inspired many other chefs in Bali and beyond to use local ingredients.
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- • Sushi Sugita, Tokyo, Japan
Besides having earned the reputation of being Japan’s hardest sushi restaurant to book a place at, the one-Michelin-starred nine-seater is also known for serving the best ankimo – monkfish liver – in Tokyo. Known as the foie gras of Japan, the appetiser of steamed monkfish liver served chilled is a sensational blend of flavours and textures. It is silky and rich at the same time, and packed full of umami flavours that glide on the tongue.
At Kakigaracho 1−33−6, Nihonbashi, Tokyo, Japan 〒103-0014
French-trained American Daniel Jones serves French bistrot classics in this casual eatery Paris. The pot au feu here looks deceptively ordinary but its light, flavourful broth given a refreshing twist with fresh herbs like chervil lingers on the mind. With veal stock as base, it is served with a beef bone and a spoon for you to scoop out its jelly-like marrow.
At 12 Rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris, France, tel: +33 1 42 60 08 83
At no. 46, Darren Teoh’s restaurant is the first and only Malaysian one to have made it into the 2019 Asia’s Best 50 restaurants list. A dish that particularly stood out from a 16-course menu prepared with French techniques and Malaysian ingredients is the banana hearts with kerdas. The dish served with a native pod called kerdas, fiddlehead ferns and pickled rose surprises with a good balance of sweet, tour and refreshing as one of its key ingredients of tapai (fermented rice) is usually shockingly sour.
Dewakan is currently closed and will reopen in October. Please check website for its new address.
2. Zaiyu Hasegawa of Den
His restaurant ranks number 10 on 2019 World’s Best 50 list and Best Restaurant in Japan, and it’s no wonder why. Zaiyu dreams up creative conversation-starters in an eight-course kaiseki meal with western influences. The effervescent hospitality served by the team is as much a draw as the food.
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The restaurant may command spectacular views of Lake Garda, but what people really come for is to see the theatrics of the cacio e pepe (pasta tossed in cheese and pepper) being served. First it comes to the table in an inflated pig’s bladder. The waiter shakes it before cutting it open to reveal rigatoni beautifully drenched in cheese and pepper. Al dente, creamy and comforting. The taste is as memorable as the presentation.
At Corso Zanardelli, 196, 25083 Gardone Riviera BS, Italy. tel: +39 0365 20019
Though the most famous dish at the posh Cantonese restaurant is the flower crab steamed in chicken fat and Chinese wine served with rice noodles, it is the fried crab rice that hits all the right spots with Chef Zaiyu. The rice grains are cooked just right and evenly coated with a generous serving of crab meat. It is so moreish, you will forget any dietary restrictions and devour the carbs-rich dish.
At 18Fl, Kau U Fong, Central, Hong Kong Tel: +852 2555 2202
With one Michelin-starred contemporary fine dining Thai restaurant Le Du (which is also placed in the Asia’s Best 50 lists), ThiTid, better known as Chef Ton, has succeeded in showing the world that Thai food can be refined too. With the more casual Baan, his second restaurant, Chef Ton digs deep into the family’s recipe archives to share what he calls “soul food” with others.
- • Asador Etxebarri, Bizkaia, Spain
In a tiny village 45 minutes away from the Catalan city of Bilbao is an unpretentious grill house that has placed third on the world’s best list. Almost everything is cooked over fire, including Iranian sturgeon caviar. The caviar is placed on top of wakame seaweed in a special double grill with wakame seaweed underneath, until it falls apart. The smoking adds a nutty flavour. Served with crème fraîche on a blini with a bit of lemon, the taste is mind-blowing.
At San Juan Plaza, 1, 48291 Atxondo, Bizkaia, Spain Tel: +34 946 58 30 42
- • Raan Jay Fai, Thailand
This is the street food stall in Bangkok that has a Michelin star that keeps people waiting for three hours on average. Their reward is the 1000-baht crab omelette. Equally fascinating to diners is the chef-owner, Jay Fai’s cooking style. She deftly shapes each omelette into a small elliptical shape over blazing fire so intense she has to wear a ski mask to protect her eyes. What you get when you finally pop it into your mouth is a powerful, fragrant pack of crabmeat chunks coated with a thin layer of egg.
At 327 Mahachai Road (at intersection with Samranrat Road) Bangkok, Thailand
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