Yeah, it’s all sketchier than I realized, and Michelin’s almost got an extortion racket going here: “Oh, nice city, shame it doesn’t get more tourists … unless we write a guide for you … hm, maybe you should encourage us to write a guide!”
Restaurants also hire 'consultants ’ based in Hong Kong who are ‘former’ Michelin employees who then sell their services on how to get a star.
There’s going to be a checklist which can be gamed, to a certain extent. There was a fantastic restaurant in Oxford called The Elizabeth. The owner (I can’t remember his name - I think he was Portuguese, Antonio something) introduced my family to such exotic things as dessert wines (this was the 80s). He never got a Michelin star because his menu was considered too staid. He had things like chateaubriand and Duck à l’orange on the menu and he refused point blank to change them. Back then the fashion was all fusion and dicking about with classic dishes.
I just don’t understand why the Chinese don’t have their own guides instead of sucking up to the French who know absolutely nothing about Chinese food. Its a complete different thing and experience.
It all smacks of desperation and people making money under the table rather than over it. Its just like when Jason Hu wanted to open a Guggenheim in Taichung .
Taiwan and China should have their own guides but this Michelin stuff plays well with HK, Singapore those kind of places.
Hey it’s just my opinion I respect if others disagree.
And from the article afterspivak linked to above:
The arrival of the Michelin Guide to Taipei is a momentous event for the local food culture. For a city like Taipei that is without credible restaurant critics, sizable crowd-sourced websites, nor enough respect and appreciation for the people in the food industry, Michelin is a most welcomed addition.
That part sort of surprised me - I’ve assumed there’s a rich restaurant review scene here, and I can’t access it because of my poor Chinese. But perhaps it’s limited to Instagram and the iffy news bits that have little to do with food, and more to do with who pays what to whom.
You’d think in a city with as varied a food scene as Taipei, there’d be more infrastructure set up to review and find that food.
Depends. Any restaurant/stand/cart that shows up on the news will have a long line teh next day. That is what passes for “food critic” here.
You can be sued for a bad review . Well at least if it mentions that there are cockroaches running around and you don’t have proof of said cockroaches!
To be honest Taiwanese society is quite corrupt , maybe there is little trust in so called independent food critics .
But social media is so dominant anyway, people barely read the papers and it’s all blogs and live videos and all that jazz. A lot of people take their cue from celebrities rather than experts. And aforementioned long lines.
In Taiwan, all food is totally delicious, so there’s no need for food critics.
Everybody knows that Taiwanese food is famous ALL OVER THE WORLD.
Right, just like Taiwan Beer.
Taiwan beer is FAMOUS ALL OVER TAIWAN.
Some posters have expressed outage over tax money being used to lure the Michelin folks to Taipei. Fair enough–there should definitely be a plurality of views and debate about how to best use public resources.
At the same time, though, I would counter that the government strategy has been, at least since the Chen Shui-bian era, to push tourism as a growth industry. It’s pretty clear the pieces are coming together with infrastructure (example: the Taoyuan Airport MRT), visa free entry for many folks, and an improving service industry lining up. And let’s face it: food is a big way that Taiwan presents itself and appeals to short-term visitors. More discussion (as engendered by the Michelin results) and a higher food profile can only help. I applaud the government for finally taking the initiative to make this happen.
I’m more annoyed with Michelin itself. The tax money spent to lure Michelin, well, that’s marketing - and I suspect it’s more cost-effective than “Taiwan Touch Your Heart” posters all over the world. But for Michelin itself to apparently only write guides for cities that fund them … that’s seedy.
I’d forgotten about lawsuits over bad reviews. Yeah, that’s going to affect the restaurant review scene.
This has always baffled me. The only country I can think of in the region with worse food is the Philippines.
Different palates, I guess? I’m teaching some Korean, Japanese, and Chinese exchange students this semester, and they’re raving about the food here. I don’t think they’re just being polite to their Taiwanese classmates. Lots of Asians do love the food in Taiwan, and good for them, but yeah, I don’t get it either.
+1…just back from Bangkok (30th visit). The scungiest of street vendors there sells food that knocks the socks off of most Taiwan offerings.
It’s not that Taiwan food is bad per se, it’s just not as good as people make it out to be.
[/quote]This has always baffled me. The only country I can think of in the region with worse food is the Philippines.
Not sure about that but it is often over-hyped. For example, I personally find Tainan 小吃 (xiao chi) and local food in general to be not good at all. The food down there is just way too sweet, everything is drenched in sugar.
For sure. Everything is either sweet and salty or salty and sweet…or just sweet. It’s pretty gag-worthy stuff. Taiwanese food in general pretty much tastes and smells like boiled gym socks to me. I like Chinese food, but Taiwanese has got to be one of the worst regional cuisines. Give me Sichuan, Hunan, Cantonese, Jiangzhe, Northern…anything but Taiwanese.
How about Hunan/Sichuan/Cantonese etc food in Taiwan?
Not terribly authentic with some exceptions, but miles above Taiwanese food.