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Japan beats France on three-star restaurants, Michelin says

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© 2011 AFP

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But Bridgestone says France is winning. Those tire companies don't know anything!

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PRESENTATION IS WHAT STANDS OUT HERE IN JAPAN. FRANCE IS LOOSING BIG TIME.

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Actually italian restaurants in japan are much better than Italy. gO FiGuRe ?????

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Long years of controversy over the legitimacy of the Michelin Guide -- plain cloth reviewers launch secretive missions ( procedure & criteria remained opaque ) and come up with annual ratings that remain very subjective.

Contrary to some posters' views, the nationality of reviewers may not necessarily be the key origin of biased views, substantial financial interest at stake can easily justify under-table bribery to boost the image of certain restaurants.

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I love japanese food cooked by my japanese wife (although there are some stuff I never would eat). Many (japanese) chefs running a fine restaurant in Japan got their skills from working abroad or at least made some experience out in the world. In the end, the mix make something special of it. My favorite restaurant is running by a japanese worked for many years in Italy and now doing some italian food the japanese way. If I want to eat sushi, even a convy store is fine enough for me to have some of it... En guete...

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Wow! Restaurants? That will totally take the travelers' minds off of that whole "triple nuclear disaster spewing radiation all over the friggin place" thing that's got 'em all frightened right now.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Chefs bust their guts to give you something that you will remember for years to come. Bias or unbias the guide is a great confidence builder and motivator for those who work up to 20 hours a day for the diner, you. As for the best cuisine in the world, there is no such a beast! You eat what you want to eat when you want to eat it. You also pay varying prices for that privi. The guide helps you decide where you want to spend your money. Tonight I will have some awesome UNI (sea urchin) and then I might follow it with some grilled salmon on a pea puree with a splash of AIOLI. oooooh yeah! Might open a bottle of 09 Sav Blanc from Napier, NZ that a mate sent me. Yes, all that in one meal. Thank the good lord there are NO RULES when it comes to cooking and great cuisine! Cheers

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@CHAMADE

even if they do hire a few token Japanese contributors (whose identities and qualifications remain unknown, therefore potentially suspect)

Actually the opposite is true I believe. The reviewers are unknown to all, including the restaurants, and therefore not open to bribery. As I mentioned above, the Michelin brand depends on reliable reports in order to sell it's book. Lots of people here are posting negatively saying they disagree with the the principle, but no one (yet) has posted saying they have tried the restaurants and categorically disagree with the rating.

And remember (maybe directed at Johannes?), it isn't just a list of restaurant names with varying degrees of stars, there is a full description of why it is good, and what the atmosphere is like. You need to read the book first, then decide which one suits you best, foodwise, atmosphere wise, pricewise.

It is only a guide, not a bible!

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@CHAMADE:

Did it ever come to your mind that the Michelin guide is not written for Japanese, but for all people that want exquisite and expensive dining. It is a global thing, not a French or Japanese thing. Therefore, they do not intruct Japanese people where to eat in Japan, but it is meant as an encouragement for all people to go and dine at these restaurants. And for tourists, such a guide might be useful.

Qualities of the testers can be doubtful in all cases, not only if an overseas company rates Japanese restaurants. Te quality of food is absolutely not comparable because the target customers are different. I think it's brazenly ludicrous and ethnocentric that the Japanese cuisine and tastes should be the standard of the world. At least my sense of taste definitely differs.

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Lots of people on this thred seem to never get out. They let their prefabricated notions do their tasting for them.

It's pure, simple math: Insanely food-conscious culture plus mammoth number of restaurants plus lots o' monayyy equals a lot of damned good food.

Seriously, the first point is obvious. Just turn on the TV or listen to an average Japanese conversation. What are they on about? FOOD!

The second point is obvious just walking down the street. It seems just a bout every Mom and Pop has a place and right next to them is some young guy or gal trying to fulfill their "dream" by opening their own restaurant. Far more restaurants per capita than any non-asian country.

The third point is without question, and it brings up a fourth point I forgot to mention. Due to the nature of things, Japanese tend to eat out a lot!

All of this makes for one pretty good recipe for how to have a lot of good restaurants. There's nothing really tough to understand. It's pure math. Okay.

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Jacqueline MiyagayaOct. 19, 2011 - 09:20AM JST. Snail SOUP ??? Never heard of it !

The snails or escargots are considered a delicacy in France and they are actually eaten as abundantly as any other meat in the Mediterranean regions. Snails are also eaten in large amounts in France. In France, snails are food tradition and they are important part of the cuisine. The French eat 8 pounds of snails per head each year.

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Japan is a vast, lucrative market for brand-world things like the Michelin guides - of course the publishers will do their very best to take advantage of that.

I find it ludicrous and brazenly ethnocentric that French publications purport to instruct Japanese readers on what is and what is not good to eat here, even if they do hire a few token Japanese contributors (whose identities and qualifications remain unknown, therefore potentially suspect) and their reviews include both western and Japanese dining options.

I will say, however, that I, too, as a rule find food much better here than in France.

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@Pukey2: Yeah, no kidding.. who decides which restaurants are to be judged? And in all fairness, I wouldn't go to Japan to eat Italian food or a steak.. Kobe beef is gross and overpriced

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Smoking kills lots of places here with good food. I walked out of a place Tuesday due to smoke, and they all know me and love my money. I took some of the girls that work for me out. Brilliant artists

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If you like the taste of smoke then I guess Japan probably would win more, but only just.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I'm just wondering, is one of the prerequisites of being considered by Michelin the price of the food? Sorry, but I personally don't have money to throw around. I can find plenty of cheap eateries serving fantastic food.

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Repost - bad formatting sorry!

Food quality works only together with decent atmosphere. The latter depends on many factors, which are completely personal. No way that any critic could ever rate that.

Agreed - but equally, there are many common factors that can be applied - it is those that make a real difference, and where there is more than one judge, and I believe it plays a major part of the rating.

By the way, the comparison of food from different parts of the world is plainly ridiculous. Comparing Japanese and French foods is like a comparison between apples and pears.

Also agreed - but I don't believe Michelin are comparing between cuisine styles but to find the best experience regardless of cuisine style.

The very few I have been in have really been very good. Good food, good atmosphere (service, ambience), and honestly speaking, good value. I'm sure I'd find one I don't like though

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Food quality works only together with decent atmosphere. The latter depends on many factors, which are completely personal. No way that any critic could ever rate that. Agreed - but equally, there are many common factors that can be applied - it is those that make a real difference, and where there is more than one judge, and I believe it plays a major part of the rating.

By the way, the comparison of food from different parts of the world is plainly ridiculous. Comparing Japanese and French foods is like a comparison between apples and pears. Also agreed - but I don't believe Michelin are comparing between cuisine styles but to find the best experience regardless of cuisine style.

The very few I have been in have really been very good. Good food, good atmosphere (service, ambience), and honestly speaking, good value. I'm sure I'd find one I don't like though.

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How can you tell if the food tastes good when you're sitting in a cloud of cigarette smoke?

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They should give stars to american delis and pizza places.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

I wonder who beats who on greasy spoons?

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BASS4FUNK - You might be missing the point. The restaurants given stars are not all Japanese ones. There is Italian, French, etc in there too. So the jingoistic view you portray (I don't think it is xenophobic) may not be relevant.

Although some people I know in Japan are quite defensive about their food culture, the vast majority are quite open. I would also say that I don't rank any one country higher than the other, but bits from each country combined (not at the same time!) form an amazing variety we can all enjoy.

Japan - Sushi Korea - Bulgogi Thai - Homok Talag China - Kungpo Chicken Greece - Moussaka France - Fois Gras (I know I shouldn't like this - sorry!) Italy - Pasta, and the huge variety of sauces UK - Fried breakfast!!! :)

The list is endless, but within the list, there are places that do them well, and those that (frankly) suck.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Some things having ate at several of these places in TKO and Paris. 1) You'll observe equally high cost in the Paris 3 stars if not more. Hoping people aren't assuming its only TKO. 2) The rating takes into account quality of food, service and atmosphere (duh). These places do tend to have different atmosphere from those nice cozy local places.. I enjoy both, I can appreciate others may not. 3) Not all the 3 stars in Tokyo are Japanese (if people bothered to take a look at the list). Actually this is where Tokyo stands out, I think people here definitely appreciate the food of other cultures and its evident by the fact that so many of the chefs here go abroad to study their craft. I'm not talking about pizza hut's ebi mayo pizza here.... 4) Price performance is not always there (personal opinion) but for people looking for a place to eat to celebrate some occasion these places are a safe bet. Don't knock people who can afford it.

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bass4funk, have you ever heard of supertasters?

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First, the restaurants are not only Japanese restaurants, one of the best is an Italian (Aso). Second, I truly believe you can have the most amazing culinary experience in Japan if you go looking. I can't comment on whether the rating by country or by city being higher than France is appropriate, but in Tokyo's case, there is a HUGE market to tap, so if the food and atmosphere is good, people will come (and keep coming). Presentation is a big part of the scoring too, and some dishes here are works of art - almost (!) too good to eat.

Don't forget that he guide is designed to sell based on recommending specific establishments because they are good, if they get it wrong, the reputation sinks, and people stop buying the book. Not exactly in Michelin's interest to lie I think?

Bon apetit!

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let's clear it up right now...no, many of the judges are not Japanese so get that nonsense out of your head. there are two japanese and 3 european judges. please research before you bash japan.

I don't think it's so much about "bashing" Japan as much as it is Japan really "bashing the world" in the sense of culinary criticisms. As said before; many Japanese chefs, food reviewers, Japanese in general think that foreigners have very simple taste buds and cannot differentiate or understand the subtle complexities of various ingredients in Japanese food because we are not as evolved or our taste buds are not as refined as the Japanese, therefore, we are totally incapable to comment or give any sense-able opinion or critique about Japanese food. This kind of xenophobic and ignorant thinking is actually quite insulting when you really think about it. Japanese food is superior over any other cuisine on this planet. (provided you love and worship Japanese food) Personally, I love to travel and try any cuisine and IMHO, I don't think Japanese food is the best and it is NOT always healthy. Yes, many Japanese foods are great for you, but there are a lot of foods in this country, that are horrible for you. Tastes are subjective. Personally, I love Korean food and for me it's the best!! When I tell Japanese people this, they are almost horrified and shocked that I didn't say "Japanese food is the best" the look on their face is priceless. Again, this is not about bashing, this is about subjective tastes whether it be socially or commercially in the world of culinary, Japanese need to be more open-minded and not think that the rest of the world is ignorant when it comes to food. And saying statements like, "Japanese have a sensitive tongue or it's made for Japanese taste" doesn't help their image either.

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The reviewers are Japanese, so this really doesn't mean anything more than that it's a pi$$ing contest. Japan loves to praise itself (or praise itself when others praise it), and if you disagree it's because you're a foreigner. Anyway, the whole guide thing is a crock. I'll eat something because I WANT to eat it, and won't choose a place to eat it just because it was on a TV special or in a grossly overrated magazine.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Have these restaurants been assessed by their radiation free food?

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Now that's something to be proud of, right? Michelin star restaurants are ridiculous places for people that need further ways of feeling superior to others by throwing away lots of money. Food quality works only together with decent atmosphere. The latter depends on many factors, which are completely personal. No way that any critic could ever rate that.

By the way, the comparison of food from different parts of the world is plainly ridiculous. Comparing Japanese and French foods is like a comparison between apples and pears. Why make a fuss about which one is better?

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“Japan is a unique country with many cities full of high level cuisine,” said Bernard Delmas, president of Michelin in Tokyo.

Sounds like they're telling Japan EXACTLY what they want to hear. I suspect Michelin has some kind of angle (like telling an ugly woman she's beautiful when she walks into your dress shop) as well as this being a bit of a sympathy play to help boost Japan's tourism.

These ratings are anything but objective.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Even small Japanese izakaya where you can get a feed for under 1000yen are better than those swanky restaurants in France I reckon. 1 in 3 of the worlds greatest eateries are now in Japan - and that will probably rise to 1 in 2 in the next few years. Heck - pretty soon even Saizeria and Gusto will possibly have a couple of stars.

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The Michelin guide is a total farce anyway.

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LH10; hat kind of food is fine if eaten in moderation, hold the fries and exercise regulary.

T-Rex, Not trueregarding France. My friends has a cafe near Calais, high reputation, home made pastries, open almost everyday without reservation.

-6 ( +4 / -9 )

French and Japanese food is great, though considering both are very different in ingredients etc, they both have high standards in their own right.

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lol steve

gross...burger king and mcd's make people fat. yeah T_rex! ^^ good restaurants exist in japan!

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I knew it!!! Good restaurants are available everywhere in Tokyo for a good price whereas good restaurants are only accessible by reservation in Paris and they are expensive. Nippon!!

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I had a tasty burger named a Whopper at a high class joing called Burger King in Kyoto yesterday, I think it is one of the two star restaurants named in the guide.

-11 ( +5 / -14 )

Ps. I don't actually like many of the restaurants in the guide because the price is too high or the cuisine is not to my taste. I'm just a heathen and will happily give yoshinoya or tenya a star for their cost performance.

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Sorry mate. I got my facts directly from memory of a story about how the first Michelin guide was critiqued for not giving enough stars and the restaurant owners/managers complained that the judges could not understand Japanese cuisine well enough because they were forign. The guide on its next release had Japanese judges and suddenly no one complained again. I will happily bash Japan for its blatant racisim and xenophobia. Did you know there are restaurants in tsukiji that don't allow gaijin to enter? Why is that so you cry, well it's because apparently gaijin can't understand food or Japanese manners well enough. When you, poppet, have lived here as long and since a young age as I have you may tell me not to bash Japan but untill that day keep your mind and eyes open. Now. If Japanese cuisine wants to be taken seriously it must stop screaming like a petulant child whenever it is criticised, not assume that all gaijin can't use chopstick (even this ham fisted ape can use 2 bits of wood) and when a world class judge says the food is whatever there is a good reason for it!!

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Worthy in my opinion. Many different great restaurants with different cuisines. Not just sushi or soba. My favorites are the ones with laid back, peaceful atmospheres and vibe.

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GO JAPAN!! ^o^/

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The best food establishments and experiences for me are the ones that have great food and a reasonably price tag! The ones that you can walk down the street near your house and make friends with the owners, or go exploring in a city and find one that looks pleasant inside. A good meal is only as good as the people you are sharing it with (and perhaps the wine you're drinking). So who cares which country has the more Michelin stars! Why spend ridiculous amounts of money on food that most people won't truely appreciate? I would much refer spend my money on local small business restaurants and go more frequently then to go to one Michelin restaurant which I'll have to save up to go.

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let's clear it up right now...no, many of the judges are not japapense so get that nonsense out of your head. there are two japanese and 3 european judges. please research before you bash japan.

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sfjp330

Snail SOUP ??? Never heard of it !

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I guess Japan makes better udon, ramen, and yakiniku than France's snail soup.

-6 ( +3 / -8 )

This whole thing is a joke.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

Thanks for pointing that out, buggerlugs, that's exactly what everyone was saying when the French judges were in Japan.

-3 ( +2 / -4 )

I thought that no Japanese trusted the Michelin guide because a gaijin can never truely understand or appreciate Japanese food and culture...

Aha I see from posts above the reviewers are Japanese now, that makes it all ok then.

Except I don't like sushi...:(

-7 ( +4 / -10 )

Many of Michelin's reviewers in Japan are Japanese, apparently. So it makes sense they rate themselves so excessively high. From preschool and onward, all Japanese are brainwashed to believe that their food is the world's best.

Additionally, there is no such thing as a critical review in Japan. I used to buy restaurant guides in Japanese, but they were useless, as their "reviews" were really just advertising.

I'd take Bangkok over Tokyo for food any day.

-6 ( +10 / -15 )

great if you like sushi, what if you don't

-16 ( +2 / -16 )

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