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8 Top Chefs Pick Their Top Bites for 2016

Chefs have been telling various publications such as The Guardian and Vogue their top picks for the best dishes of the year. In a landmark year when Singapore's hawker food has been lauded with Michelin stars, it may come as no surprise that one top chef singled out Singapore's humble chicken rice as his favourite dish of the year.

CLAUS MEYER
Top Pick: Chicken Rice, Wee Nam Kee, Singapore
The renowned restaurateur and co-founder of two Michelin-starred Copenhagen restaurant Noma visited Singapore and had a taste of the famous chicken rice chain’s signature dish. Meyer waxed lyrical to The Guardian newspaper about the “best chicken” he had ever eaten, confessing that “when the chicken melted in my mouth, tears came to my eyes”.

TOM KITCHIN
Top Pick: Squid Bolognese, Koffman’s, London
The Scottish chef and founder of The Kitchin in Edinburgh is well known as a guest judge and mentor on reality TV show MasterChef, and is the youngest restaurateur to earn a Michelin Star. He recommends French chef Pierre Koffman’s squid bolognese at his landmark restaurant. Calling the unusual dish, which contains no pasta, “a must try”, Kitchin told the Guardian that his choice could partly be driven by nostalgia as Koffman’s will close indefinitely from January 1, 2017.

GEORGE MARCHAND
Top Pick: Scallops with Truffle Puree, Cove Club, London
George Marchand, chef-patron of London restaurant Frenchie, raved to The Guardian about this dish. He called it “really fresh, really beautiful and really, really tasty”. So if you crave fresh seafood in London, Cove Club is the place to go.

EMMA BENGTSSON
Top Pick: Brunch, Le Barricou, New York
The executive chef of two-Michelin-starred Aquavit is a fan of New York’s Le Berricou. She told Vogue that the French bistro offers a laidback, friendly atmosphere, for anyone who wishes to take a break from the bustling crowds of the Big Apple. “The food is just what you need on a Sunday morning.” And the chef added that Le Berricou makes “a killer Bloody Mary”.

MATT LAMBERT
Top Pick: Smoked Mozzarella and Sausage Pizza, San Matteo, New York
Psst, looking for a hidden gem? The co-owner and executive chef of one-Michelin-starred The Musket Room recommends San Matteo Pizza, a hole-in-the-wall brick oven pizza place. The New Zealand-born chef told Vogue that he eats there at least once a week, and also recommended their meat plate and calzones.

Tonkatsu, or pork cutlet, from Butagumi, a restaurant in Tokyo, Japan.

Photo: SPH / Tan Hsueh Yun

Tonkatsu, or pork cutlet, from Butagumi, a restaurant in Tokyo, Japan.

DAVID BARZELAY
Top Pick: Tonkatsu, Butagumi, Tokyo
David Barzelay, chef and owner of San Francisco hotspot The Lazy Bear, tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet) in Japan is a must-try. He tweeted a picture of Butagumi’s fat, juicy chop and declared it “one of the best things we have eaten so far”. He told online travel site Afar that the tonkatsu was “beautifully crispy on the outside and tender and fatty on the inside” and called it “simple and delicious”.

MASSIMO BOTTURA
Top Pick: Pumpkin Tortelli, Dal Pescatore, Canneto Sull’Oglio, Italy
Another dish which brought a chef to the brink of tears is Dal Pescatore‘s Pumpkin Tortelli. Acclaimed chef Massimo Bottura, chef-patron of three-Michelin-starred restaurant Osteria Francescana, told The Guardian: “As soon as I tasted it, I was emotionally touched, because it took me back to the memory of my youth.”

But it might be a hard dish to get to as the restaurant is located in Runata, a small rural village in the north of Italy. The restaurant is run by chef Nadia Santini – the first woman to be awarded three Michelin stars.

ANDY OLIVER
Top Pick: Gaeng Ki Lek (beef and cassia leaf curry), Bo.Lan, Bangkok
If you are headed to Bangkok for the holidays, you might want to check out chef Andy Oliver’s recommendation. The co-owner of Som Saa restaurant picks a high-end interpretation of the humble beef curry by Bangkok fine dining restaurant Bo.Lan.

He told Guardian newspaper: “When you’re just off a flight from the UK and eat here, it smacks you square in the face – all those familiar Thai tastes and ingredients are turned up to 11, because they’re fresh from the market that morning.”

This story first ran in The Straits Times.