The win comes just two years after chef Jordy Navarra opened Toyo Eatery, which quickly attracted the attention of the food world in Asia in part thanks to Navarra's impressive culinary acumen: The chef cut his teeth at some of the top dining destinations in the world, including The Fat Duck in England and Bo Innovation in Hong Kong.
Asia's 50 Best Restaurants' "One to Watch" award is presented to a restaurant identified as the rising star of the region. Dishes are progressive interpretations of local ingredients, traditional flavours and cooking methods.
Perhaps one of the best examples of the restaurant's culinary philosophy is "Garden Vegetables," based on a traditional folk song that lists 18 local vegetable varieties. Like the song, the dish features all 18 ingredients in various forms, be they charred, sauteed, crushed or pureed, editors note.
"Toyo Eatery impresses us by taking inspiration from everyday local ingredients and recipes and bringing them to the level of culinary excellence with passion, expertise and a progressive approach," said spokesperson Mario Miranda in a statement.
The name Toyo, which means soy sauce, is inspired by a Filipino proverb which translates to "soy sauce on the brain," a saying used to refer to 'crazy people.'
"Whoever thought then that this small Filipino restaurant in Manila, run by crazy kids, could make it somewhere? We certainly didn't. But we sure are thankful to those that saw something in us," reads a Facebook post in response to the win.
Added Navarra: "From the start, our mission at Toyo Eatery has been to reassess, rediscover, and find a deeper understanding of Filipino culture through food."
Navarra will accept the award at the gala event scheduled for March 27 in Macau.