Tokyo retains title as Michelin's gourmet capital

Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:06am EST
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By Junko Fujita

TOKYO (Reuters) - Tokyo retained the title of the world's gourmet capital on Tuesday, when the Michelin guide awarded it more stars than any other city for the fifth year in a row.

Tokyo restaurants also won more top awards than last year with 16 given the three-star rating, which Michelin defines as "exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey." That is two more than last year and compares with 10 for Paris.

Fourteen of Tokyo's top spots serve Japanese cuisine and two French.

In the 2012 edition of the Michelin restaurant guide for Japan's capital, Yokohama and the adjacent coastal area of Shonan launched on Tuesday, Tokyo sushi restaurant "Yoshitake" shot to the top ranking in its first listing.

Restaurant "Koan" in the Shonan area covered for the first time also joined the ranking with three stars, bringing the total three-star haul of the Tokyo-Yokohama-Shonan area to 17.

Tokyo's "Ryugin" was promoted from two to three stars. A Korean restaurant in Tokyo, "Moranbong" joined the list with two stars, becoming the highest-ranked Korean restaurant in the world.

"In Japan most people think of barbecued beef as the main dish for Korean cuisine but it is not. That's something Koreans living in Japan started after the World War Two," said Jon Pyong Ryol, president of Moranbong, also a maker of popular Korean barbecue sauce sold in supermarkets.

"We serve traditional court dishes. And for us winning the Michelin stars is a recognition that authentic Korean food has been recognized in Japan."   Continued...

<p>A chef grills a piece of beef strip at a restaurant in Yokohama, July 27, 2011. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao</p>