Important work my friends!!! We have all been invited to vote for our favourite restaurants in Asia-Pacific.
Restaurant Magazine’s ‘The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2006’ results, much like previous years, show a very European and American centric view of the world’s best restaurants. Of the Top 50, some 39 came from Europe and the top five countries were: France (10), USA (8), Spain (6), UK (6) and Italy (4).
In response to Restaurant Magazine’s revelations, Singaporean food blogger, Chubby Hubby, has decided to launch his own poll, Asia Pacific Best Restaurants List, to get a more accurate insight into our region’s shining culinary stars.
This survey is open to anyone around the world to vote on restaurants located in Asia-Pacific which includes the Indian subcontinent, the Central Asian states, all the Pacific Islands, Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, East Timor, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, North Korea, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
Voting ends on 12 June. To participate visit Chubby Hubby’s blog by
Chubby Hubby, has a lot to say about the Restaurant Magazine results and his opinion is worth listening to: he was one of the 560 invitation-only voters that took part in Restaurant Magazine’s high profile survey. According to him “Of the 560 voters, 280 are from Europe, 78 from the Americas, 47 from Africa, 31 from the Middle East, 31 from Central Asia and Russia, 62 from Asia, and 31 from Australia and New Zealand”, which makes the whole survey skewed towards Europe.
Voters had to select two restaurants from within their region and three from outside their region. When understanding regions, it was extremely interesting to discover from Chubby Hubby’s blog that France was considered as one region whereas the somewhat ignorantly named ‘Far East’ included Brunei, Burma (not even Myanmar!), Cambodia, China, East Timor, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Micronesia, Nauru, North Korea, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam!!!!
Are we beginning to get the picture?
Chubby Hubby elaborates “Similarly, the UK & Ireland; the Benelux countries; Spain & Portugal; Denmark, Sweden and Norway; Italy; Austria, Germany & Switzerland; and the Baltics were distinct regions, each with 31 voters. Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and Georgia had 16 voters; Eastern Europe also had 16 voters. If you consider that every voter was asked to pick two restaurants from their own region, we get a minimum 560 required votes cast for European restaurants. In Asia, we have only a minimum of 124 required votes. Further, voters hailing from the Far East region are barred from voting for any other restaurants from the 20 countries in this region. A voter in France, however, can cast his or her 3 extra votes for restaurants anywhere in Europe outside of France. S/he can vote for restaurants in Spain, England, Germany, etc. Anyone can see that this survey is thus biased towards restaurants in Europe. No surprise then that 39 of the survey's top fifty are restaurants from Europe. From the "next fifty", 35 of 50 restaurants are based in Europe.”
I agree with Chubby Hubby’s sentiments that if you’re going to claim ‘the Far East’ is one region then surely ‘Europe’ should be considered one region too? If we’re going to recognise that French, Spanish, Italian and even Basque dishes are all very individual then surely they can understand the difference between the cuisine of Thailand, China and Korea? I was also a bit surprised that not one Japanese restaurant was listed in the Top 100. When Japan’s cuisine is so internationally influential, and puts such high importance on quality ingredients and immaculate presentation, I find it hard to imagine it cannot place even one restaurant in the Top 100 of any reasonable global restaurant poll.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not questioning the quality of any of the Top 100 restaurants, and I also think the results are a very valuable source of information on Europe and America’s best culinary destinations – but I do think in order for Restaurant Magazine to claim their list is truly the “world’s best” they need to expand their colonial concept of what constitutes the world.
Let’s try and even out some of the disparity. Please, vote in the Asia-Pacific Best Restaurants List before 12 June 2006!!!