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Only three Korean restaurants make Asia’s top 50 list

March 12, 2015
Chef Kim Sung-il of "La Yeon" (center), poses with Chef Ryu Tae-hwan of "Ryunique" (left) and Chef Yim Jung-sik of "Jungsik," at the award ceremony of Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2015 held in Singapore, Monday. (Courtesy of S. Pellegrino)

Chef Kim Sung-il of “La Yeon” (center), poses with Chef Ryu Tae-hwan of “Ryunique” (left) and Chef Yim Jung-sik of “Jungsik,” at the award ceremony of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015 held in Singapore, Monday.
(Courtesy of S. Pellegrino)

By Kim Bo-eun

Despite the hype over the globalization of “hansik” or Korean food, only three Korean restaurants made it onto Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015, an annual listing released in Singapore this week.

Chef Yim Jung-sik’s flagship restaurant “Jungsik” was named as Korea’s top dining spot, and came in 10th overall on the list. It was followed by Chef Ryu Tae-hwan’s “Ryunique” in 27th place and Chef Kim Sung-il’s “La Yeon” which ranked 38th.

The Diners Club Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, comprised of 300 food journalists, critics, chefs, restaurant managers and gourmets in the Asian restaurant scene selected the restaurants.

Jungsik in upscale Cheongdam-dong in Seoul incorporates traditional ingredients to create a modern version of Korean cuisine. Chef Lim opened Jungsik in 2009, and since then has opened a more casual bistro in Seoul, as well as an outpost in New York.

Ryunique in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul, presents modern fusion cuisine with a French accent. It is known for its experimental presentation and contemporary cooking methods.

La Yeon, located in the Shilla Hotel in central Seoul, offers Korean fine dining, using local seasonal produce. Along with its ranking, it was named as a “restaurant to watch.”

However, the restaurant scene in Korea still lags behind many of its neighbors. China had 16 restaurants, Singapore 10 and Japan eight on the list. Local restaurants here have also yet to earn a Michelin rating. 

Bangkok’s “Gaggan”, which offers Indian cuisine with a modern twist, jumped two places to top the list this year.

 

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