Food blogger Tom W., writes in the Wall Street Journal about why South Korea made no appearance on S.Pelligrino Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, held in Singapore recently.

Mr W. discredits the list as a marketing stunt and “flawed on its face” –none of Beijing’s lauded restaurants appear on the list, for example– but he does offer some interesting insight on the ROK’s absence from the list.

…having eaten at roughly half the restaurants included I find it unsurprising that Korea doesn’t feature at all. This is because the Korean restaurant scene is far behind its regional peers.

In Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and elsewhere there is a focus on authentic but progressive cooking with a respect for the ingredients. Here in Korea the choice at high-end restaurants is between reconstructions of bad Western, Chinese or Japanese food, or traditional Korean food where the emphasis is on the display of wealth and variety of ingredients rather than the quality of the food.

While I have had some decent ‘reconstructions’ of non-Korean food, the pickings are pretty paltry for foreign cuisine –and may the heaven’s open up and shower me in the glory of some good Thai or Vietnamese food someday down here in Busan.

You can read the rest here.