Those of us living in Thailand have long been aware that Thai food and the many fantastic restaurants in Bangkok are something to be celebrated and it now seems that this has been recognised by the Michelin Guide – something that has not surprisingly been welcomed by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
The guide contains a total of 98 eateries including Thai restaurants and other first-class international restaurants but in an unusual step, 28 Thai street-food stalls have also been included in the inaugural guide that was launched in Bangkok on 6 December. The guide includes 3 two-star (Michelin) restaurants, 14 one-star restaurants and 35 Bib Gourmand restaurants.
It seems that the plan is to expand the project between now and 2021 to include all areas of Thailand including Chiang Mai, Phuket and Hua Hin, destinations that are all likely to have their own guidebook.
At the launch, Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, the TAT Governor said: “The inaugural Michelin guidebook will elevate Thailand’s food scene to a new level of excellence and significantly enhance the country’s reputation as a world-class dining destination.
“The Michelin Guide is a measure of gastronomic quality for many people around the world. It sets a high benchmark, and we are confident that the launch of Michelin Guide Bangkok will attract more food connoisseurs to Thailand, which will in turn increase revenue for restaurants and substantially contribute to Thailand’s overall tourism and leisure market.”
As expected, Mr Supasorn was quick to congratulate the chefs and restaurants that had been recognised in the guide and according to the World Tourism Organisation (WTO), international visitor expenditure on food in Thailand totalled THB326 billion which amounted to 20% of the total tourism revenue.
Mr. Yuthasak said, “TAT has made Gastronomy Tourism an important part of its marketing strategy under the Thailand 4.0 socio-economic development plan.
“Thai cuisine is famous all over the world. It is rare a major city in the world that does not boast a Thai restaurant, be it in the form of fine-dining or takeaway. All our culinary delights have their roots in Thai agriculture, which was our bedrock source of economic livelihood well before tourism. Now, the Royal Thai Government is more firmly linking both.”