The Academy

The Diners Club Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy is the mechanism used to create the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list. None of the employees of any of the sponsors associated with the awards, including the main sponsor, votes or has any influence over the results.

The Academy is comprised of 318 members, each selected for their expert opinion of the Asian restaurant scene. To create the Academy, and provide a fair representation of the continent, we divide Asia into six separate voting regions.

Each region has a chairperson appointed for their knowledge of their part of the restaurant world. These chairs each select a voting panel of 53 (including themselves) – ensuring a balanced selection of chefs, restaurateurs, food/restaurant journalists and gourmets. Read the Manifesto


Crystyl Mo

Academy Chair | China & Korea

Crystyl Mo is a freelance food writer, editor, TV host and consultant who has been charting China’s burgeoning restaurant scene for over a decade. The former food editor of Time Out Shanghai, she has contributed to international publications including Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine, Condé Nast Traveler, AFAR and CNNGo.

Evelyn Chen

Academy Chair | South-East Asia (South)

Based in Singapore, Evelyn is the local editor of Zagat and a former Time Out food critic who contributes to numerous premium publications including New York Times, Telegraph Travel, Conde Nast Traveller and CNN Travel, as well as writing her own well-established blog, Bibik Gourmand. She has also appeared in numerous food-related TV programmes including Asian Ace, 3 Chefs 1 City and The Toque 12.

Mason Florence

Academy Chair | South-East Asia (North)

A native New Yorker, Mason Florence moved to Thailand in 2002 after 12 years in Japan as a Kyoto-based correspondent for The Japan Times newspaper and a travel guide book author for Lonely Planet publications (titles include Japan, Kyoto, Hiking in Japan, Vietnam, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Southeast Asia). As founder of Talisman Media Group, he has created publications including Bangkok 101 magazine and BAM!, the Bangkok Art Map.

Rashmi Uday Singh

Academy Chair | India, Central Asia & Subcontinent

Award-winning author of 36 books including India’s first ever city-restaurant guide and the world's first vegetarian guide to Paris, Rashmi has studied journalism, literature, law and management. She has also trained with the BBC and worked with the Indian Civil Service. Her weekly columns with The Times of India and TV shows including Channel 4 with Gordon Ramsay continue to be popular.


Susan Jung

Academy Chair | Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan

Susan Jung was born in Monterey Park, California, into a family of food lovers. She received her degree in English Literature from UC Berkeley, then decided to become a pastry chef. After completing a two-year pastry apprenticeship at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco, she moved to New York City to work at the Grand Hyatt and then the Peninsula hotels.

Susan moved to Hong Kong and worked as a pastry chef for several restaurants before being offered the job as food and wine editor for the English language paper, the South China Morning Post. As senior food and wine editor, she reviews restaurants and writes weekly columns on cooking, cookbooks, ingredients and the Hong Kong food scene. Her cookbook, A Celebration of Food, was published in 2012.

Takanori Nakamura

Academy Chair | Japan

Takanori Nakamura is a journalist and television presenter born in Hayama (Japan) in 1964. He writes and commentates on luxury lifestyle covering fashion, culture, gourmet, travel and hotels.

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