Wok the Vote

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I’d like to address the question of Western bias, but not in the area of news or politics. I speak, instead, of the far more pressing issue of fine dining.
Last year, the editors of the so-called World’s 50 Best Restaurants list included just one Chinese restaurant in it (see my piqued post about it here, but you’ll have to scroll down almost to the end). It wasn’t even a proper Chinese restaurant—it was the heavily Westernized and rather silly Hakkasan in London’s West End.
This year, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list blanks not only China but the entire region—an affront that has left many Asian gourmands aghast. However, the Singaporean media consultant Aun Koh—who authors a well known food blog—has decided, quite sensibly, that there’s no point in Asians getting upset at being left out of Western lists when we can create our own instead. To that end, he’ll be launching the Miele Guide in October 2008. I can’t recall any previous publications that attempted to rank the region’s restaurants in a credible manner, so Mr. Koh could be onto something of a first.
The methodology involves submissions from Asian food critics and anonymous restaurant reviews, but the public also has a say. I draw your attention to the polls that will soon be held at mieleguide.com. This is a chance to vote for the best restaurants in China, Hong Kong and further afield, and if, like me, you feel that Western critics have been pronouncing pompously on Asian food for far too long, you’ll be eager to make use of it.

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