Michelin has included a cost-effective restaurant category to its new Hong Kong and Macau guide.
- French restaurant ’Caprice’ is the only new restaurant to pick up Michelin’s top rating in Hong Kong
- Chef Vincent Thierry said he had "always looked up to the three-star chefs as if they were God"
Twenty-nine "simple shop" restaurants received star ratings in the guide's second edition, with its highest three-star rating awarded to a pair of French restaurants and one Chinese in Hong Kong and another in nearby Macau.
AdvertisementIn all, 298 establishments -- including restaurants and hotels -- made the 2010 guide, Michelin said.
Michelin's inaugural Hong Kong-Macau edition came under fire last year over claims it focused on high-end eateries, and cared little about giving readers an authentic Chinese dining experience.
Critics also questioned whether the 12 Michelin inspectors, of whom only two were Chinese, had enough exposure to local cuisine to judge its quality.
Michelin baulked at those claims, but the new category suggests it took the criticism to heart.
Some restaurants in the new guide charge as little as 50 Hong Kong dollars (6.50 US) for a meal, highlighting Michelin's commitment to local eateries, it said.
"Hong Kong and Macau are well-known for their simple and local food stalls," Michelin said in a statement.
"Some of the starred restaurants are simple shops serving local food, making them the most affordable starred restaurants in the world."
For the second year, Michelin gave three stars to Lung King Heen, a Cantonese restaurant in the Four Seasons hotel run by chef Chan Yan-tak.
Chan was the first Chinese chef to receive Michelin's top rating in the guide's inaugural edition last year.
Also for the second time, French gastronome Joel Robuchon's Robuchon a Galera in Macau's Grand Lisboa casino resort received a three-star rating.
Caprice, a French restaurant also in Hong Kong's Four Seasons, is the only new restaurant to pick up Michelin's top rating this year.
Chef Vincent Thierry, 38, told AFP that Caprice adapted its menu to local tastes, such as adding fruit to complement meals, like mango with crab or foie gras.
"I introduced salty and sweet, a touch that Chinese people appreciate," he said.
The new guide includes 205 Hong Kong restaurants and 38 in neighbouring Macau. Among the entries are 86 new restaurants. Nine received the two-star rating while 39 received one star, Michelin said.
Three stars indicate "exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey" while two stars mean "excellent cooking, worth a detour". One star promises a "very good restaurant in its category".
Almost 40 different styles of cuisine, from dim sum to Italian, are featured in the guide, which was founded in 1900 as a drivers' companion to restaurants in France.
It made the leap to Asian cities in 2007 with Tokyo's first edition, a hugely popular guide that sold 300,000 copies in its first few weeks after the city became the most starred in the world.
But the 2007 guide provoked criticism and sarcasm among Japanese restaurant owners and food critics, who mocked the ability of French inspectors to judge Japanese cuisine. For the 2008 Japan edition, the inspectors were all Japanese.