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Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2023: Bangkok is tops, Singapore's Labyrinth climbs 29 places

Nine Singapore restaurants are on the list this year, including new entrant Born and Odette, which moved up to 6th. Singapore also claimed the Asia's Best Pastry Chef and Asia's Best Female Chef awards.

Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2023: Bangkok is tops, Singapore's Labyrinth climbs 29 places

Restaurant Labyrinth, now 11th on the list of Asia's 50 Best Restaurants, calls its cuisine "new Singaporean" and pays homage to chef Han Liguang's roots. (Photo: Restaurant Labyrinth)

Nine Singapore establishments are on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 list and nearly all have risen to positions higher than the year before.

The list was revealed on Tuesday (Mar 28) in a ceremony at The Ballroom at Resorts World Sentosa with more than 800 guests from around the world in attendance.

Bangkok’s Le Du, which was number four last year, now has the top spot, which chef Thitid “Ton” Tassanakajohn described at a post-ceremony press conference as “unreal” as he recalled how “when I started Le Du 10 years ago using only local produce, people thought I was stupid and crazy. People said I would go out of business in six months.” He’s the one laughing now, especially as his other restaurant, Nusara, also in Bangkok, came in at number three.

Sezanne in Tokyo ranks number two, while last year’s number one, Den, also in Tokyo, now occupies the number four spot.
Ardeche Chestnut by Louisa Lim (Photo: John Heng/Odette)

Odette remains Singapore’s top entrant at number six, moving up two places from number eight; additionally, its pastry chef Louisa Lim was named Asia’s Best Pastry Chef 2023.

Meanwhile, "new Singaporean" restaurant Labyrinth advanced an impressive 29 spots to number 11, which earned it the Highest Climber award.

Restaurant Labyrinth, at the Esplanade Mall, underwent a facelift late last year. (Photo: Restaurant Labyrinth)

“It’s totally unexpected,” chef-owner Han Liguang told CNA Lifestyle. “I was at number 40 for the last few years, and I was like, if they give me 40 again, I’m putting the number 40 on the back of my jersey! So, I would have been happy at 39, actually!” he quipped, adding, “We really pushed ourselves this year. We renovated the restaurant, we pushed our cuisine, refined it even further, and opened up more techniques and knowledge. It’s just pure hard work, really pushing it hard.”

Many other Singapore restaurants moved up in rank, including Burnt Ends, which climbed from 41st to 24th; Cloudstreet, which moved from 44th to 26th; Meta, which went up from 20th to 17th; Euphoria, which re-entered the list at number 25; and Restaurant Zen, which moved from 37th to 21st and also took home the Gin Mare Art of Hospitality award.

And Singapore’s Restaurant Born, opened in June last year, has duly made the list without delay, debuting at number 36 with the cuisine of chef-owner Zor Tan, a protege of Andre Chiang, that’s best described as modern Chinese influenced by French techniques.  

(Photo: Restaurant Born)

Asia’s Best Female Chef 2023 also comes out of Singapore, and for the first time, too. Johanne Siy, who serves up Asian-inspired modern European dishes at Lolla, was named the recipient of the award last month. The Philippines-born chef, who moved to Singapore in 2003, said that while she was grateful for the recognition, “my goal is to make this award obsolete. I am dreaming of a future where there is equality and equal representation in kitchens and dining rooms in this industry across the world.”

Other special awards of the evening included the inaugural Beronia Asia’s Best Sommelier award, which went to Della Tang of Ensue in Shenzhen; the Flor de Cana Sustainable Restaurant award, which went to Manila’s Toyo Eatery; the Highest New Entry award, which went to Chennai’s Avartana; and the Icon award, which went to chef Shinobu Namae of Tokyo’s L’Effervescence.

Chef Ton of Le Du (centre) celebrates being named number one. (Photo: Asia's 50 Best)

The event marks the 10th anniversary of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, which debuted in Singapore in 2013 and has since been held in various other Asian cities. Last year’s ceremony took place in multiple cities including Tokyo, Bangkok and Hong Kong. This year, for the first time since 2019, the ceremony, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, returned to full-scale, in-person attendance. It also saw the first Asia-based version of 50 Best Signature Sessions, a series of open-to-public dining events in which chefs from around the world collaborated with local chefs.

Here's the full list:

1. Le Du, Bangkok

2. Sezanne, Tokyo

3. Nusara, Bangkok

4. Den, Tokyo

5. Gaggan Anand, Bangkok

6. Odette, Singapore

7. Florilege, Tokyo

8. La Cime, Osaka

9. Sorn, Bangkok

10. Narisawa, Tokyo

11. Labyrinth, Singapore

12. Sazenka, Tokyo

13. The Chairman, Hong Kong

14. Villa Aida, Wakayama

15. Mosu, Seoul

16. Masque, Mumbai

17. Meta, Singapore

18. Fu He Hui, Shanghai

19. Indian Accent, New Delhi

20. Ode, Tokyo

21. Zen, Singapore

22. Suhring, Bangkok

23. Onjium, Seoul

24. Burnt Ends, Singapore

25. Euphoria, Singapore

26. Cloudstreet, Singapore

27. Les Amis, Singapore

28. Mingles, Seoul

29. Neighborhood, Hong Kong

30. Avartana, Chennai

31. Ensue, Shenzhen

32. Cenci, Kyoto

33. Ms Maria & Mr Singh, Bangkok

34. Da Vittorio, Shanghai

35. Potong, Bangkok

36. Born, Singapore

37. Wing, Hong Kong

38. Raan Jay Fai, Bangkok

39. Wing Lei Palace, Macau

40. Anan Saigon, Ho Chi Minh

41. Mono, Hong Kong

42. Toyo Eatery, Manila

43. Sichuan Moon, Macau

44. L’effervescence, Tokyo

45. Mume, Taipei

46. Baan Tepa, Bangkok

47. Born & Bred, Seoul

48. Metiz, Makati

49. Caprice, Hong Kong

50. Refer, Beijing

Source: CNA/my