METRO PLUS

Foodies, cast your vote

The Miele team (From left) Aum Koh, Pauline and Tan su-lyn

The Miele team (From left) Aum Koh, Pauline and Tan su-lyn  



The Miele Guide 2009/2010 edition will feature 400 restaurants across Asia



Breakfast in Brunei? Cappuccino in Cambodia? Supper in Singapore? “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” might have been romantic. Now, Hepburn’s classic Danish, coffee and diamonds have some spirited competition. Think ‘Dhokla at Dilli Haat.’ (Though we have to admit, it doesn’t have the same ring to it.)

As Asia lures plush business travellers, misty-eyed romantics and batik-swathed truth-seekers, it’s colourful, flamboyant, individual food traditions are gaining in confidence and popularity. Croissants, crepes and croque monsieurs have had their share of glory. Now, people the world over are slowing waking up to the glories of fragrant Singaporean Laksa, spongy Hong Kong dim sum or fragrant Indian methi parathas.

The perfect atmosphere, really, for the annual Miele guide, which was launched last year.

Pauline Ooi, Associate Publisher of The Miele Guide, says one of the goals of this guide is to “reflect the tastes of Asians.” Last year’s inaugural 2008/2009 edition profiled 320 restaurants in Asia based on opinions of critics, public votes, votes of The Miele Guide’s invited jury, as well as anonymous tastings conducted by The Miele Guide’s contributing editors and editorial team.

“It is vital that The Miele Guide reflects the tastes of the dining public in Asia,” says Ooi, talking of how the popular Zagat’s ratings and reviews are not considered significant benchmarks by Asian foodies and critics. Michelin, a powerful guide in Europe has fared only marginally better. “Michelin’s own foray into Tokyo, while a success from a sales point of view, has garnered a lot of criticism from some of Japan’s most respected food critics and writers, and even Tokyo’s own mayor,” she says. “We are, of course, aware of the importance of the Michelin Guide in Europe, and the Zagat Guide in the U.S., but no guide currently exists in Asia which has that kind of influence. Our aim is to create a guide which is unique to Asia, which reflects the dining tastes of the Asian public, and which will have the same kind of clout as these guides now do in their respective regions.”

Public voting for the new edition of The Miele Guide is open at >www.mieleguide.com till May 24, 2009. As an added incentive, if you log on and give your opinion, you could win a set of Zwiesel 1872 crystal glassware, worth up to US$2,100. “Last year, for The Miele Guide 2008/2009, we had over 15,000 registered voters, from over 40 countries, casting over 75,000 votes for the restaurants they believe are Asia’s best via the online survey,” says Ooi.

She goes on to talk of how they plan to make this edition bigger. “In addition to ranking Asia’s top 20 restaurants, we will be listing the top five restaurants in each country represented in the guide this year. We discovered so many fantastic restaurants in Asia through voter participation last year. By adding rankings for the top five restaurants in each country in our next edition, we believe that we will be able to offer a stronger showcase for our region’s top chefs and restaurateurs, and deliver a more useful product at the same time.”

The 2009/2010 edition will feature 400 restaurants across Asia. In addition to the 16 Asian countries it covered last year (including India, Brunei, Cambodia, China and Vietnam), it adds Nepal and Mongolia to the mix this time.

“The rationale behind The Miele Guide is quite simple actually. We are putting this guide together because our region still does not have a comprehensive Asian standard across which our restaurants can be judged and through which our very best restaurants can get the recognition that they richly deserve. Sadly, while we have many restaurants that many of my peers and I believe are as good as any of those in the West, the avenues through which these restaurants can be publicised are still very limited,” says Ooi. “What we are hoping to do, through The Miele Guide, is raise the profile of Asia’s top restaurants and to make them as well known as their counterparts overseas. So, it isn’t so much an issue of numbers, but that we’re endeavouring to draw attention to the culinary richness of Asia as a region.”

(You can also order The Miele Guide online from >www.mieleguide.com and also from Amazon.com.)

SHONALI MUTHALALY

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