‘Progressive Cook’ Gaggan Anand’s eponymous restaurant in Bangkok took the title of Asia’s Best for the second year in a row for this year’s Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant list. This also marks the first time the list, which was started in 2013, has had a consecutive winner in its short history. Previous top winners include Japanese restaurant Narisawa and Thai restaurant Nahm.
Anand’s style of cooking has been known as playful, yet never at the expense of taste. With a deep love for his own country’s cuisine and a modernizing touch, Anand has pushed Indian street food into the ranks of fine dining.
“There are 26 cuisines in India and each cuisine is so different from each other. I could make 26 Gaggans with these 26 different cuisines… it’s so diverse” he said in an interview with Fine Dining Lovers last year.
The chef also picked up his flair from a stint in the kitchen of elBulli under the ever inventive Ferran Adrià. Some of the dishes have names such as ‘Who Killed The Goat?’ (lamb chops cooked sous vide) and ‘I Want My Curry!’ (crab curry served in tiffin pots).
A fine example of the chef’s culinary skills at work can be seen here, displaying his dish ‘The Story of a Fish called Kin-Medai’. This dish is segmented into four parts, starting off with a beautiful red cut of fish sprinkled with yellow-orange spice powder.
In his interview for Asia’s 50 best, Anand expressed confidence at what winning the award entails:
“We just want to make sure if we were given the responsibility of being the best restaurant in Asia, we must make sure that every guest feels it”
“The world is getting smaller and we got more bolder, this whole Asia’s 50 best made us more bold, it made us do what we wanted to do. The menu is, the kitchen is, everything is what we want to do, not what people want us to cook.”
Anand also made reference to other Bangkok restaurants and chefs on the list such as Issaya and David Thompson (who won the Lifetime Achievement award this year). He expressed how the award emboldened his work and helped to shine a spotlight on a region eclipsed by the other Western gastronomic capitals. He noted how it was rare to find a restaurant fully-booked in the country in the past.
“Everyone’s sharing the success of Asia’s 50 best. Suddenly things have changed in the world.”
The highest new entry for the year was Mingles, in Seoul, South Korea. It also claimed the title of Best Restaurant in Korea. With the advent of the list, more and more of the continent’s best cuisine is being illuminated.
The full list can be viewed here
The Top 10 for 2016
1. Gaggan, Bangkok, Thailand
2. Narisawa, Tokyo, Japan
3. Restaurant Andre, Singapore
4. Amber, Hong Kong
5. Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo
6. Waku Ghin, Singapore
7. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, Shanghai
8. Nahm, Bangkok
9. Indian Accent, New Delhi
10. Lung King Heen, Hong Kong
This story was written in-house, from a variety of sources, including the AFP wire service. Images are courtesy of Gaggan.