A Fine Dining Trip: Michelin Restaurants in Southeast Asia
If you’re a foodie, the act of eating goes far beyond putting morsels of food in your mouth and consuming them until your stomach feels full. A true gourmet expects their food to be a complete experience, something that delights all their senses, not just their taste buds. When it comes to food experiences, you can expect Michelin Restaurants to give you the best. Here is a list of some of the most noteworthy Michelin-starred dining establishments in Southeast Asia.
Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle
78 Smith St, Singapore 058972
You’d expect a Michelin-starred restaurant to sport haute décor for its interior design, a pricey wine list, and a dress code just to get inside. The Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle destroys all stereotypes of dining establishments awarded with that elusive Michelin star. Why? The “restaurant” is a hawker’s stall in the non-air conditioned Chinatown Complex food court in Singapore.
But don’t you dare turn up your nose at this stall’s pedestrian atmosphere or lack of pretentiousness. Even before it earned its sole Michelin star, the Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle has built a reputation for dishing up some of the best hawker food in Singapore. A labor of love by owner and Malaysian-born chef Chan Hon Meng, the stall has developed a cult following since its establishment in 1980. And with the average dish priced just under US$2, the stall is sure to give you the cheapest Michelin-rated meal you’d ever eat. Just be prepared to spend an hour or two queuing for your food. This is probably one of the cheapest Michelin restaurants you can eat in.
5th Floor, MahaNakhon CUBE, 96 Narathiwas Ratchanakharin Rd, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand
When you step inside a restaurant that bears the name of one of the most revered Michelin-starred chefs in the world, you can reasonably expect your dining experience to be beyond spectacular. In this regard, l’Atelier de Joel Robuchon certainly does not disappoint. From its tasteful décor to the drool-worthy treats listed in its menu, an evening at this Bangkok branch of Joel Robuchon’s restaurant empire is an evening you won’t forget.
The lavish red-and-grey interior is designed to heighten the senses in anticipation of the food. The centerpiece of the dining area is the open kitchen, with counter seating that encourages diners to interact with the chef and the staff while dining. Of course, you can opt for table service if you wish.
What about the food? Executive chef Olivier Limousin provides a decadent array of dishes in the contemporary French cuisine that nonetheless sport surprising twists. For instance, the foie gras terrine is served with spicy chutney sauce, while the beef entrée comes with wasabi. Staff interaction is one of the most delightful elements of the dining experience at l’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, and sometimes, Chef Robuchon himself makes an appearance.
Bai Bac, Son Tra Peninsula, Danang, Vietnam
Fine dining establishments always take great pains to create a unique ambiance designed to entertain their patrons and enhance their dining experience. It’s what InterContinental Da Nang had in mind when it first conceptualized La Maison 1888.
Situated within the extensive grounds of the resort’s property, La Maison 1888 taps the French connection to the Vietnamese consciousness. The restaurant is made to look like an antique French mansion that is supposed to have belonged to a French-Eurasian family. Overall, the restaurant has an air of luxury and gentility. The private rooms, however, depict a deeper characterization of the fictional family to whom the mansion is supposed to have belonged. For instance, Le Boudoir de Madame, with its brass bed and its pearl-strewn dresser, is a room dripping with sensuality. On the other hand, the Traveler’s Room reveals the treasures that a thrill-seeking adventurer may have picked up from their journeys around the world, while the Accountant’s Room is a fastidiously decorated room with rows of typewriters and counting machines.
La Maison 1888 is the brainchild of Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux, who helped establish La Maison 1888 as the premiere fine-dining establishment in Vietnam. In 2015, fellow Michelin-starred chef Pierre Gagnaire took over the reins in the mansion’s kitchen. Chef Gagnaire has infused La Maison 1888’s timeless French cuisine with his direct approach to the art that is food.
80 University Avenue, Bahan Township, Yangon, Myanmar
Myanmar is a country in transition after decades of strife and military dictatorship. But it’s a reality you’re sure to forget as soon as you step into the grounds of the estate that is the Le Planteur. This Michelin-starred restaurant is considered the best fine dining establishment in the entire country, and it’s not at all difficult to see why. The waterfront estate it occupies boasts of a gracious mansion and extensive gardens with lovely views of the Inya Lake. Combining the best of French elegance with Burmese flair, Le Planteur provides the setting for a truly romantic gourmet getaway.
Le Planteur offers four types of dining experiences: gourmet, bistro, high tea, and wine bar. The gourmet section of the restaurant offers Le Planteur’s signature fine dining and offering mouthwatering treats like seared foie gras, fire-grilled angus, and giant prawn ravioli. The bistro section, which is open only for a number of months per year, has a lineup of quick and affordable lunch sets, including a kids’ menu. The wine bar is reminiscent of the Spanish tapas scene, while the high tea gives you a taste of how the British upper class spends their afternoons.
Le Planteur was established in 1998 by Swiss-French chef Boris Granges. Through the years, it has become a favorite haunt of tourists, expats, and the well-heeled denizens of Yangon, Its kitchens are currently headed by the world renowned executive chef Gil Dumoulin.
JL. Raya Sanggingan, Ubud, 80571, Kedewatan, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
The island of Bali in Indonesia is believed to be one of the most beautiful places on the planet. It gives definition to what a tropical island paradise should be like. At the center of that paradise, in the artistic village of Ubud, you will find the Michelin-starred Mozaic Restaurant.
Mozaic is somewhat of an institution in Bali. Owned by Michelin-starred chef Chris Salans, Mozaic has been on the island for around 13 years. Not only does it provide options for a Balinese-infused French fine dining cuisine on the island, it also offers catering services and French cooking workshops. Its workshops teach tourists and local food connoisseurs how to create elegant and flavorful French dishes using ingredients readily available on the island.
What’s the dining experience like in Mozaic? At Mozaic, you have the option to dine indoors or al fresco, depending on the weather. Al fresco dining in Mozaic means sitting outdoors under a canopy created by palms and other tropical trees. An open kitchen lets you in on the action; you can entertain yourself by watching the kitchen staff create the patrons’ meals. If your table is not ready yet, you can relax and sip a delicious cocktail at the restaurant’s chic lounge area.
As for the food, Mozaic’s menu features standard French dishes like foie gras. But the menu changes daily and the staff uses locally sourced ingredients. So you can expect your order to have a Balinese twist here and there, such as jackfruits, rendang oil, and local seafood. Don’t be afraid to ask for wine recommendations to go with your meal. Mozaic has an excellent wine cellar, and each drop is worth every penny.
Level 56, Menara 3 Petronas, Persiaran KLCC, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Ever since it first burst out in the New York City fine dining scene in 1994, Nobu has created a name out of shaking up long-standing notions and traditions regarding Japanese haute cuisine, at the same time shocking purists with its colorful and audacious blend of traditional Japanese sushi-making techniques and Peruvian flavors. Two decades and 28 branches scattered across the world later, this Michelin-starred restaurant has become a favorite among foodies who like a little bit of splash and pizzazz with their sushi.
It’s no surprise that Nobu has chosen Kuala Lumpur as the location of its first branch in Southeast Asia. After all, Kuala Lumpur is a foodie mecca, and its denizens are known to be fastidious food connoisseurs. Nobu has gone all out in its attempts to win the hearts and taste buds of these local gourmets by pairing its luscious take on Japanese cuisine with its tasteful, wood-dominated décor. Nobu Kuala Lumpur may look a little bit understated compared to its sister-branches in Las Vegas or New York, but the simplicity of its interiors only serves to highlight the glorious 360-degree view of the Kuala Lumpur skyline from its full-length windows. From the restaurant’s vantage point at the 56th level of Menara Petronas, you can stare at the magnificent Petronas Towers up close and personal.
What about the food? About 90% of Nobu Kuala Lumpur’s menu features signature Nobu dishes, such as Nobu tacos and umami sea bass. The remaining 10% leaves enough room for executive head chef Philip Leong to play and surprise diners with dishes made with local ingredients. The food is also halal, out of respect for the predominantly Muslim Malaysian diners.
1, Jalan 2/109e, Taman Desa Busines Park, 58100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
You won’t find a lack of restaurants and food court stalls offering scrumptious Cantonese cuisine in Kuala Lumpur. But if you want to make your Cantonese dining experience a truly stellar and unforgettable one, you should head on to Pang’s Kitchen in Taman Desa.
Pang’s Kitchen is a branch of the popular Michelin one-star restaurant of the same name located in Hong Kong’s Happy Valley. As the story goes, the original Hong Kong owners of the restaurant were reluctant to branch out elsewhere because they were uncertain whether they’d be able to maintain the quality of the dining experience that won them their Michelin star in the first place. Eventually, they were persuaded by their Malaysian partners to open their Kuala Lumpur branch so Malaysian foodies can enjoy their exquisite offerings.
The food at Pang’s Kitchen is indeed exquisite. The restaurant’s home-cooked Cantonese offerings are as close to perfection as they can get. It can be difficult to choose what to order from the array of more than 100 dishes on the menu, not including the wine list. But definitely a must-try is its signature dish, the sweet and sour pork with strawberries. If you want your fine dining experience to have a touch of comfort, then you should order the scrambled egg white with scallops or the congee with shredded dry sea scallop. With its lovely food, its casual décor, and its relaxing atmosphere, you’re sure to leave Pang’s Kitchen with a full tummy and a satisfied smile.
333 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238867
Szechuan cuisine is famous throughout the world for its boldness and its use of uniquely flavored hot peppers. Singapore has plenty of dining establishments offering a taste of Szechuan cuisine. Certainly one of the best places to enjoy food in this cooking style originating in southwestern China is Shisen Hanten, a Michelin two-star restaurant at Mandarin Oriental Singapore.
The Shisen Hanten is the first international branch of the famous restaurant chain based in Yokohama, Japan. Its founder, Szechuan native Chen Kenmin, made a name for himself and his restaurant by bringing the cuisine of his province to Japanese consciousness. His son, Chen Kenichi, expanded the business further and became one of the most popular iron chefs Japan has ever produced. The restaurant has been in the family for three generations now, and the Singapore branch is in the hands of Chef Kenichi’s son Chen Kentaro.
While the Shisen Hanten at the Mandarin Oriental Singapore carries the signature style of its mother restaurant back in Japan, Chen Kentaro adds his own style to the selection of dishes. For instance, the menu includes wagyu beef stir-fried with Sichuan chili peppers, a dish Chef Kentaro is known for. If you can’t make up your mind what to try at Shisen Hanten, you can always go for the dim sum menu, which has a wide variety of dim sum treats a typical Chinese brunch is supposed to have. Or you can order the London roast duck, which is Irish duck meat marinated and cooked in Chinese herbs. Whatever dish you choose, it’s sure to make your mouth water in anticipation.
Fine dining is an experience that goes way beyond putting food in your mouth and consuming it until you’re full. It should be an experience that entices and fascinates your whole being. By virtue of the stars they are awarded with, these Michelin-starred restaurants in Southeast Asia definitely know their game. They are guaranteed to give you lasting memories of a truly delightful evening of fine dining.
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