Michelin China president Kamran-Charles Vossoughi at the announcement ceremony in Beijing for the city’s first Michelin guide.
Michelin China president Kamran-Charles Vossoughi at the announcement ceremony in Beijing for the city’s first Michelin guide.

Michelin Guide Beijing gives three stars to Xin Rong Ji in inaugural list of city’s best restaurants

  • Xin Rong Ji was the only restaurant to be awarded three stars by the prestigious guide in its first edition for the Chinese capital
  • Vegetarian restaurant King’s Joy and Wulixiang Shanghai Cuisine each received two stars, while 20 restaurants were awarded one star
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Michelin China president Kamran-Charles Vossoughi at the announcement ceremony in Beijing for the city’s first Michelin guide.
Michelin China president Kamran-Charles Vossoughi at the announcement ceremony in Beijing for the city’s first Michelin guide.

Xin Rong Ji was the big winner in the The Michelin Guide Beijing 2020 – the first edition of the guide for the city – with the restaurant’s location on Xin Yuan South Road awarded the only three stars given to any restaurant in Beijing this year, while two of its other locations were given one star each.

The guide was unveiled today in the Chinese capital.

Set up in 1995, Xin Rong Ji serves the cuisine of Taizhou, a city in Zhejiang province. It is famous for fisherman-esque fare, including steamed or roasted talon shrimp and Guangzhou dishes like stirred-fried snake with salt and pepper.

Vegetarian restaurant King’s Joy and Wulixiang Shanghai Cuisine each received two stars, while 20 restaurants were awarded one star, including In Love, The Georg, Lao Ji Tang, Mio and Cai Yi Xuan. The last two can be found in the Four Seasons Beijing, where the awards ceremony for the restaurant guide was held.

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The Michelin Guide Beijing announcement ceremony was held at the Four Seasons Beijing hotel.
The Michelin Guide Beijing announcement ceremony was held at the Four Seasons Beijing hotel.

Da Dong, a restaurant well known in Beijing for its Peking duck, surprisingly only had two of its locations listed in the new guide – each of which got one star – while no stars were awarded to fine dining European restaurant TRB Hutong.

Opera Bombana, an Italian restaurant opened by
chef Umberto Bombana
, did not receive any stars either, despite the chef being the co-owner of three-Michelin-star restaurant 8½ Otto e Mezzo in Hong Kong’s Central district.
Wok-fried diced Australian wagyu beef with green pepper and mushroom at Cai Yi Xuan, which received one star.
Wok-fried diced Australian wagyu beef with green pepper and mushroom at Cai Yi Xuan, which received one star.

Some Hong Kong-based Cantonese restaurants made the list, including Lei Garden and Seventh Son – the latter of which is best known for its preparation of high-end ingredients like abalone and fish maw. The Beijing Kitchen, a Cantonese-style restaurant that serves dim sum, roasted pigeon and claypot rice, also received one star.

Il Ristorante – Niko Romito
received one star, as did Family Li Imperial Cuisine, which is helmed by celebrated chef Ivan Li Xiaolin, who makes dishes from the Qing dynasty (1644-1912).
Jing Yaa Tang was also awarded a star. The restaurant, located in the Opposite House in the city’s Sanlitun area,
is famous for its Beijing roast duck
. Its chief chef, Li Dong, established his reputable standing in the industry by making Cantonese dishes.
Chef Li Dong of Jing Yaa Tang in Beijing. Photo: Jing Yaa Tang
Chef Li Dong of Jing Yaa Tang in Beijing. Photo: Jing Yaa Tang
Roast duck at Jing Yaa Tang. Photo: Tom Wang
Roast duck at Jing Yaa Tang. Photo: Tom Wang

Li told the Post he has a special affinity for Beijing cuisine and that his trademark dish of jing yaa tang – roasted Peking duck – is the fruit of years of research.

Michelin entered the China market with the launch of its
Shanghai restaurant guide in 2016
. This was followed by its second China guide, for Guangzhou, in 2018.

At today’s ceremony, Kamran Vossoughi, the president of Michelin China, said the guide book’s arrival in Beijing has opened a new culinary chapter in the country.

He said that Michelin inspectors visited many places, from hutongs to modern buildings, to fully experience Beijing’s culinary culture.

Interior of Mio, which received one star.
Interior of Mio, which received one star.

Three stars

Xin Rong Ji (Xin Yuan South Road)

Two stars

King’s Joy

Wulixiang Shanghai Cuisine

One star

Cai Yi Xuan

Cui Hua Lou

Da Dong (Gongti East Road)

Da Dong (Dongsi 10th Alley)

Family Li Imperial Cuisine (Xicheng)

Fu Chun Ju

Huaiyang Fu

Il Ristorante – Niko Romito

In Love (Gongti East Road)

Jing Yaa Tang

Lao Ji Tang

Lei Garden (Jinbao Tower)

Mio

Poetry Wine

Seventh Son

Shen Yong Xing (Chaoyang)

The Beijing Kitchen

The Georg

Xin Rong Ji (Jianguomenwai Street)

Xin Rong Ji (Jinrong Street)

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Barack Obama and Japan’s Shinzo Abe after a private dinner at Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP
Barack Obama and Japan’s Shinzo Abe after a private dinner at Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP

Barack Obama’s favourite sushi restaurant – visited by Katy Perry, Hugh Jackman – dropped from 2020 Tokyo Michelin guide

  • When Barack Obama ate with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo, he said it was the best sushi he’d eaten in his life
  • Because the famed restaurant no longer accepts reservations, it does not qualify for its three Michelin stars this year
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Barack Obama and Japan’s Shinzo Abe after a private dinner at Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP
Barack Obama and Japan’s Shinzo Abe after a private dinner at Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP

A famed Tokyo sushi restaurant where Barack Obama is said to have enjoyed the best sushi of his life has been dropped from the latest Michelin gourmet guide after it stopped accepting reservations from the general public.

Sukiyabashi Jiro, immortalised in the 2011 documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, has earned three Michelin stars every year since 2007 and is considered to dish up some of the world’s greatest delicacies.

But the restaurant – where the chef’s selection starts at 40,000 yen (US$360) – was glaringly absent from the Michelin Guide Tokyo 2020 when it was unveiled to the media on Tuesday because it does not accept reservations.

“We recognise Jiro Sukiyabashi does not accept reservations from the general public, which makes it out of our scope,” said a spokeswoman from the Japanese branch of Michelin.

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“It was not true to say the restaurant lost stars but it is not subject to coverage in our guide,” she said. “Michelin’s policy is to introduce restaurants where everybody can go to eat.”

To win a coveted seat at the restaurant, you either need to be a regular, have special connections, or go through the concierge of a top hotel. On its website, Sukiyabashi Jiro says it is “currently experiencing difficulties in accepting reservations” and apologises for “any inconvenience to our valued customers.”

A still from Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011).
A still from Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011).

“Unfortunately, as our restaurant can only seat up to 10 guests at a time, this situation is likely to continue,” it says.

The restaurant is run by sushi maestro Jiro Ono, well into his 90s, helped by his eldest son Yoshikazu.

Another branch, run by his younger son and located in the modern Roppongi Hills complex, kept its two stars as it is open to public reservations.

The main, basement restaurant opened its doors in 1965 and has remained in an ageing commercial building in a corner of the Ginza district ever since.

When then
US President Barack Obama
travelled to Tokyo in 2014, he joined a long list of Ono’s celebrity guests, including
French master chef Joel Robuchon
and Hollywood stars Hugh Jackman and Katy Perry.

As Obama and Abe thrashed out trade talks, Ono senior served them his own selection of 20 pieces as he does to every diner, according to son Yoshikazu.

A piece of tuna in a still from Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
A piece of tuna in a still from Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

“He (Obama) seemed to like chu-toro (medium fatty tuna) very much because he winked when he ate it,” he said.

The son said the president had eaten them all and praised the way he skilfully handled the delicacies.

“He said three times, ‘This is the best sushi I’ve ever had in my life’,” he added.

Like cooking? For Asian recipes to make at home for friends and family, visit
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