Spirits were high after last week's Asia's 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony, which took place on March 27 at the Wynn Palace hotel in Macau. Japan's presence was the country's strongest to date, with 11 restaurants ranking on the list — including four venues in the award's top 10. But at the poolside celebration following the event, Japan was in the spotlight for another, more intoxicating reason.

While there I was in conversation with May Chow, owner and chef of Hong Kong's Little Bao. "You have to check out the sake bar. It's amazing," she said, pointing to a crowded counter beside the terrace.

The lineup was impressive, with several varieties of brews from top producers such as Niizawa Jozoten (known for its Hakurakusei label), Hamakawa Shoten (Bijofu) and Takagi Shuzo, makers of the exclusive Juyondai brand. The gala provided an appropriately splashy stage to showcase the Wynn's extensive high-end sake collection. The resort has more than 70 varieties at the two outlets of its two-Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant, Mizumi.