Four restaurants in Kuala Lumpur and Penang were awarded Malaysia’s first-ever Michelin stars at the inaugural Michelin Guide Kuala Lumpur and Penang 2023 ceremony at Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur last night.
Dewakan, a restaurant serving contemporary Malaysian dishes honoring provenance by using local and indigenous produce, and DC by Darren Chin, known for French classics with an emphasis on regional live seafood and local produce, are the two KL restaurants that were awarded with one Michelin Star for their high-quality cooking.
The two Penang restaurants that received one Michelin star are Au Jardin, which specializes in elegant European food with subtle local influences, and Auntie Gaik Lean’s Old School Eatery, which serves Peranakan cuisine produced with quality ingredients and Chef Auntie Gaik’s personal recipes.
“Our first selection in Malaysia highlights the diversity of cuisine on offer in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, reflecting the uniqueness of the country’s multi-ethnic culture in gastronomy.” said Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the Michelin Guide.
Meanwhile, 32 of the 93 restaurants that made the list (17 in Penang and 15 in KL) were given the Bib Gourmand award, which honors “friendly establishments that serve good food at moderate prices”.
Three service awards were also presented; the Michelin Young Chef award went to Lim Yan You from Au Jardin, and the Service Award went to Leanne Lim of Dewakan.
“It is a real milestone for gastronomy in Malaysia to have the Michelin Guide, and special thanks must go to my team and beautiful wife Nana,” said Chin, whose restaurant also earned the Sommelier Special Award.
“We are blown away. We did not expect two awards tonight,” said Au Jardin head chef Kim Hock Su. “All the awards (recognition) goes to my team, who are the ones that make it happen.”
In short speeches given throughout the night, award recipients expressed gratitude for the international recognition, though they were quick to point out that this was never the goal. Surviving the pandemic’s worst days was enough for many.