Saga in southern Japan to host Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards 2020

Written by
Jessica Thompson

Since launching in 2013 as a subset of The World's 50 Best Restaurants Awards, Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Awards have so far been held in Singapore, Bangkok and, most recently, Macau. But for the eighth edition, to be held on Tuesday, March 24 2020, the little-known city of Takeo in Saga Prefecture on the island of Kyushu will host the prestigious event, and along with it, some of the region's most skilled and celebrated chefs.

Aside from the official awards ceremony, the #50BestTalks thought-leadership forum will return with a new round of presentations, shedding light not only on emerging trends but also compelling issues affecting the industry. There will also be a Chefs' Feast on the same day, March 23. 

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But why Saga? Aside from Tokyo having its hands full with the 2020 Olympics on the back of the Rugby World Cup 2019, Saga is known for its luscious nature, traditional crafts and bountiful produce. Wedged between Fukuoka and Nagasaki, the prefecture is known for idyllic rural vistas – terraced rice fields, sweeping tea plantations, dramatic mountains, lush greenery and abundant onsen (natural hot springs). Takeo itself is home to a 1300-year-old onsen. 

Saga's mild climate, clean air and water mean livestock like Saga's Grade A5 wagyu beef thrive. The nearby Ariake Sea produces a vibrant seafood industry, particularly squid, crab and oysters. Moreover, Saga ceramics – colourful Arita-yaki and earthy Karatsu-yaki – are through to be the root of Japanese ceramics. 

A prestigious event like Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants is an opportunity to showcase the bountiful offerings of other fascinating regions in Japan outside of the more well-trodden routes.  

The 2019 Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list glittered with Japanese triumphs, with a total of 12 awarded restaurants, 10 of which are in Tokyo, including Den, Florilege, Narisawa, Nihonryori RyuGin and L'Effervescence, so all eyes will be watching when the awards are held on home turf next year. If the results of the recent Rugby World Cup, hosted in Japan, were anything to go by, chefs in the region should be sharpening their knives and skills in the lead up to the Awards night next year. 

Tokyo’s culinary scene is world-famous and we’re here to point you in the right direction. Have you tried any of these 10 things you must eat in Tokyo? How about making a reservation at one of the city’s 100 best restaurants? On a budget? No worries; these Michelin-starred restaurants have amazing lunch deals that are just around ¥1,000.

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