Awards,  Food & Beverages

Chef Mingoo Kang of Mingles, Seoul, Honoured With Inedit Damm Chefs’ Choice Award by Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants

Voted for by his fellow chefs on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list, it was announced that Mingoo Kang of Mingles in Seoul, South Korea, is the 2021 recipient of the Inedit Damm Chefs’ Choice Award, acknowledging Chef Kang’s contributions to Asia’s culinary scene and earning him the respect of Asia’s gastronomic leaders through his tireless work expanding the possibilities of Korean cuisine in recent years.

Kang opened his flagship restaurant, Mingles, in 2014 in Seoul’s bustling Gangnam district and introduced his signature style of melding eastern and western cuisines and techniques. Mingles first appeared on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2016 at No.15, as well as earning the Highest New Entry award and named The Best Restaurant in Korea, a title it has held onto for five consecutive years. Kang brought his innovative interpretation of Korean cuisine overseas for the first time with the opening of Hansik Goo in Hong Kong, celebrating one of the cornerstones of Korean culinary culture, the authentic, family-style dining experience.

Drawing on his culinary heritage, Kang uses janga trio of Korean traditional fermented saucesand seasonal local herbs to capture authentic Korean flavours. While Mingles’ inspired seven-course tasting menu honours traditional hansikKorean cuisineit also showcases Kang’s technical expertise, creative flair and international experience.

“Through the Inedit Damm Chefs’ Choice Award, Chef Mingoo Kang’s peers have shown their respect for his craftsmanship and artistry, as well as his ability to articulate Korean culinary culture on the international stage. Chef Kang reinterprets Korean cuisine in a modern context by combining contemporary techniques and local elements, striking a delicate balance between innovation and tradition,” praises William Drew, Director of Content at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.

(Photo Courtesy: The World’s 50 Best/Choi Joon Ho)

Kang graduated from Kyonggi University before securing an apprenticeship at the Ritz-Carlton in Florida. Through his dedication to learning about international cuisines, he further honed his culinary skills under the tutelage of Basque master Martín Berasategui, and later joined Nobu in Miami and the Bahamas, where he became the restaurant’s youngest head chef.

“I am a native Korean chef. Instead of studying at international culinary institutions, I gained my experience working at various locations around the globe – the US, Spain, France, the Bahamas – wherever I could enhance my culinary knowledge,” explains Kang.

Returning to Seoul, Kang focused his attention on Korean cooking and traditional temple cuisine, refining his culinary philosophy by consulting with local food experts, including Buddhist monk Jeong Kwan and respected chef Cho Hee-sook, the 2020 recipient of the Asia’s Best Female Chef Award.

Acknowledging the award, Kang notes: “I am very grateful to receive the Inedit Damm Chefs’ Choice Award. I would like to express my gratitude to my fellow chefs who voted for me. This award is of special significance because it was voted for by other chefs who share my passion for excellence. While I still have a lot to learn, this award motivates my team and me to reach new heights.”

(Photo Courtesy: The World’s 50 Best/Choi Joon Ho)


Just last month, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants named DeAille Tam, executive chef and co-founder of Obscura in Shanghai, as the winning titleholder of Asia’s Best Female Chef 2021, sponsored by Cinco Jotas.

The annual list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants is created from the votes of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of over 300 leaders made up of food writers and critics, chefs, restaurateurs and regional culinary experts, with a 50/50 gender balance. The year’s vote was adjusted to account for restricted travel opportunities, placing a greater focus on local dining experiences.

The annual Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony will be broadcast on Thursday, 25th March from 4.30 pm (HK/SG; 5.30 pm JPN) to a global audience via Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Facebook, the 50 Best Restaurants TV YouTube channel and .


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