Thailand's Central Food Hall hasn't even been in business a year, but it is a worthy entrant to our top 10. The 40,000 sq ft flagship store, situated in central Chidlom, Bangkok and owned by Central Food Retail Company, officially opened in December 2005 and is already proving a big hit with our experts.

"Sitting atop Bangkok's biggest department store, this huge place sets the standard in Asia and is better than almost anything in the West," enthuses one of our Academy of Experts.

Another says: "Amazing variety, fantastic service, outstanding decor and superb merchandising."

It is also popular with shoppers.

According to Central Food Retail Company, in the first three weeks of opening visitor numbers and sales rose 25% compared with the former supermarket on the site.

Things have been going so well that a second Bangkok store, twice as big as the first, has just opened in the Central World Shopping Centre. It contains a television studio and cookery school so it can make TV programmes in the future.

At the heart of Central's fresh food offering is a concept called The Street. This runs through the store offering authentic Thai street food such as fried bananas from a series of counters from which the food is made and sold to shoppers.

Ian Pye, president of Central Food Retail Company, says: "We set out to create the best food store in Asia and I believe we have succeeded - there's not another food hall quite like it."

Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Established: December 2005

No of Stores: 2

Fact: Boasts the largest bakery counter in Asia