Subjectivity in food is inevitable. Everyone has different tastes, making it virtually impossible to rank or compare restaurants without allowing hints of personal bias to creep in. Nevertheless, experts at renowned culinary organizations like Michelin and San Pellegrino have been doing just that. For decades, these two organizations have annually released comprehensive books and lists which rank the world’s best restaurants and the best restaurants in various regions of the world. In the culinary world, recognition through even one Michelin star or a place on the Top 50 is highly coveted; a promotion or a demotion can make or break a rising chef’s career.Food writer and critic for Food Illustrated William Sitwell, narrated a BBC documentary titled “Michelin Stars: The Madness to Perfection,” which featured multiple chefs dedicating their lives towards receiving Michelin stars. The documentary also discusses how much weight a Michelin star can have in propelling a chef’s career forward. In an interview with Marco Pierre White, a revered Australian chef, the documentary reveals that often times the Michelin guide is dominated by European restaurants and only some parts of the United States.
Given this rich history and fierce competition, it is not entirely surprising that there is not yet a Michelin Guide in Taiwan. However, many restaurants in Taiwan have done more than enough to deserve that title.
If you are looking for a Michelin-worthy culinary experience, your first stop should be RAW. RAW–led by celebrated chefs André Chiang, Alain Huang and Zor Tan–offers a combination of Taiwanese and French cuisine to diners. Their sea urchin, peanut butter, and pea dish has been singled out as one of their best. All three chefs have a background in French techniques and have worked in some of the world’s best restaurants before coming to Taiwan.
Ryujin Taipei also holds an important spot in Taiwan’s culinary scene. The Taipei restaurant is a sister restaurant to a three Michelin star restaurant in the Roppongi district of Tokyo. However, the Taipei branch features cuisine that focuses heavily on on Taiwanese ingredients.
RAW and Ryujin Taipei among other prominent Taipei establishments all deserve Michelin stars. RAW in particular holds a special place in the world’s culinary hierarchy, with the number 24 place on the San Pellegrino’s Asia’s Top 50 Restaurants. So, given the facts, it is easy to say that Taiwanese restaurants have a lot to contribute to their case for a Michelin Guide. Hopefully, these chefs and restaurants’ efforts will be rewarded in the near future.
Featured image: Fish foie gras from Ryujin Taipei. (Photo: Kelly Phil/The Blue & Gold)