Asia’s 10 Best Restaurants

Lifestyle Desk,
Asia’s 10 Best Restaurants

Asia’s 10 Best Restaurants

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From authentic Thai to European inspired recipes with an Asian twist, these restaurants excel at delivering culinary encounters that aren’t easily forgotten.

As the hospitality industry continues to bounce back from the restrictions of the last two years, Asia’s best chefs and restaurant owners look forward to sharing their hyper-seasonal creations with the global food community once again.

Since launching 10 years ago, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants – sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna – recently unveiled its prestigious list for 2022. With Japan in the lead, closely followed by Thailand and Singapore, boasting the most entries, this year’s winner was Tokyo’s Den.

In previous years Den, conceived by chef Zaiyu Hasegawa, ranked consistently high as Japan’s voted best restaurant every year since 2018. Renowned for its playfulness, Hasegawa’s dishes are a perfect marriage of contemporary meets traditional Japanese cuisine, of which the Dentucky Fried Chicken is a prime example.

Chefs, restaurateurs, industry VIPs and the media were brought together across three different events in Bangkok, Macau and Tokyo to celebrate the top 50 chefs in Asia.

“In its 10th year, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants proudly continues the tradition of rewarding culinary excellence and guiding diners to the most unique gastronomic experiences across the continent,” explains William Drew, Director of Content for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Get ready as we take you behind the scenes of the top culinary destinations in Asia and examine the philosophies and experiences underpinning the success of each chef.

1. Den, Tokyo

While growing up, Owner and Chef at Den, Zaiyu Hasegawa became fascinated by traditional Japanese cuisine. As a geisha his mum would bring home Bento for him from the ryotei (fine dining restaurant) where she worked.

While Hasegawa’s career began in one of these exclusive restaurants, Den’s philosophy is more of an elevated expression of Japanese home cooking. While the menu coincides with the changing seasons, the restaurant is renowned for its chicken wings, signature salad, snow crab tofu glazed with mizore sauce and donabe-gohan – rice heated in an earthen pot and paired with wagyu beef or seafood.

“Thanks to the support of producers, the vegetables we use are grown without pesticides or chemical fertilisers. Our specialty salad expresses our connection to farmers and is a fun way for diners to see what came out of the garden,” Hasegawa says.

In 2019 Den was also recognised for its heart-warming hospitality, earning the Art of Hospitality Award at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

2. Sorn, Bangkok

Sorn’s Head Chef Supaksorn Jongsiri became deeply inspired by southern Thai cuisine from his grandmother. His menu today is not only bursting with flavour and encompasses the cultural diversity of the South, but each dish is served at the right temperature – introducing a unique element to Thai cuisine.

If you’re lucky enough to secure a reservation at Sorn you can expect a one-of-a-kind service you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Staff are specially trained to delight guests with stories of Jongsiri’s vision and memories that inform each dish.

Combining the most highly-prized parts of a crab and coated in crab roe paste, Kan Chu Piang – gems on crab stick – is arguably a winning dish whose flavour is enhanced by piquant orange chilli sauce.

3. Florilège, Tokyo

If you’re looking for an experience that goes beyond the everyday Florilège is likely to pique your interest. With innovative French cuisine openly prepared for all eyes to see, Chef Hiroyasu Kawate provides a rare encounter for guests who desire a more transparent sensory experience.

With ingredients sourced locally and seasonally, Kawate’s dishes are imbued with a distinct Japanese quality. The restaurant specialises in preparing meals with sophisticated techniques that are served in Japanese style plates and bowls.

4. Le Du, Bangkok

A seemingly French name, Le Du in fact derived from the Thai word for ‘season’. Thitid Tassanakajohn, a master chef and restaurant empire builder co-founded the restaurant around the concept of regional Thai cooking with a French twist.

Trained in the US, Tassanakajohn’s menu showcases the finest local and seasonal ingredients, which are combined with modern cooking techniques. Le Du’s wines are sourced from around the globe and are carefully selected by Tassanakajohn who’s also a certified sommelier.

While Le Du’s menu is constantly changing, there is one dish Khao kluk kapi – river prawn paired with brown rice risotto and shrimp paste – that is synonymous with the restaurant and what it stands for.

5. The Chairman, Hong Kong

The Chairman was the first restaurant in Hong Kong to earn the prestigious title of The Best Restaurant in Asia, and for good reason. While the menu is contemporary, tradition and seasonal fresh ingredients play an important role in continuing the legacy of Cantonese cuisine.

Rare delicacies from southern China, including 20-year-old pickled lemon, sugar-roasted chrysanthemum and mini water crabs are procured from the most remote villages in China.

A favourite is undoubtedly the steamed flowery crab served with Chinese wine, clam juice and flat rice noodles.

6. La Chime, Osaka

La Cime, meaning summit in French, sets the bar high when it comes to delivering classic cuisine expressed through modern cooking techniques. Its star chef Yusuke Takada began his culinary career in Lyon and later worked in Osaka and Paris.

Our childhood memories can be one of the greatest sources of inspiration and for Takada the small island in southern Japan in which he grew up informs his recipes today.

With a flair for rare flavour combinations, Takada’s angler fish liver is served with persimmon and green onion, and for vegetarians the sea cucumber paired with turnip and starflower is a must.

7. Sühring, Bangkok

Nestled in a serene setting in the heart of Bangkok, the Sühring brothers Thomas and Mathias established a restaurant that is more akin to a house with several dining spaces to choose from.

With a wealth of international experience under their belt, the duo embarked on a fresh re-interpretation of traditional German gastronomy prepared to the standard of haute cuisine. With an array of fresh produce and seafood on their doorstep, the pair include crayfish, blue lobster and butternut squash on the menu.

Guests can expect a relaxed yet sophisticated encounter in a 1970s villa complete with a lush garden and open kitchen to observe the chefs bringing their creations to life.

8. Odette, Singapore

This year Odette, located in Singapore’s National Gallery, once again ranked high in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list, as it has done in the past few years. As the recipient of the highly coveted Gin Mare Art of Hospitality Award, this year Odette has proven itself as the ultimate destination to enjoy modern French cuisine in an artistic setting infused with genuine hospitality.

“I owe everything that I am to my family, especially my grandmother, Odette. She showed me how the most remarkable dishes can come from the purest ingredients and taught me the importance of adding that ‘little something’ to create dishes that excite the palate and fill the heart,” explains Julien Royer, Chef and Owner of Odette.

Boutique producers around the world supply the finest ingredients to bring signature dishes – Normandy brown crab and pepper-crusted pigeon – to life with attention to seasonality and terroir.

9. Neighborhood, Hong Kong

A hidden laneway teeming with markets, local bars and antique shops is an unusual setting in which to establish a gourmet restaurant. Although fully booked, Chef and Owner David Lai doesn’t rely on a polished website or instagram account to entice people into tasting his simple French cooking.

Lai worked in exclusive high-end restaurants in both Hong Kong and San Francisco before adopting the ‘slow food’ philosophy of Alice Waters that he came across while completing his studies in California.

At Neighborhood lamb sourced from the Pyrenees, local seafood and wild game can be found on the specials menu, which always reflect the current season.

10. Nusara, Bangkok

Chef Thitid Tassanakajohn, of Le Du, pays homage to his grandmother Nusara with a menu that re-visits family recipes.

From the 12-course tasting menu the spicy squid salad and wok-fried wagyu beef topped with basil lead into the heartier crab curry served in a betel leaf.

While the second floor seats 10 in a room that has an intimate atmosphere from another era, the ground floor is home to a chic bar serving beverages that have Tassanakajohn’s stamp of approval, as a certified sommelier.


A bird born in cage; dies in cage!

Raju Ahmed, Staff Correspondent,
photo: Barta24

photo: Barta24

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Hearing the word Bajrigar, one thinks of a hunter or a brave person or animal. Although the name has an obsession with speed, in reality the name of a small bird of calm and beauty is Bajrigar.

Crooked yellow lips, blue, white or mixed skin color. Sometimes people are born with all the colors of the rainbow. This bird has different names depending on the skin color. But whatever the color, the little bird is incomparable in intelligence. This bird has the unique quality of showing love by gently touching the partner sometimes by kissing the lips, sometimes by gently touching the partner's head as a responsible loved one.

With all these qualities and easy to pet, Bajrigar is at the top of the list of bird lovers. The millet bird is capable of grabbing people's attention even if they don't want to due to physical activity. That's why bird lovers are desperate to keep Bajrigor in a cage. Capitalizing on the needs of people, commercial farms have also been established in different parts of the country. But as the environment of the country is not favorable for the Bajrigar bird, it is not possible to keep this bird in the open air. So over time the current synopsis of the forest millet of the east and south-west coast regions of Australia is born in a cage, died in a cage.

Bajrigar bird is a well-known pet bird but it is known by different names depending on the place and region. In America the millet is known as Little Parakeet. This bird is also known as Baji or Shell Parakeet, Canary Parrot, Zebra Parrot, Common Pet Parakeet, Undulated Parakeet Bajrigor and Badri.

Typically wild millet is about 6.5–7 inches in length and about 7–8 inches in cage. Besides, wild millet is 25–35 gm and caged millet is up to 35–40 gm. Adult male millets have blue membranes around their nostrils. This membrane extends between the forehead and lips along with the nostrils. A mature female millet has a brown membrane surrounding its nostrils. This membrane extends between the forehead and lips along with the nostrils.

At the age of 8-9 months, millets become adults. Bajrigor birds are able to lay 8-13 eggs at a time. And at the time of laying eggs, millet birds also need a secluded place. It takes 18 days from egg to hatch. The average lifespan of millet birds is 4-5 years, but can live up to 10-12 years in cages.

This small species of bird is also popular for its intelligence. Hearing ability is also very good. It can remember big words or sentences very easily. As soon as millet hears a word from its owner, it remembers and repeats it. So the attraction of bird lovers is more in Bajrigor.

Although it is an exotic bird, it is found in different parts of the country. Besides, there is a fair of bajrigar birds in the university market of Kantaban area of the capital every day. Although coastal areas are the native habitat of these birds, one or more cage mates are sufficient for their survival. Keeping that in mind, traders have arranged a family of birds in cages at University Market. They have tried to match male and female millers and pair them according to age. The chirping and beauty of many miller birds together attracts the passers-by.

Manager of New Bird Paradise Noor Hossain said, due to its beauty and flexibility, Bajrigor is the top choice of bird lovers. Although we brought it from abroad earlier, now Bajrigar bird farms have been established in different parts of the country. Tk. 500-1000 birds with cages are available. Anyone can keep a bird very easily as we provide information on bird food and care.

Meanwhile, many people have become self-sufficient by building commercial bajrigar bird farms in different regions of the country. Among them is Imran Hossain of Syedpur Upazila of Nilphamari. He is now self-sufficient by building a commercial bird farm with only Tk. 13 thousand. Currently, his farm has birds worth about Tk. 3 lakh. And now Imran's monthly income is about Tk. 50 thousand by selling bajrigar birds. He has also gained a lot of experience in keeping millet birds for a long time.

Imran Hossain told that bajrigar cannot survive even five minutes in the open air in the environment of our country. It can't escape from attacks of other birds and snakes, frogs, rats and small animals on the ground. As a result, it is better to keep this bird in a cage or small house in the country.

Wild animals are beautiful in the forest, children in the mother's heart are proverbial but nature and environment sometimes wants an exception. And so, to keep the beauty alive, birth in the cage and death in the cage is now a big identity of the millet bird.


Nayeem & Maliha : Two Iconic Culinary Artists got into wedlock

Masid Rono, Snr. Newsroom Editor,
chef couple nayeem-maliha

chef couple nayeem-maliha

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Nayeem Ashraf Rahmatullah & Fatema Tuzzohra Maliha, names of two very talented Culinary Stars of Bangladesh. Both completed their education in Culinary Sector from abroad, before they resumed their careers in homeland, Dhaka. Interestingly, Nayeem is specialized in Japanese Cuisine while Maliha in French Cuisine.

These duos happily got married last December 2023, their pre-wedding function “Haldi Night” took place at a popular Echo Resort in Chittagong called Matita and the “Wedding Ceremony” ended up at Hotel Agrabad Chittagong with fanfare, while their “Reception Ceremony” was organized at Capital’s “Shooting Club” in Gulshan.

chef couple nayeem-maliha

Reflecting on his recent wedding, Nayeem Ashraf shared his feelings to this correspondent that he came to know Fatema not too long ago. The brief interactions with the lady culminated into friendship leading to a more intimate relationship. “We got married with the positive consent of our guardian of both families and started our new conjugal life, do pray for us so that we can have a smooth sailing in our marital journey,” Nayeem added.

chef couple nayeem-maliha

Fatema has a rich experience of working in Bangkok, Malaysia, Singapore, Maldives and India. After returning from the overseas, today’s “Hello Dhaka” of Gulshan made its debut with Fatema’s close supervision. Currently she is working in her capacity as “Executive Chef” at a popular food joint “MANZO” which is considered to be one of the top end restaurants in Gulshan Avenue. Sharing her experience, Fatema mentioned, I have been pursuing Culinary Arts as an undergrad from a renowned and one of the world’s oldest French Culinary School (Le Cordon Bleu) in Malaysia.

chef couple nayeem-maliha

Fatema’s skill & passion gave her the exposure to be a part in an “International Live Cooking Show” at Taj Hotel, Mumbai with many other renowned, senior chefs, where she had drawn attention & appreciation, being the youngest participant with great passion and skill in culinary arts. Recently, Fatema has been awarded “First Female Executive Chef of Bangladesh” plaque at hotel Le Meridian, Dhaka.

chef couple nayeem-maliha in work place

On the other hand, Nayeem Ashraf returned home after working with multiple world-renowned chefs in famous restaurants across the globe, and currently serving as the CEO & Culinary Instructor of his own Hospitality Integrated Education Epicenter called SHINEE at Badda, Gulshan. The institution has earned much reputation and popularity around the country which has a new branch that will be recently launched at Rajshahi and another new wing is about to be added in Port City, Chittagong soon.

chef couple nayeem-maliha

The dream of this couple is to float a standard, bench mark restaurant in Dhaka where they can give a life time experience to all food connoisseurs.


Intermittent Fasting, Calorie Cutting Bring Equal Weight Loss

International Desk
photo: collected

photo: collected

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Fasting for 8 hours is as good as counting calories for weight loss, new research shows.

The study, published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that people with obesity lost 10 pounds through intermittent fasting, compared to 12 pounds through calorie restriction. The statistical analysis found no significant difference between the two groups’ weight loss.

Most of the people in the study were female and weighed around 220 pounds at the start of the trial. A total of 77 people were split into three groups: One was told to fast for 8 hours, another was told to restrict their calories, and the third ate as they normally would.

The people who fasted and restricted calories were in a weight loss phase for 6 months – the intermittent fasting group could eat anything they wanted between noon and 8 p.m., and didn’t have to cut their calories.

The calorie restriction group had to cut 25% of their daily calorie intake. They were also told to fill half of every plate with fruits or vegetables, and consume about half their calories as carbohydrates, 30% as fat, and 20% as protein.

For 6 months after that, both groups were in a weight maintenance phase. The intermittent fasting group could eat from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and the calorie restriction group was told to match their diet with their energy needs.

The people in the study met regularly with dietitians – a part of the trial that experts say could have made the effects of fasting more pronounced than in previous studies.

An earlier, shorter trial found that people lost about 2 pounds after 12 weeks of intermittent fasting, a more modest result, compared to the 9 pounds that lost after 6 months in this trial.

Intermittent fasting, or time-restricted eating, is a catch-all for eating patterns that could include several full days of fasting per week or time-restricted eating during the day.

The effect of having less time to eat is thought to lead to eating fewer calories, and therefore losing weight. This trial found the intermittent fasting group ate 425 fewer calories per day and 20 calories less than the calorie-restricted group.

“Time-restricted eating is undoubtedly an attractive approach to weight loss in that it does not require the purchase of expensive food products, allows persons to continue consuming familiar foods, and omits complicated calorie tracking,” Shuhao Lin, a registered dietitian at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and colleagues write in the paper.


Seven Myths about Mental Health

News Desk,
Seven Myths about Mental Health

Seven Myths about Mental Health

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Dispelling myths about mental health can help break the stigma and create a culture that encourages people of any age to seek support when they need it. Here are seven common misconceptions about mental health:

  1. Myth: If a person has a mental health condition, it means the person has low intelligence.

Fact: Mental illness, like physical illness, can affect anyone regardless of intelligence, social class, or income level.

  1. Myth: You only need to take care of your mental health if you have a mental health condition.

Fact: Everyone can benefit from taking active steps to promote their well-being and improve their mental health. Similarly, everyone can take active steps and engage in healthy habits to optimize their physical health.

  1. Myth: Poor mental health is not a big issue for teenagers. They just have mood swings caused by hormonal fluctuations and act out due to a desire for attention.

Fact: Teenagers often have mood swings, but that does not mean that adolescents may not also struggle with their mental health. Fourteen per cent of the world’s adolescents experience mental-health problems. Globally, among those aged 10–15, suicide is the fifth most prevalent cause of death, and for adolescents aged 15–19 it is the fourth most common cause. Half of all mental health conditions start by the age of 14.

  1. Myth: Nothing can be done to protect people from developing mental health conditions.

Fact: Many factors can protect people from developing mental health conditions, including strengthening social and emotional skills, seeking help and support early on, developing supportive, loving, warm family relationships, and having a positive school environment and healthy sleep patterns. The ability to overcome adversity relies on a combination of protective factors, and neither environmental nor individual stressors alone will necessarily result in mental health problems. Children and adolescents who do well in the face of adversity typically have biological resistance as well as strong, supportive relationships with family, friends and adults around them, resulting in a combination of protective factors to support well-being.

  1. Myth: A mental health condition is a sign of weakness; if the person were stronger, they would not have this condition.

Fact: A mental health condition has nothing to do with being weak or lacking willpower. It is not a condition people choose to have or not have. In fact, recognizing the need to accept help for a mental health condition requires great strength and courage. Anyone can develop a mental health condition.

  1. Myth: Adolescents who get good grades and have a lot of friends will not have mental health conditions because they have nothing to be depressed about.

Fact: Depression is a common mental health condition resulting from a complex interaction of social, psychological, and biological factors. Depression can affect anyone regardless of their socioeconomic status or how good their life appears at face value. Young people doing well in school may feel pressure to succeed, which can cause anxiety, or they may have challenges at home. They may also experience depression or anxiety for no reason that can be easily identified.

  1. Myth: Bad parenting causes mental conditions in adolescents.

Fact: Many factors – including poverty, unemployment, and exposure to violence, migration, and other adverse circumstances and events – may influence the well-being and mental health of adolescents, their caregivers and the relationship between them. Adolescents from loving, supporting homes can experience mental health difficulties, as can adolescent from homes where there may be caregivers who need support to maintain an optimum environment for healthy adolescent development. With support, caregivers can play an essential role in helping adolescents to overcome any problems they experience.

(This article is based on UNICEF and the World Health Organization's Teacher’s Guide to the Magnificent Mei and Friends Comic Series.)