That’s it. The first ever MICHELIN Guide Vietnam has been announced. And it all happened in The Platinum Ballroom at Hanoi’s The One Convention Centre on June 6th, 2023.
Đọc bài viết bằng Tiếng Việt
There has been intense debate and discussion since The MICHELIN Guide’s big reveal was announced on December 1st last year. That’s because getting a star (or two or three) or losing them can impact a restaurant dramatically. Gordon Ramsay famously called the MICHELIN Guide the “Oscars of the restaurant industry.” So, the arrival of the guide in Vietnam is a big deal.
The Inspection Process
Since the announcement of the MICHELIN Guide coming to Vietnam, anonymous inspectors have been assessing restaurants in Vietnam based on their five criteria: quality of ingredients, flavor and techniques, the personality of the chef in the food, value for money, and consistency – as different inspectors will visit and share notes to reach a consensus.
Although the MICHELIN Guide has been suspected of bias towards Euro-centric and Japanese cuisines, the organization points out that their inspectors do not look for any particular cooking style or trend – they simply try to reflect what they find.
Vietnam’s Top Chefs Congregated For The MICHELIN Guide Vietnam 2023 Announcement
And so Vietnam’s top chefs, who have been holding their breaths since the announcement in December, dutifully congregated in Hanoi, to participate in the launch of the MICHELIN Guide Vietnam 2023 for Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
The MICHELIN Guide Vietnam’s focus on Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City helped direct the chatter towards Vietnam’s capital and its buzzing southern metropolis, more commonly known as Saigon.
In truth, only a limited number of fine dining restaurants were likely in with a chance. In Hanoi, there’s Hoang Tung’s T.U.N.G Dining, Quang Dung’s Chapter Grill & Dining, Sam Tran’s GIA Restaurant, and Hibana, the Capella Hanoi’s teppanyaki restaurant helmed by Junichi Yoshida.
And, in Saigon, there’s Hoang Tung’s second restaurant Å by TUNG, the Vietnam branch of Da Vittorio led by Matteo Fontana, Peter Cuong Franklin’s ANAN Saigon, Julien Perraudin’s Quince Saigon, Francis Thuan’s Esta Eatery, Chef Thierry Mounon’s La Villa, Herve Rodriguez’ Herve Dining, and Tomohiro Sawaguchi’s Sushi Rei.
Expectations For MICHELIN Guide Vietnam 2023
The MICHELIN Guide’s announcements can be conservative. Their inspectors are frugal with their one-star awards, and carefully consider the impact of a second star before giving one. They’ll often give one star first and wait at least another year to offer another rather than award two immediately.
Additionally, as stars can remain in place for years – Restaurant Paul Bocuse famously kept its three-stars for a colossal 54 years – handing them out gradually helps to add some excitement to the MICHELIN Guide’s annual announcement.
And the MICHELIN Guide appears to get more conservative every year. The various country launches of the MICHELIN Guide in Asia over the past decade are good examples. At the launch of its first Singapore guide, in 2016, the MICHELIN inspectors gave out 29 stars, and 34 Bib Gourmands.
The 2018 MICHELIN Guide Bangkok saw only 17 restaurants receive one or two stars. Additionally there were 35 Bib Gourmands handed out.
Most recently, at the 13th December 2022 announcement of the first ever MICHELIN Guide for Malaysia, limited to restaurants in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, only two restaurants in KL and two in Penang received one-star accolades. The 32 Bib Gourmands handed out were split between the two cities (17 in Penang and 15 in Kuala Lumpur).
Beyond The Stars
Although the MICHELIN Guide’s coveted stars usually hog the headlines, the wide-ranging guide also includes MICHELIN Selected restaurants, the long list of recommended places to eat in a country, Bib Gourmands, which are awards given to recommended great-value restaurants, and MICHELIN Guide Special Awards, given as recognition for outstanding work in the industry.
It’s also big news when a street food restaurant wins a star too. The Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle restaurant and Singapore’s Tai Hwa Pork Noodle both received one in 2016, and, in 2018, Jay Fai got one too for her Baan Jay Fai.
And Vietnam’s First Michelin Stars Went To…
And so, the award winners were announced between the five-course dinner, each one prepared by a different chef — locals Hoang Tung and Sam Tran, Chumpol Jangprai, from Bangkok’s R-Haan, Jun Lee from Soigné in Seoul, and Pierrick Marie from Truffle Restaurant in Saigon.
The wide-ranging list of 70 Michelin Selected Restaurants wildly scattered commendations across restaurants like A Ban, Herve Dining Room, Chapter, Da Vittorio, La Villa, Nen Light, A By TUNG and T.U.N.G Dining, and Quince Eatery. And local spots like Bun Cha Dac Kim and Bun Thit Nuong Hoang Van.
29 Bib Gourmands included lots of institutions like Cuc Gach Quan and Hum Garden, and Dim Tu Tac, and a host of pho restaurants — Pho Hoa Pasteur, Pho Phuong, Pho Ga Nguyet.
And the MICHELIN Stars went to Sam Tran’s Gia, Hibana at the Capella, both in Hanoi and in Saigon, Peter Cuong Franklin’s Anan. But the biggest surprise of the night was saved till last, with the final star going to Nhà hàng Tầm Vị in Hanoi.
There were the Special Awards too, announced before the stars, that went to Sommelier Yu Yamamoto, from Saigon’s LỬA, the Service Award for Thi Nu Nguyen from Vietnam House, and the Young Chef Award, that went to Sam Tran from GIA Hanoi.