Michelin Guide Kuala Lumpur and Penang 2023

The inaugural Michelin Guide Kuala Lumpur and Penang 2023 was launched this evening.

As usual, Michelin shocked locals with some unexpected choices, whilst ignoring some local favourites altogether.

Four restaurants were awarded 1-Michelin star: 2 in Kuala Lumpur, and 2 in Penang.

  1. DC by Darren Chin (Kuala Lumpur)
    [Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia] DC Restaurant by Darren Chin

  2. Dewakan (Kuala Lumpur)
    [Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia] Modern-Malaysian cuisine at Dewakan

  3. Au Jardin (Penang)
    [Penang, Malaysia] Lunch at Au Jardin, Hin Bus Depot

  4. Auntie Gaik Lean’s Old School Eatery (Penang)
    [Penang, Malaysia] Nyonya lunch at Auntie Gaik Lean's


As usual!

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Well, @klyeoh , if Michelin didn’t ask you to write the guide for them, then the guide is no good.


I suspect Kuala Lumpur and Penang folks would actually be disappointed if it did not. :joy:

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So, what is your personal take on the awarded restaurants, and any notable omissions? Any standout favourite missing? Surprise inclusion? Of the four restaurants only the last one seems like a mid-range price point place, and by the looks of it where I’d want to go first.

Way too many omissions to recount here. I’m personally stunned by some of the choices. Quite hard for me to say it out here, since I know all the owner-chefs of the restaurants.

One notable favourite missing from the list was David Chin’s Cafe Bistrot David, far and away the best bistro in Malaysia, serving some of the best food in the entire region, not just Malaysia. I can’t explain why it’s missing from Michelin’s list - an elephant in the room.

But David Chin’s son, Darren, came out tops last night - DC by Darren Chin is probably the most deserving of the 1-Michelin-star awardees last night. Darren’s two other restaurants, the inventive casual diner Bref by Darren Chin and the too-good-to-miss Gai by Darren Chin were both mentioned in the guide.

Kuala Lumpur’s groundbreaking FLOUR deserved a star at least for Yogesh Upadhyay’s inventive take on Indian classics, whilst Elegant Inn is far and away the best Cantonese in a very Cantonese city that is Kuala Lumpur.

For Penang, Ceki and Winn’s are two other good Nyonya restaurants that were surprisingly left out.

Two Frenchies should’ve been on the list, too. But then, they were up against their own.

Most Penangites actually sighed with relief when they saw the street vendors on the list - most of their favourite ones are not on the list, thus we are spared the hordes of tourists who’d come flood our hangouts, if they’d been listed.
None of my 10 favourite street vendors in Penang are mentioned. A large “phew” here. :joy:


Just one example I wanted to highlight here:

Personally, I don’t think the Michelin inspectors were even aware that Tok Tok Mee Bamboo Noodles (which they listed on Bib Gourmand) just took over the location of Hong Kee Wan Thun Mee last year.

The noodle-makers from the Thum family who ran Hong Kee had learnt their technique from KL-based Jeffrey Tan aka “Loong Sifu”, who plies his own trade in Jalan Lazat, Happy Gardens, KL. They were the ones Michelin inspectors should be looking at, not someone else who just came to squat in that location. The true master chefs were being overlooked completely in this case.

Some of the other entrants in Kuala Lumpur and Penang were even more unbelievable.