Twenty-nine restaurants were named yesterday as bronze winners in The Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao Best Asian Restaurants Awards.
The awards, given out for the second year, celebrate the best in Asian dining in Singapore, and winning restaurants are ranked in bronze, silver and gold categories.
Hua Yu Wee Seafood Restaurant in Upper East Coast Road and Tonny Restaurant in Geylang Lorong 3 won again in the bronze category, which featured 30 winners last year.
Making their debut on the list are Mikuni in Fairmont Singapore, Nanjing Impressions in Plaza Singapura and Yantra in Tanglin Mall. Others on the list include Kappo Shunsui at Cuppage Plaza, Sky View Pavilion at Singapore Flyer and Peach Garden at OCBC Centre.
The silver and gold recipients will be announced at an invitation-only gala reception at the Grand Hyatt Singapore on April 16.
Restaurants are judged on the quality of food and service. The judges are The Straits Times' Life editor Tan Hsueh Yun, deputy Life editor Wong Ah Yoke and food correspondent Eunice Quek, as well as Lianhe Zaobao food correspondents Marcus Yeo, Ng Chin Chin and Ng Yimin.
This year, there are four personality awards, up from two last year. The new awards are Manager of the Year and Special Recognition. The other two are Chef of the Year and Lifetime Achievement. These will be announced next week.
The bronze list
• Akashi (Orchard Parade Hotel)
• Blue Lotus Chinese Eating House
• Elemen (Millenia Walk)
• Hua Yu Wee Seafood Restaurant
• Kappo Shunsui
• Kaiseki Yoshiyuki
• Lei Garden Restaurant
• Long Beach Seafood Restaurant
• Man Man Unagi Restaurant
• Nanjing Impressions
• National Kitchen by Violet Oon
• Peach Garden (OCBC Centre)
• Putien Restaurant (Kitchener Road)
• Sabai Fine Thai On The Bay
• Samy's Curry
• Sky View Pavilion
• Tao Seafood Asia
• Teochew Restaurant Huat Kee
• The Banana Leaf Apolo
• The Famous Kitchen
• Tong Le Private Dining
• Tonny Restaurant
• Tung Lok Signatures (Orchard Parade Hotel)
• Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant
• Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant
• Yantra by Hemant Oberoi
• Yakiniku Yazawa
The annual awards programme is part of a year-long gourmet festival, Asian Masters, which features a series of wine dinners, chef collaboration meals and culinary workshops held from March 17 to April 17. The festival will continue with dining and cocktail promotions in the coming months.
Asian Masters is organised by Sphere Exhibits, a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings, and food and beverage consultancy Poulose Associates.
Tonny Restaurant's owner and chef Tonny Chan, 56, was thrilled with the accolade.
He said in Mandarin: "The food scene here is very competitive. Diners have a wide variety of choices, and I did not take it for granted that my restaurant could win again this year. The award affirms my belief that there is a place for traditional Cantonese cuisine. The challenge for me is to showcase Cantonese cooking methods in novel ways that can excite my regulars and appeal to the younger generation."
Mr Teo Ah Chye, 61, chef of Hua Yu Wee Seafood Restaurant, which has been operating at its current location since the 1950s, said: "We have been serving our signature dishes like chilli crab and black pepper crab for decades, and I feel happy that people still appreciate our traditional ways of cooking."
Managing director Zhao Heng, 36, of Nanjing Dahui Enterprise Development, which owns Nanjing Impressions, said the award boosts its efforts to preserve and promote Jiangsu's culinary heritage. The firm has a chain of 50 outlets in China, and the Plaza Singapura eatery is its first overseas branch. He said: "We will continue with the use of traditional Nanjing cooking methods to let diners enjoy the natural flavours of fresh produce."
The Straits Times' Ms Tan said: "I am glad that heritage restaurants such as Hua Yu Wee continue to keep standards high. Many restaurants just lose steam after a while. I would say to all the other restaurants: Don't let things slide. Chef Chan says that the restaurant scene here is competitive. I would say the competition is brutal."
• For more information, go to www.asianmasters.com.sg
• For more stories on Asian Masters, go to http://str.sg/4skX