Friday, October 09, 2009

Time Out KL Food Awards

Dear Kuala Lumpur residents,

Let us wind down this week by voicing out what we think about the dining scene in our own backyard a.k.a. Kuala Lumpur. Time Out Kuala Lumpur has unveiled the shortlisted nominees for their inaugural Food Awards on their website and called for votes from the public. The winners list will be published in their December 2009 issue and to quote them, "truly reflect the opinions of the people who know the gastronomic scene". That according to them, are people like us.

Correct me, if I'm wrong, but to my layman's point of view, I think Internet or even SMS voting can be skewed in some ways. One prime example is the American Idol SMS voting. Remember those shock eliminations and wins, even though certain participant's talent was questionable a.k.a that fella with the name that started with S and had funny hair.

Already, I'm looking at the nominations and wondering why some categories are missing great places. For instance, in the Best Chinese Restaurant, how come iconic places like Shang Palace from Shangri-la Hotel or Overseas Restaurant are not in the list? Time Out has also lumped Thai and Vietnamese food together, hence you need to choose between those 2 cuisines, before you can even vote for your preference. What happens when you like both cuisines? Similarly for the seafood/fish category, there's no non-halal Chinese restaurant, which is truly not a true reflection of the best in town. I'm also a little confused on the best burger category - why limit that particular food item to restaurants when we know the best burgers in town are our very own Cap Malaysia Ramly Burgers!?

Anyway, I rest my case on the "skewed" list of nominations and do urge all of you to click on this link to vote what you all think is best. I mean, how would I know, since I'm just a food blogger and no high-flying food critic.

Humbly yours



Big Boys Oven said...

this is so interesting! some nominated are not the best in town really. Notice one is still under renovation and yet to be open. Most nominated are up market restaurants! :)

minchow said...

This is really truly strange! TOKL has been fairly dependable for top street eat recommendations, yet none of them make it in this list. Maybe if they had renamed it the KL Restaurant Awards...

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Precious Pea said...

Went in to vote yesterday and was scratching my head when I saw the nominees. Most very high-end places too! And the fact that they required you to choose one from each category already create unfair results. For way any of the nominees in the seafood category are my fav..but out of no choice I have to choose one to complete my result. Fatty Crab in the list was the most horrific...CRAP!

boo_licious said...

BBO - yeah, weird rite how some places ended up on the list. Is it the Taj at City Square you are referring to as being renovated?

550ml - they shld rename it restaurant vs food awards? I was a little confused also abt their food category, is that only limited to restaurants or street food?

Thxs John David for yr link, will be useful, if I ever visit India.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

funny u r given so lil choices to begin with..dont think i will vote la..lazy..haha

boo_licious said...

Precious Pea - yeah, I didn't know what to do when I wanted to vote, hence this rant last night.

Joe - I find it weird, some categories has so many nominees though. Looks like we have loads of Italian and Indian restaurants in town.

wanderlust said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wanderlust said...

I clicked on your link wanting to vote, as I get there, many of the nominees are restaurants I wouldn't even go normally. (or have had bad experience) How did they come up with the shortlists anyway? A result of restaurants/hotels PR machine? A good point Boo brought up, how can you not have places like Overseas Imbi in the Best Chinese Restaurant category and have several hotel Chinese restaurants instead?

Time Out has to approach KL restaurant award with a lot more caution. In a country/city where people are mad about their food, they risk becoming irrelevant with the locals on this award. At the end as they publish the result, the locals gonna go: Oh...these are for tourists.

12:04 PM

HairyBerry said...

i think they should have included some categories for hawker food. that will truly reflect the taste of klites. going through their list of nominees, i think i've visited less than 10 of them! and because of the prices, i'd only visited them on special occasions! haha! oh btw, where's the category for BEST HOKKIEN MEE??!!!

tihtahpah said...

yar i agree with you, i find myself not able to vote for any of those restaurants as some were not of any particular standard. Like D'lish and Marmalade. It would have been better if they just left the categories open and we can just input our choice of restaurants/hawker.

And ramly burger is the best, no doubt about it!

Unknown said...

clicked on the link but I can't vote! havent't been to 80% of these "fehmes" n "spensive" restaurants.

Julie said...

Hi boo,
Just thought of dropping you an email to share something. Since we are all food lovers, thought you might be interested. Can I have your email?


Unknown said...

"I mean, how would I know, since I'm just a food blogger and no high-flying food critic.." you are too humble :)

yeah it's always difficult to come up with a best list, since everybody have different definition of what's best, and what's not. Hopefully the final nominees are good places!

Matt@TOKL said...

Hi Boo_licious,

Hope you don't mind me writing. I'm the Editorial Director at Time Out KL and have been responsible for our inaugural Food Awards.

Firstly, thank you very much for the kind words and promotion of the Awards. Yours is a blog I've read often and I really respect your opinions on Food. I hope you and your readers all help cast your votes as the credibility of the awards will be stronger as a result.

Of course, public opinion is a subjective matter but with our ultra-strict 'incognito' reviewing premise (unlike any other magazine in KL) and the logistical impossibility of a judging panel making it to enough of the excellent restaurants here, mean we are more than happy to leave the final decision in the hands of the public. We have set up the system to make it nearly impossible to vote more than once and the only problem I envisage is if outlets decide to get all their staff to vote for themselves. However, if anyone has any solutions for this, I'd be thrilled to hear them!

On a slight point of clarification, our shortlists have been 100% made up of the nominations we have received since polls opened three months ago. We found scores and scores of places had been nominated, so for the final vote we've taken the top 5 (or more in categories with extra-high interest/participation) outlets in the voting and - for one month only - made a shortlist.

The downside to this has seen a lack of hawker restaurants/mamak stalls, as everyone seems to have their individual favourites - loads got votes but few got very many. I guess because people voted the ones near their home(?)

This has at least had the result of making it much easier and quicker for people to interact with the awards. As adjudicator/checker of the votes I have had to create a new email inbox for submissions, which are already well into the hundreds!

I hope that clears up how we arrived at our shortlist. It does not in any way reflect our own personal choices (a couple of my favourites missed out - naming no names!).

So, thanks once again for the support and do keep your eyes out for the December issue when KL's choices will be revealed.

Very best regards
Matt Bellotti
Time Out KL

PS: If you or anyone else would like more details on the awards, please do email us at

Unknown said...

So sad... I looked at the Best Malay Restaurant category... Gulai House (Carcosa)... *sniff*... it reminded me that Carcosa won't be around for much longer. So so sad...

boo_licious said...

wanderlust - long explaination from Time Out KL on how they did their list. Makes you wonder, whether public vote is ever the best.

Nic - yeah, there's not much room for the hawker stalls to make a dent here, since the categories are quite restaurant based except the burgers. Yeah, I would love to know what is the best Hokkien Mee in town too.

titahpah - viva la Ramly burger! You shld read the Klue's dedication to the mighty patty, it will make you cry!

kampungboycitygal - hahaha, yeah these places are definitely those restaurants people go to once in a blue moon for celebrations.

Julie - click on the profile for the email details. No spam pls.

Brad - that's the danger of doing public voting, at the end of the day, the public may not necessary know what is best.

Thxs Matt for the reply and the explaination on the awards. To be honest, I wasn't implying you guys picked the places but was making a point across that public voting rarely picks out winners. It's kinda sad, since I do support hearing from the public and etc but sometimes, when you see results like these, you kinda crack your head and wonder why they were even voted. Will wait for bated breath to see the results in the Dec issue.

Frat - aiks, Carcosa no more? How can? That is like institution!

boo_licious said...

Matt - some suggestions on how you may want to approach this, since the list of nominees are so different:

1. Label it most popular restaurant by Internet vote vs best restaurant, as this may give a different meaning to others who do not read the fine print. This I admit is very difficult to reverse, since it has been known as "best restaurant" already; or

2. Give two choices to people, one is by Internet voting and the other is Timeout's choice for each of the category. This will work esp if the winners by Internet voting, are very different from what Timeout considers as good food.

Stylista said...

Hi Boo,

i see that there's been some comments on the TOKL Food Awards. I guess it is very hard to manage an voting system especially if it is on the Internet.

But i do commend TOKL on their effort to give the rightful recognition to deserving restaurants.

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