Four local dishes make it in Best Traditional Food in the World list
Makansutra founder has 'no respect' for TasteAtlas as it honours two versions of laksa, chilli crab, duck rice
The best chilli crab in the world can be found at Jumbo Seafood and the best laksa at National Kitchen by Violet Oon.
So claims TasteAtlas' Top 100 list of Best Traditional Food in the World, based on more than 63,000 ratings on the online search engine and compendium of good local food and quality restaurants worldwide.
It has 550,000 followers on Facebook and over 44,000 followers on Instagram.
The top three rated food items were pizza margherita in Naples, Italy, adana kebab in Istanbul, Turkey, and ramen in Shibuya, Japan.
Laksa, listed as a Malaysian dish, was ranked at 27, with Ms Oon's dry version taking the honours.
Jumbo's chilli crab was in 78th place. Also making the cut are two other Singapore eateries - hawker stalls Sungei Road Laksa at Jalan Berseh for its "curry laksa", ranked at 93, and Hup Seng Duck Rice in Sin Ming Road for its duck rice, at 99.
This list is part of the TasteAtlas Traditional Food Awards 2020, the results of which were released on its website and social media channels this month.
Nine Singapore eateries were also ranked in a separate list of Best Traditional Restaurants in the world. Jumbo was the only one to make both lists. The others include Hill Street Fried Kway Teow, Zai Shun Curry Fish Head and Mr and Mrs Mohgan's Super Crispy Roti Prata.
Food critic and Makansutra founder K.F. Seetoh told The New Paper that the list "does not garner (his) respect".
He feels it was "not well researched or credible" as it appears to him that it "simply chose popular restaurants on the Internet". He also thinks that TasteAtlas "is not well known enough".
Mr Seetoh added that "Singaporeans don't need foreigners to tell us what food is good" because it has a proud food culture like other countries such as France and Thailand.
However, he agreed that Hup Seng Duck Rice is among the better ones and congratulated the others for making the list.
He said: "I wish for all businesses, whether they are on the list or not, to survive this pandemic."
Incidentally, some pictures of the dishes used on the TasteAtlas website do not resemble the actual dishes.
Its laksa photo looks more like the curry gravy version than Ms Oon's dry laksa, while its picture of Hup Seng's duck rice features roasted pork and char siew instead.
TNP's resident food reviewer Yeoh Wee Teck said TasteAtlas is "just one of many food lists out there" and "does not resonate as much as other more formidable lists".
"Any Best Of list is controversial. A food's Best Of? That's just asking for war," he said.
"It is debatable if Violet Oon's dry laksa is the best in the world, but I like it and would rank it as one of the best I've tasted.
"Jumbo's chilli crab has a reputation that spans the globe, and an international audience would certainly think it's the best. But there are other versions locals will enjoy as much, if not more."
Still, Mr Yeoh feels we should not knock TasteAsia's list too much.
"A lot of F&B businesses have suffered in the last six months, so I'm all for anything to give them a boost. Always better to celebrate than denigrate."
Ms Oon said this is the first time her restaurant has been mentioned and awarded on TasteAtlas.
She told TNP: "Our dry laksa has always been one of our popular signature dishes ever since we introduced it."
While acknowledging that "taste is subjective", Mr Ang Kiam Meng, group CEO and executive director of the Jumbo Group of Restaurants, said its chilli crab recipe and taste was "developed over many years of refinement".
Dr Leslie Tay, who writes the food blog ieatishootipost, said he was not aware he was listed as one of the critics in TasteAtlas' Best Traditional Restaurants list.
But he thinks it is fine as long the person compiling the information "quotes his sources correctly".
Dr Tay said he has tasted the four local dishes in the Best Food list but added: "It is opinion, no point debating. No one will be able to pick the top 100 that everyone will be satisfied with."