At the 10th anniversary of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, perhaps the biggest reason to celebrate was that fact it was happening with international guests in attendance.

Held at Singapore’s glitzy yet theme park-esque Resorts World Sentosa on March 28, the welcome reception was buzzing with reunions between Asia’s top chefs delighted to see their peers after the pandemic drove previous events online. Despite Japan’s relative isolation over the past three years, the country proved as much as ever that it’s a star player in the Asian gastronomic scene. Ten restaurants in Japan placed in the top 50 — the most from any country, albeit narrowly (Singapore and Thailand each earned nine designations) — and two chefs took home special awards. While Tokyo naturally ranked highest with seven restaurants, Osaka’s La Cime, Wakayama’s Villa Aida and Kyoto’s Cenci showed recognition of the country’s high-level gastronomy beyond the trendy capital.

Hosted by Singapore-based media personality Anita Kapoor, the ceremony kicked off with an appetizing recap of the 51 to 100 list before tucking into the main results of the night. The announcement of the top 10 produced a noticeable notch upward in suspense across the room. It was the moment Japan supporters had been waiting for — an impressive five restaurants had made the cut.