You wouldn’t want to bet against Bangkok restaurant Gaggan when it comes to food awards. For the fourth year in a row, the famed Indian restaurant has been ranked No.1 in the prestigious Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
The list, voted for by restaurant industry leaders in Asia, put Tokyo’s Den and Florilège in second and third place, with Singapore’s Odette at fifth place. Eight other Bangkok dining spots also made the list. Japan had the most restaurants named on the list – 11 in total.
Malaysia is still not on the list of honourees since the awards began in 2013 (but we’re winning in other ways).
“You’ve heard me too many times,” Gaggan Anand, the man behind the No.1 restaurant, joked as he accepted the prize (he certainly seems used to winning). “I started cooking 22 years back and dreams do come true, but they come so big and so true – it’s incredible.”
Gaggan is known for its ‘progressive Indian cuisine’, which combines hearty Indian street food with contemporary cooking techniques and molecular gastronomy tools. It was awarded two Michelin stars last year in Bangkok’s first Michelin Guide.
Given how successful the restaurant is, it’s difficult to stomach the fact that it will close in 2020, as Anand believes that “every restaurant has a 10-year life. After that, it becomes a brand.” But it’s not as if Anand is leaving the culinary industry.
Early last year, the Kolkata-born chef revealed plans to open a restaurant annually until 2020. His new ventures include Gaa, Raa, and Sol in Bangkok, GohGan in Japan, as well as a second branch of casual burger restaurant Meatlicious.
Anand is also behind two more Bangkok openings. They are Mihara Tofuten, a copy of the fine dining tofu restaurant run by his close friend Takeshi ‘Goh’ Fukuyama in Japan, and natural wine bar Wet, which only allows phones for taking photos, not messaging or taking calls.