They are the Golden Globes of south-east Asia's restaurant industry; the form guide to the "Oscars" of the World's 50 Best Restaurants 2019 awards, to be held in Singapore in June.
It's a double whammy for the dining region closest to our shores. And just like the Globes, the glittering award ceremony had diversity, colour, movement, great frocks, tears and lots of hugs.
The seventh annual Asia's 50 Best Restaurant Awards sponsored by S. Pellegrino & Acqua Panna was held at the glitzy Wynn Palace Cotai in Macau for the second year, before moving to Tokyo in 2020.
No disrespect to Indian-born chef Gaggan Anand, but had his restaurant Gaggan in Bangkok won the top spot for the fifth consecutive year, it could have buried the awards in an avalanche of snoring.
Instead, there was movement at the pointy end as Singapore's very French restaurant Odette stole the top spot, pipping Gaggan at the post. Chef Julien Royer thanked his three sous chefs, calling them "my team machine" as he donned the trademark crimson scarf of the winner as if born to it. Opened four years ago in Singapore's National Gallery, Odette is his "loving tribute" to French gastronomy, which he calls a "timeless destination". (Cue guinea fowl with celeriac risotto and foie gras croquette; and confit beetroot with smoked eel cream, caviar and horseradish).
But how relevant are these awards to food-loving Australian travellers looking for a dining bucket list for their next trip? While it's a great celebration of the Asian scene, it tends to showcase a certain type of restaurant; and there's a distinct lack of Asia's legendary street food heroes on the list.
If you're hanging out for a high-end French dining experience without the long-haul flight to Europe, or you just want to find out what's hot in Bangkok, Shanghai and Tokyo, it's going to come in handy. Just don't swallow the "Best Restaurants in Asia" tag as gospel, without exploring the streets for the (equally) best tonkatsu, ramen, dim sum, bak chor mee and pho.
The 2019 list features 10 new restaurants, including Dewakan (Malaysia), and Toyo Eatery in the Philippines. Japan leads with a record 12 entries, followed by Hong Kong with nine restaurants and Thailand with eight. But where are all the Australians?
Perth-born Dave Pynt's hot, hot, hot wood-fired restaurant Burnt Ends in Singapore (with head chef Jake Kellie) sizzled its way up the ranks, moving from number 12 in 2018 to return to number 10 this year. Other than that, the news for Australia isn't great.
David Thompson relinquished his place in the top 50 by leaving Nahm in Bangkok, to open Aaharn in Hong Kong, which didn't make the final cut. Sam Aisbett's elegant, contemporary Whitegrass in Singapore, which debuted at number 50 last year, closed in December 2018.
Tetsuya Wakuda's Waku Ghin in Singapore moved from Number 16 to number 40 in 2019, but is expected to feature heavily as a host restaurant when the World's 50 Best crowd heads for Marina Bay Sands in Singapore on June 25.
"It's so great that the world is coming to Singapore to see what we are doing," says Burnt Ends' head chef Jake Kellie. "Omigod, there will be so many parties."
Full list: Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2019
1. Odette, Singapore
2. Gaggan, Bangkok
3. Den, Tokyo
4. Suhring, Bangkok
5. Florilege, Tokyo
6. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, Shanghai
7. Mume, Taipei
8. Narisawa, Tokyo
9. Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo
10. Burnt Ends, Singapore
11. The Chairman, Hong Kong
12. 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana, Hong Kong
13. Mingles, Seoul
14. La Cime, Osaka, Japan
15. Belon, Hong Kong (highest climber)
16. Gaa*, Bangkok (highest new entry)
17. Indian Accent, New Delhi
18. Il Ristorante Luca Fantin, Tokyo
19. Bo.Lan, Bangkok
20. Le Du, Bangkok
21. Amber, Hong Kong
22. Nahm, Bangkok
23. Sazenka*, Tokyo
24. La Maison de La Nature Goh, Fukuoka, Japan
25. Sushi Saito, Tokyo
26. L'Effervescence, Tokyo
27. Jade Dragon, Macau
28. Paste, Bangkok
29. Fu He Hui, Shanghai
30. Raw, Taipei
31. Shoun RyuGin, Taipei
32. Jaan, Singapore
33. Les Amis, Singapore
34. Vea*, Hong Kong
35. Ministry of Crab, Colombo, Sri Lanka
36. Wing Lei Palace*, Macau
37. Neighbourhood, Hong Kong
38. Lung King Heen, Hong Kong
39. Nouri*, Singapore
40. Waku Ghin, Singapore
41. TocToc, Seoul
42. Locavore, Bali (Sustainable Restaurant Award)
43. Toyo Eatery*, Manila, Philippines
44. Seventh Son*, Hong Kong
45. Quintessence, Tokyo
46. Dewakan, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
47. Sugalabo*, Tokyo
48. Sorn*, Bangkok
49. Corner House, Singapore
50. Ta Vie, Hong Kong