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Meta in Singapore is the recipient of the 2021 American Express One To Watch Award. Selected by the organisers of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, in collaboration with its regional experts, the American Express One To Watch Award is presented to a restaurant that is outside the main Asia’s 50 Best list but is identified as the rising star of the region.

Opened in 2016 by South Korean-born chef Sun Kim, Meta – a shortening of metamorphosis – celebrates authentic Asian flavours and high-end European cooking techniques. The progressive menu reflects Kim’s cultural upbringing, travels and influences. His interest in cooking began as a teenager while working in his mother’s restaurant in Seoul and, in 2011, he travelled to Australia to enroll at Le Cordon Bleu in Sydney. Feeling a strong affinity with chef Tetsuya Wakuda’s philosophy upon reading one of his books, Kim secured a job at iconic Tetsuya’s in Sydney, where he worked under the tutelage of the culinary legend. In 2014, he was seconded to Wakuda’s award-winning Waku Ghin in Singapore, eventually calling the city-state his home.

Chef Sun Kim

Since Meta’s launch, Kim’s culinary style has evolved and matured, drawing increased inspiration from his Korean heritage, alongside the delicate artistry of Japanese cuisine and his education in Western cooking techniques. Admired for itstechnical expertise and creative flair, Meta’s menu distinguishes itself with subtle flavours, elegant presentations and inspired combinations of seasonal ingredients, as evident in Chef Kim’s Kinmedai dish, featuring foie gras, shimeji mushroom and black truffle. Having relocated to an airier location at 1 Keong Saik Road in October 2018, the restaurant features low tables and a cosy four-seat counter, creating an intimate atmosphere.

William Drew, Director of Content at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, says: “While Meta honours Chef Kim’s Korean heritage and the traditional dishes of his childhood, the menu boldly integrates elements of Japanese and French cuisines. Chef Kim’s progressive cooking techniques and creative execution, combined with a serene dining experience, make Meta a worthy winner of the American Express One To Watch Award 2021.”

Responding to the honour, chef Kim says: “I am very humbled and honoured to receive this award from Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. I couldn’t have achieved this without the support and hard work of the Meta team.”

Chris Cracchiolo, Senior Vice President of Global Membership Rewards & Loyalty Benefits at American Express, says: “American Express is proud to support this award, which champions innovation, ingenuity and excellence in dining. We are honoured to present this award to the team at Meta, who have created a oneof-kind dining experience that combines Chef Kim’s passion for Korean, Japanese and French cuisines.”

Meta joins a prestigious line-up of recent One To Watch award winners including Masque in Mumbai (2020), JL Studio in Taichung (2019), Toyo Eatery in Manila (2018), TocToc in Seoul (2017) and Florilège in Tokyo (2016).

Chef Kim’s achievements will be celebrated as part of the online ceremony for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021 on 25 March, from 4.30pm HK/SG (5.30pm JPN), which will be broadcast to a global audience via Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Facebook and the 50 Best Restaurants TV Youtube channel.

How the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list is compiled

The annual list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants is created from the votes of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of over 300 leaders made up of food writers and critics, chefs, restaurateurs and regional culinary experts, with a 50/50 gender balance.

50 Best works with professional services consultancy Deloitte as its official independent adjudication partner to help protect the integrity and authenticity of the voting process and the resulting list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. For more details on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants voting process, visit:

Essence of Asia

2021 marks the launch of the Essence of Asia collection in parallel to this year’s list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. To be unveiled on Tuesday, 16th March, the Essence of Asia collection recognises establishments that represent the spirit of Asian gastronomy. This unranked collection turns the spotlight on restaurantsthat have had a positive impact on their communities and local cuisine, whether during the recent crisis or over a sustained period. Integral to Asia’s culinary ecosystem, these casual restaurants preserve culinary traditions, honour authentic flavours and provide a vital link to their communities.

50 Best for Recovery 2021: opportunity for change

The 50 Best organisation will reinforce its commitment to supporting and promoting restaurants and bars across the world through its 50 Best for Recovery 2021 programme. This year also brings opportunities for positive change as the sector rebuilds and remodels itself with a greater focus on inclusivity and long-term sustainability. 50 Best will use its global platform to highlight even more great restaurants and bars worldwide – through its 50 Best lists, special awards, unranked collections and content series – as well as showcase individuals shaping the future of gastronomy through its new 50 Next list, debuting on 22nd February, 2021. 50 Best will take the opportunity in 2021 and beyond to amplify diverse voices and positive messages, foster progressive discussion and cross-border collaboration, and encourage greater gastronomic discovery and exploration.


Notes to Editors:
William Reed Business Media

The Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list is published by William Reed Business Media, which also publishes The World's 50 Best Restaurants, launched in 2002, and Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants, launched in September 2013, as well as The World’s 50 Best Bars and Asia’s 50 Best Bars. William Reed Business Media is entirely responsible for the organisation of the awards, the voting system and the list.

Award sponsor: American Express

American Express is a globally integrated payments company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. American Express, along with restaurant reservation platform Resy, are trusted sources for diners and connect the best restaurants and guests at global digital scale.

Main sponsor: S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna

S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna are the main sponsors and official water partners of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna are the leading natural mineral waters in the fine dining world. Together they interpret Italian style worldwide as a synthesis of excellence, pleasure and well-being.

Other partners:

Inedit Damm – Official Beer Partner and sponsor of Inedit Damm Chefs’ Choice Award

Gin Mare – Official Premium Gin Partner and sponsor of Gin Mare Art of Hospitality Award

Beronia – Official Wine Partner and sponsor of Beronia Highest Climber Award

Cinco Jotas – Official Ibérico Ham Partner and sponsor of Asia’s Best Female Chef Award

Flor de Caña – Official Rum Partner and sponsor of Flor de Caña Sustainable Restaurant Award

Aspire Lifestyles – Official Concierge Partner and sponsor of Highest New Entry Award

Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants – social media

Follow on Twitter: @The Worlds50Best #Asias50Best

Follow on Instagram: @TheWorlds50Best

Become a Facebook fan:

Subscribe to 50 Best Restaurants TV on YouTube:

The awards ceremony will be streamed live on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Facebook page and the 50 Best Restaurants TV Youtube channel on 25 March from 4.30pm HK/SG (5.30pm JPN).

This release is also available in the following languages:

English, Thai, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese. The official language of the press office is English.


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