Restaurant guidebook pusher Michelin just entered major new territory: mainland China. Today marks the debut of its Shanghai guide, bestowing stars on 26 of the city’s restaurants.
As the South China Morning Post reports, only one restaurant snagged the coveted three-star rating: T’ang Court at the Langham Shanghai hotel, a Cantonese restaurant with a very fancy dining room that holds just six tables. (T’ang Court also has another location at the Langham Hong Kong, which was crowned three Michelin stars last year.)
Six restaurants garnered two stars, including the 10-seat Ultraviolet, where diners are bombarded with surround sound, HD video projectors, and scent diffusers for a "multi-sensory" experience; Canton 8, which the AFP describes as "a popular lunchtime spot catering to local families" that the SCMP says is now the world’s cheapest two Michelin star restaurant; and the fine-dining Italian restaurant 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana.
The new Shanghai guide has already faced criticism from local experts: "All these restaurants are high-end and expensive, and the result comes no surprise," food critic Xu Qianlai told the Shanghai Daily. "Most of Michelin Guide's inspectors are overseas, and it is difficult for them to capture the essence of local delicacies."
Michelin has pushed further into Asia in recent months: It recognized street food for the first time in the newest edition of its Hong Kong and Macau guide, and in July published its first guide to Singapore, giving stars to some of the nation’s famed hawker stalls where meals can be had for just a few dollars.
• Michelin Guide to Shanghai, Its First in China, Gives Stars to 26 Restaurants [SCMP]
• Michelin Recognizes Street Food for First Time in Newest Hong Kong Guide [E]
• All Michelin Coverage [E]