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The Best Restaurants in Asia: How Much Do Their Tasting Menus Cost?

For the biggest foodies in Singapore, we've rounded up the cost of the best possible meal at the finest restaurants around Asia and Asia Pacific. But, can you really afford these meals?

It's no secret that foodie culture has deeply penetrated every corner of the world. Some of the most popular TV shows are now about food, and an uncountable number of chefs have become big celebrities with huge followings on social networks. As such, people are always on Instagram obsessing over who eats what and where. Naturally, people also care a lot about which chefs and restaurants get rated as the best restaurants in the world. In 2018, there were 23 restaurants in Asia, Australia, Russia and Turkey that ranked as the best 100 restaurants in the world. For those interested, we found out how much a chef's tasting menu would cost at each of these restaurants.

Asian restaurants in the best 100 restaurants in the world list charge an average of US$200 per person for a course meal

Expect to Spend At Least US$200 Per Person

According to our data shown above, you can expect to spend at least US$200 per person to experience the ultimate tasting menu at one of these "best" restaurants in Asia. In fact, some of the most expensive restaurants were all in China and Japan, with Ultraviolet in China charging up to US$600 per person for a meal. Given these price tags, it's not surprising that a big portion of these restaurants only offer 8 to 10 course tasting meals on their menu. While some restaurants also offer cheaper and smaller course menus (or even a la carte options), many also offer more expensive upgrade options. For example, many of the Japanese restaurants below's websites only showed minimum pricing for their meals, indicating that you could spend even more for more food and beverage options. Similarly, many restaurants offer wine pairing menus that sometimes cost as much as the meal itself.

Food at Ultraviolet in China
Food at Ultraviolet in China. Source: AFAR

In Singapore, 2 restaurants made the top 100 list this year: Odette and Burnt Ends. Odette offers a 8-act course meal for S$328 (US239.44), which was the 7th most expensive among Asian restaurants in the top 100, though it also offered a 6-act course meal for S$268. On the other hand, Burnt Ends didn't feature any course meal on their menu, and just showed a la carte prices. Still, it seems to be the cheapest among the restaurants featured here, with some online sources indicating price of S$75 per person for a meal.

Food at Burnt Ends in Singapore
Food at Burnt Ends in Singapore. Source: Burnt Ends website

How Should You Pay for a Meal at These Restaurants?

There are ways to reduce the financial impact of dining at one of these high-end dining establishments. In particular, there are several miles credit cards that are excellent for earning high amount of miles on your large restaurant bills. Miles credit cards are exceptionally useful for this usage because their rewards tend not to be capped (unlike cashback cards whose rebates could easily be tapped out by a fancy meal). For instance, the three cards below are excellent dining credit cards because they provide a high amount of miles for each dollar you spend at a restaurant, local or overseas. While most of these cards are tailored for high-income individuals who may dine at these establishments regularly, Maybank Horizon Card could be more friendly for budget-minded foodies, especially given that its lower annual fee is waived for 3 years (and in subsequent years for those who spend S$18,000 on the card annually).

SC Visa Infinicte, OCBC Voyage and Maybank Horizon Cards are the best miles cards in Singapore to use for fine dining

Important to Remember That Food Standards Are Subjective

Still, those who are disappointed by these sometimes extremely high price tags shouldn't think too much of it. Food is a rather subjective topic, since each person can vary significantly on how much she likes a restaurant. In fact, even experts seem to disagree. For example, plenty of restaurants with 3 Michelin stars, widely considered to be one of the most authoritative source of restaurant reviews, didn't even make this top 100 list we cited in this article. Similarly, many of the restaurants in the top 100 list haven't received 3 Michelin stars before.

Regardless of the list, price doesn't always indicate how happy you are going to be after eating their food. Just the fact that restaurants of "similar calibre" (since they are all rated at the top) charge such a wide range of prices depending on where they are located and what their chefs believe should be a good indicator of this principle. In fact, these restaurants' ranks don't seem to have any correlation with their prices. Then, who's to say you will be less happy by spending US$50-150 on a delicious meal in Singapore or Korea compared to spending US$400-600 in China or Japan? Surely, everyone is entitled to pursue what she wants. You can dream and save enough money to enjoy an extravagant meal at any of these restaurants. And, those who are on a budget can choose other alternatives with much lower price tags and still serve amazing quality food.

Duckju Kang

Duckju (DJ) is the founder and CEO of ValueChampion. He covers the financial services industry, consumer finance products, budgeting and investing. He previously worked at hedge funds such as Tiger Asia and Cadian Capital. He graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics with honors, Magna Cum Laude. His work has been featured on major international media such as CNBC, Bloomberg, CNN, the Straits Times, Today and more.

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