Restaurant Gaggan in Bangkok has successfully defended its title as the best dining destination in Asia for the fourth consecutive year in a row at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards.

On March 27 in Macao, some of the most influential, innovative and masterful chefs from across Japan, South Korea, Singapore, China, India, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines, gathered to hear who among them would take the top spots on the annual restaurant ranking.

As the countdown continued with the conspicuous absence of chef Gaggan Anand’s name, it became clear that the group’s favourite chef had secured his title against the competition.

Aside from Gaggan, the city of Tokyo also emerged a big winner this year, landing four spots on the top 10 list, and 11 restaurants on the ranking overall.

Rounding out the podium are Den and Florilege, both in Tokyo.

Organisers credit Anand’s “fertile imagination” and “culinary wit” for endearing him to the judges again this year.

At Gaggan, which serves progressive Indian cuisine, the 25-course menu is written entirely in emojis, setting the tone for the rest of the meal playful and modern.

One of Anand’s signature dishes, “Lick it up”, for instance, is an amusing take on the Kiss song of the same name and is meant to be licked directly from the plate. Layers of green peas, fenugreek mushroom and tomato are placed in exactly the same spots on the tongue’s taste receptors.

The ranking is based on the votes of 300 food writers, critics, chefs, restaurateurs, and “gastronomes” in the region.

Gaggan Anand

Chef Gaggan Anand.

Other big winners of the night include chef Yoshihiro Narisawa, who took home the Chefs’ Choice Award; Nicolas Lambert from Caprice in Hong Kong who was named Asia’s Best Pastry Chef; and Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet in Shanghai for the Art of Hospitality Award.

Chef Andre Chiang accepted his Lifetime Achievement Award and Bee Satongun of Paste in Bangkok also accepted her award for Asia’s Best Female Chef, both of which were previously announced ahead of the event.

Here are Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018:

1. Gaggan, Bangkok
2. Den, Tokyo
3. Florilege, Tokyo
4. Suhring, Bangkok
5. Odette, Singapore
6. Narisawa,Tokyo
7. Amber, Hong Kong
8. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, Shanghai
9. Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo
10. Nahm, Bangkok – AFP Relaxnews

Restaurant Gaggan

Restaurant Gaggan in Bangkok.