Shanghai’s food star status cemented –

Chefs from a local restaurant join counterparts from Michelin-listed restaurants to showcase their culinary skills for an audience in Shanghai last year. YANG YI/FOR CHINA DAILY

Shanghai remains the country’s gastronomic capital with 10 new restaurants representing a wide range of cuisines included in the 2021 Michelin Guide Shanghai published on Wednesday, taking the number listed to 125.

Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, a single-table restaurant, maintained its place as the only three-star restaurant-the highest rating-in the guide, which has been updated annually since 2016.

Two of last year’s one-star restaurants, Cantonese restaurant Bao Li Xuan and Italian restaurant Da Vittorio Shanghai, were promoted to two stars.

Among the newcomers in this year’s edition, four received one star-Meet the Bund featuring Fujian cuisine, Ren He Guan showcasing Shanghainese cuisine, Tea Culture with Huaiyang dishes and Canton Table offering Cantonese dim sum and seasonal food.

The other six newcomers were named Michelin Plate restaurants, which recognize restaurants for their high-quality ingredients, thoughtful techniques and good-tasting food.

“We can see a stable trend of diversification of regional Chinese cuisine in the guide,” said Xi Bei, a food reviewer in Shanghai. “In its first Shanghai edition, about 70 percent of the restaurants provide Cantonese cuisine, which is more familiar to foreigners because of its global spread through Hong Kong and Macao.

“In the past two years, more local cuisines have been included, which reflects the bigger picture that more Chinese restaurants have been making strides toward fine dining.”

Wu Rong, owner of the newly listed Meet the Bund, said: “We are happy to be recommended by the Michelin Guide after opening our branch in Shanghai for only one year. I have noticed the boom of regional cuisine in China in recent years.

“I hope more Fujian restaurants can open up branches in top-tier cities, like Beijing and Shanghai, and bring our unique culture to guests from around the world.”

Wu said the COVID-19 pandemic had hit the catering industry hard from January to March, but restaurants had managed to overcome the difficulties, and customers had begun to return since April.

“The release of the guide has cheered up the industry, and we are happy that our efforts received recognition,” he said.

The management of L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, a French restaurant in Shanghai that has maintained its two-star status for five years, said business started to rebound in April, and the restaurant has often been fully booked since June.

Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin guides, who was unable to attend the guide’s launch ceremony due to the pandemic, said in a congratulatory video: “I can definitely tell you that in the past five years our inspectors have been constantly impressed by the very high and growing potential of the local culinary scene. Chefs have demonstrated both resilience and solidarity in the last months to overcome the COVID crisis, and their commitment impressed us at all levels.

“With this new edition of the Michelin Guide Shanghai being released at a time the industry needs all our support after an unprecedented crisis, we are extremely proud to tell the world that Shanghai once again is a true paradise for food lovers!”

Michelin has published guides for three cities in China. Last month, it updated its Guangzhou edition, which recommended 89 restaurants covering mainly local Cantonese cuisine and Southeast Asian cuisines. It has yet to renew the guide for Beijing, which lists 100 restaurants.

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