Why did you start The Miele Guide? 'Because, at the time of its inception, there was no credible restaurant guide that accurately reflected the tastes of the dining public in Asia. The region has always needed an independent guide; there were others we felt were not doing it professionally - some of them were taking advertising [from restaurants] in exchange for a larger space [in the guide], which is wrong. With the Restaurant magazine guide to the best restaurants in the world, [Tan] Su-lyn [Koh's wife and co-founder of The Miele Guide] and I were both on the jury. They've had an increasing number of Asian jurors over the years but it's skewed so Asian restaurants can never rise to the top of the list ... [yet] some of them are on par with those ranked on the list.' Were you surprised there were only two Japan-based restaurants (Kyubey and L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon) in the top 20 of last year's guide? 'I would like to have seen more results from Japan in the top 20 but we used votes to determine what restaurants made it into the final list - we didn't add personal choices. There were lots of restaurants in Japan that were nominated - 600 to 1,000 - but with so many phenomenal ones, people find it hard to choose, as opposed to Hong Kong or Singapore, where it's more clear which places are at the top. A lot of restaurants in Japan are very small ... with larger places, you get much more press and popularity - Zuma [in The Landmark, Central, and ranked No12 on the 2008 list] is 10 times the size of some places in Japan. [For the 2009 list] we're trying to increase the number of voters in Japan and Korea. Last year, the majority of voters were in Hong Kong and Singapore.' What countries in Asia do you think are underappreciated for their cuisine? 'What we found amazing is that so many restaurants in the Philippines received votes - there's one in the top 20. It's a country with a reputation for having pretty poor food but it has an amazing dining scene that is gaining international attention - it's deserved. Japan has international attention but it's a place with so many secret restaurants that have become cultish. It's great to try and discover them. I also love eating in Indonesia.' What's your favourite restaurant? 'I don't have one. My favourite restaurant is determined by my craving at that time - what you want at any particular moment determines whether you'll have a great meal.' If you had to, which Asian country would you choose to live in purely for its food? 'It's a toss-up between Japan and Singapore. Japan is attractive because of their dedication to working with really amazing products and being able to produce food of the highest quality. But if I lived there for a long time, I might get tired of the lack of variety. In Singapore, we have access to all cuisines: Southeast Asian, Turkish, Lebanese, modern European, Japanese.' To vote for The Miele Guide's best restaurants in Asia, visit www.mieleguide.com . Voting ends on May 24.