The 50 Best Restaurants in Asia: What to Eat in Japan ‘Den’

(CNN) – On Tuesday night, Den in Tokyo was given top honors by the World’s 50 Best group, recognizing it as the best restaurant in Asia.

This is no stranger to admiration. It has two Michelin stars and has been in the top 10 on the world’s best list in recent years. But it was also where I ate some of the best meals of my life.

Going to good restaurants can be intimidating, especially a private trip. One of the major restaurants I looked at for my November 2019 trip to Tokyo did not allow a reservation for a single meal.

I put my name on the waiting list in Den, and a week before the trip I received a phone call confirming that I had received a seat due to an unnumbered party on the table next to me. It was like knowing that I was going to a party or to be accepted into my “reach” college.

South: Chef Zaiyu Hasegawa with his loving pup;  right, a post in Den where customers leave thank -you notes.

South: Chef Zaiyu Hasegawa with his loving pup; right, a post in Den where customers leave thank -you notes.

Lilit Marcus / CNN

While I was thrilled to have a reservation, I was also apprehensive – would it be difficult to know, position, and be full of food names I hadn’t heard of? Would I leave the restaurant thinking I had tried something from the list, or would I really enjoy the food?

Happily, I can say the answer is final.

Den is the top food with a sense of humor.

In the salad, the carrots are chopped and sliced ​​in the shape of smiling eyes. The Japanese fried chicken arrives in a quick lunch box covered in smiles and a funny picture of the teacher. One table came with the national flag of each restaurant inside – a quick tour around the small dining room that night featured small American (hi), Chinese, Japanese and flags. Canada, where food is well remembered.

A service of "Dentucky Fried Chicken" ma Den.

A service of “Dentucky Fried Chicken” in Den.

Lilit Marcus / CNN

And not only that.

Chef Zaiyu Hasegawa isn’t the kind of person who hides in the kitchen and releases food to talk. He laughed and talked with his tall chihuahua Puchi who often visited the dining room.

Tokyo is one of the world’s largest food cities. On my week -long trip – my first visit to Japan – everything I ate was delicious, from the minimart onigiri to the ramen at night to the wholesale sushi prepared in front of me.

Now, I can say that one of the most memorable restaurants I visited was voted the best restaurant in all of Asia.

But I can say that my night in Den was a lot of fun.

The 50 best restaurants in Asia for 2022

1. Den (Tokyo)

Sorn (Bangkok)

3. Florilege (Tokyo)

5. Le Du (Bangkok)

5. The Chairman (Hong Kong)

6. La Cime (Osaka)

7. Suhring (Bangkok)

8. Odette (Singapore)

9. Neighborhood (Hong Kong)

10. Nusara (Bangkok)

11. Sazenka (Tokyo)

12. Fu He Hui (Shanghai)

13. Ode (Tokyo)

14. Villa Aida (Wakayama, Japan)

15. Narisawa (Tokyo)

16. Mingles (Seoul)

17. Sezanne (Tokyo)

18. Joo Ok (Seoul)

19. Ensue (Shenzhen, China)

20. Meta (Singapore)

21. Masque (Mumbai)

22. Indian Language (New Delhi)

23. Les Amis (Singapore)

24. Caprice (Hong Kong)

25. Blue by Alain Ducasse (Bangkok)

26. Form 7 (Seoul)

27. Mosu (Seoul)

28. Da Vittorio (Shanghai)

29. Sushi Masato (Bangkok)

30. Onjium (Seoul)

31. Samrub Samrub Thai (Bangkok)

32. Mono (Hong Kong)

33. Gaa (Bangkok)

34. Wings (Hong Kong)

35. Minister of the Interior (Colombo)

36. The Goh Nature House (Fukuoka, Japan)

37. Zen (Singapore)

38. Logy (Taipei)

39. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet (Shanghai)

40. Labyrinth (Singapore)

41. Puhi Puhi (Singapore)

42. Ete (Tokyo)

43. Cenci (Kyoto)

44. Cloudstreet (Singapore)

45. JL Studio (Taichung, Taiwan)

46. ​​Raan Jay Fai (Bangkok)

47. Wing Lei Palace (Macao)

48. 8 1/2 Mezzo Bombano (Hong Kong)

49. Megu (New Delhi)

50. Dewakan (Kuala Lumpur)

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