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Just as surely as spring brings blossom and fresh foliage, it also heralds the announcement of the annual Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants rankings. And this year there was intense celebration by many of Japan’s top chefs to match the festivities going on underneath the billowing sakura (cherry trees) back home.

The glittering, gaudy casino enclave of Macau was the setting for the sixth edition of these regional awards on March 27. It was a fitting location for this increasingly glamorous occasion, described — only semi tongue-in-cheek — as “the Oscars of the Asian restaurant industry” by William Drew, the group editor of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants organization, which runs the event.

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