Michelin Awards Three Stars to Hong Kong Shark’s Fin Restaurant

2011 Michelin Guide
The cover art of the 2011 Michelin guide to Hong Kong Macau. Source: Michelin via Bloomberg

Sun Tung Lok, a Chinese restaurant serving shark’s fin soup, today becomes the third establishment in Hong Kong to hold three Michelin stars.

Four more Hong Kong venues are awarded two Michelin stars: the Cantonese restaurants Celebrity Cuisine and Cuisine Cuisine at the Mira; 8-1/2 Otto e Mezzo, a contemporary Italian eatery; and Pierre, the modern French restaurant of chef Pierre Gagnaire. Another 19 eateries gain their first star.

Environmentalists say that serving shark’s fin leads to the killing of millions of sharks each year and poses a threat to some species. A poll by Yahoo! Hong Kong in October indicated that 65 percent of Hong Kong couples planned to keep shark’s fin soup off their wedding menus because of environmental concerns. Among younger respondents, the number rose to 76 percent.

“We’ve awarded three stars to Sun Tung Lok because of the quality of its Cantonese cuisine, not for its shark’s fin,” Jean-Luc Naret, the director of the guides, said in a telephone interview. “We understand the controversy and we’re not trying to promote shark’s fin, but fine Cantonese cooking.”

Two restaurants in Macau are promoted to two stars: the Eight and Tim’s Kitchen. They join Zi Yat Heen at that level. The Italian eatery Il Teatro gains its first star, joining Aurora, Jade Garden, Lei Garden and Wing Lei. Robuchon a Galera retains its position as Macau’s only three-star establishment.

The Michelin Guide Hong Kong Macau 2011 includes a total selection of four three-star restaurants (three in Hong Kong and one in Macau); 12 two stars (nine in Hong Kong, three in Macau); and 53 one-star establishments (48 in Hong Kong, five in Macau).

Congee, Dumplings

The guide adds more local eateries: five with Cantonese roast meat, three for congee rice porridge and two for dumplings. Hong Kong’s other three-star establishments are Caprice and Lung King Heen.

“The Michelin Guide Hong Kong Macau 2011” will be available on Dec. 2 in Hong Kong, Macau and Southeast Asia and from the beginning of February in Europe.

Five criteria are used for awarding stars: product quality, preparation and flavors, the chef’s personality as revealed through the cuisine, value for money and consistency over time and across the menu, Michelin said. The criteria are adapted to each type of cuisine, including Japanese cooking styles.

Three stars mean exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey; two stars are for excellent cooking, worth a detour; one star denotes a very good restaurant in its category.

Michelin & Cie. is the world’s second-biggest tiremaker after Bridgestone Corp. It produced its first guide in August 1900, distributed free of charge (until 1920) and originally intended for chauffeurs. The guide contained practical information, including street maps and tips on using and repairing tires. The guides are expanding internationally under Naret and now cover 23 countries.

Michelin’s guide to France is scheduled for publication early in March. The U.K. guide appears in mid-January. The last volume to appear, in mid-March, is “Main Cities of Europe.” That guide covers Copenhagen, where all eyes are on chef Rene Redzepi to see if his restaurant Noma gains its third star.

Naret plans to step down at the end of this year.

The new stars for Hong Kong:

Three stars Sun Tung Lok, Chinese

Two stars Celebrity Cuisine, Cantonese Cuisine Cuisine at The Mira, Cantonese 8½ Otto e Mezzo, Italian contemporary Pierre, French contemporary One star Cafe Gray Deluxe, European contemporary Chilli Fagara, Sichuan Din Tai Fung (Causeway Bay), Shanghainese Fu Ho (Tsim Sha Tsui), Cantonese Fung Lum, Cantonese Golden Valley, Cantonese and Sichuan Hin Ho Curry, (Shau Kei Wan), Indian Ho Hung Kee, Noodles and Congee Hoi King Heen, Cantonese Kin’s Kitchen, Cantonese Lei Bistro, Chinese Lei Garden (IFC), Cantonese Lei Garden (Kowloon Bay), Cantonese Lei Garden (Sha Tin), Cantonese Mist, Japanese Nanhai No.1, Chinese contemporary One Dim Sum, Dim Sum Spoon by Alain Ducasse, French Tim Ho Wan (Sham Shui Po), Dim Sum

(Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)

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