Across China:Guangzhou Michelin Guide’s impact on the Cantonese culinary scene

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 23, 2018
Adjust font size:

By Hazza Harding

GUANGZHOU, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Michelin Guide Guangzhou 2018 was released in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, on June 28, 2018, and was followed up by the release of the world’s first "Fine Cantonese Food by the Michelin Guide: Asia - Europe - USA" on Nov. 12.

Only eight restaurants in the city were awarded Michelin Stars by the guide, including Bingsheng Mansion in Zhujiang New Town, Jade River at the White Swan Hotel, and Jiang by Chef Fei at the Mandarin Oriental. To fill out the guide, a number of restaurants were also awarded Bib Gourmand and Michelin Plate accolades.

Despite the hype surrounding the guide when it was released, the impact it has had on the local culinary scene remains under question.

Sean Cai, food and beverage director at Mandarin Oriental, Guangzhou, home to the now Michelin-Starred Jiang by Chef Fei, along with Ebony which received a Michelin Plate, says the release of the Michelin Guide has resulted in a notable increase in the number of diners.

"We have definitely seen a significant increase in seat covers, as well as new faces at our restaurants,” Cai said. "The Michelin Guide is undoubtedly a powerful award that gave both restaurants additional positive credibility."

Not only has the Michelin Guide given the Mandarin Oriental restaurants in Guangzhou's credibility and prestige, it has also put Guangzhou’s restaurant scene on the map, on par with other global food hubs such as New York and Paris.

However, despite the upsides, some crowd-pleasing restaurants did not even gain a mention by the guide.

Social&Co, a popular restaurant among expat in Guangzhou, was one of them despite its No. 2 ranking among 7,000 Guangzhou restaurants on the international review site Trip Advisor. The restaurant also rates very highly on the local Dazhongdianpin app.

Owner of Social&Co, Aaron McKenzie from New Zealand, is still positive about the guide despite not being featured. "I think for Guangzhou, this is a great start to showcase what Guangzhou has to offer in terms of local restaurants and their fare. It will raise international awareness."

As to the significance of the guide on the Guangzhou foodie scene, McKenzie believes that it may not have an impact on younger diners. "Michelin Guides are not as important for the younger generation or ‘instant diners.’ However, despite not being as convenient and accessible as review sites and apps, they have prestige and a history of over 100 years that can’t currently be matched."

Local diners seem to agree. Yu Xiaodong, 30, from the city of Zhanjiang is a self-confessed food addict. Since the guide was launched, Yu has not visited any of the restaurants listed, adding that he has only ever been to Bingsheng Mansion because he "was invited there to celebrate a wedding."

Instead of consulting the Michelin Guide when it comes to deciding on a restaurant to dine at, recommendations from friends and ratings on review apps hold more weight for Yu.

"Public opinion represents the general opinion, and the sites offer objective and constructive reviews," Yu told Xinhua. When asked whether he would base decisions on where to dine on the Michelin Guide Guangzhou, Yu said he "would only consider it for a very special occasion."

As to whether or not restaurateurs were aware the guide was about to be released back in June, both Cai and Mckenzie said that they had heard only whispers that Michelin was set to release a guide.

"We had no clue they were going to grade our restaurants," Cai said. "The results were only announced on June 28, and it was then that we were told of our accolades.”

The impact the guide has had on Guangzhou’s culinary scene is debatable, but one thing that food and beverage professionals and local diners alike can agree on is that the release of the Michelin Guide Guangzhou 2018 was a significant step forward in broadening global recognition of Cantonese cuisine. Enditem

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from