Meituan-Dianping's Black Pearl is a treasure to rival the Michelin Guide

China's most popular restaurant-review and group-buying services has debuted its own restaurant guide.

Meituan-Dianping, China’s largest restaurant-review and group-buying service, has premiered its first Black Pearl Restaurant Guide on January 16 in Shanghai.
Sharing a similar reviewing/rating system as the renowned Michelin Guide, the Black Pearl awarded one, two and three “diamonds” to 330 restaurants in 22 cities across China and five cities abroad, namely: Tokyo, Bangkok, Singapore, New York and Paris.
Their rating standard is as follows:
•    One diamond: Great for family and friends’ gatherings
•    Two diamonds: Perfect for special occasions
•    Three diamonds: Must visit once in a lifetime
Wang Xing, CEO of Meituan-Dianping, noted that in response to the Chinese consumers’ evolving taste for traditional and modern cuisines in China, and across the world, the company decided to introduce the Black Pearl Restaurant Guide “from a unique Chinese perspective, showcasing the dynamic dining scene both in China and globally”.

Ti Gong

Wang Xing, CEO of Meituan-Dianping, spoke at the award ceremony on January 16.

The restaurants featured in the Black Pearl were first nominated by a board of 15 master chefs, culinary experts and special advisors with a long-standing expertise in China’s dining sector, including Chen Xiaoqing, documentary director of “A Bite of China”, Craig Au-Yeung Ying Chai, a prominent food critic and senior leadership of Meituan Dianping.
Per the cuisine and style of the restaurants that made the cut, the board then appointed professional inspectors to visit and review the selected restaurants anonymously as customers.
Unlike the Michelin Guide, which keeps complete anonymity of its inspectors, the Black Pearl released inspectors who agreed to disclose their information to the public. They will not return to the Black Pearl inspection next year.
“What we want to do is not the ‘Michelin Guide’ of China, but the ‘Black Pearl’ of the world,” said Zhang Chuan, senior vice president of Meituan Dianping. “With full commitment and long-term operations, our great aim is to make the ‘Black Pearl’ a century brand that can truly represent China.”
In Shanghai, the Black Pearl selected five three-diamond restaurants, 13 two-diamond restaurants and 48 one-diamond restaurants. The guide reflected a decent balance of Chinese and foreign cuisines, though it’s not without surprises.
Amazing Chinese Cuisine (箐禧荟) is one of the five restaurants in Shanghai to be awarded three diamonds. A fine dining concept specializing in Chaozhou cuisine, Amazing Chinese Cuisine was opened in 2015 on Hongqiao Road and has an average price of 1,406 yuan per person.
Worldwide, a total of 28 restaurants were awarded the highest rating.
The five three-diamond restaurants in Shanghai:
Fu 1015
Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet
Amazing Chinese Cuisine (箐禧荟)
Sushi Naramoto
Fu He Hui

Special Reports