The latest Michelin guide for Thailand increased the number of starred restaurants in the country but once again none won the top accolade of three stars.
Sorn and R-Haan, both of which serve Thai cuisine, moved up from one to two stars, joining french restaurant Le Normandie in the latter category. It’s the first time local Thai restaurants received two stars. Bangkok street food vendor Jay Fai was among 24 that achieved or retained one star.
The Thai guide is now in its third edition, covering the northern city of Chiang Mai for the first time after debuting in 2017 in Bangkok and then expanding to the southern tourism hot-spots of Phuket and Phang Nga.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand has said the goal is to cover the whole nation by 2021 under a five-year agreement with Michelin. The authority is striving to attract visitors, as foreign tourism receipts are critical for the economy.
French restaurant Le Normandie
“Gastronomy tourism is a very important component,” Yuthasak Supasorn, the authority’s governor, said at a briefing Tuesday in Bangkok. Food and beverage outlays form the third-biggest category in about $66 billion of annual foreign tourism receipts, he said.
The strength of Thailand’s currency dented tourism growth this year, a trend exacerbated by the global economic slowdown.
But the Asian nation and its capital remain a big draw: Bangkok was the world’s most-visited city in 2018 for the fourth year, ahead of Paris and London, according to a ranking by Mastercard Inc.
French tire maker and publisher of the Michelin guide in Thailand as part of a broader effort to boost the company’s appeal in Asia, judging that the popular restaurant reviews will help position its brand as high quality.
Cities in Asia such as Tokyo, Hong Kong, Macau, Seoul, Shanghai and Singapore also get the Michelin treatment.
The Thai guide was extended to Chiang Mai because of the city’s cultural and culinary heritage, said Manuel Montana, the president at Michelin East Asia & Oceania.
The company’s reviewers anonymously award stars based on criteria such as quality of ingredients, flavor, cooking techniques and the personality of the chef in the cuisine he or she creates.
Three stars are given to restaurants where the food is exceptional and “worth a special journey,” two stars are given to those “worth a detour,” while one star is awarded to establishments considered to be good restaurants in their category.
Here’s a list of restaurants retaining or receiving the star recognition this year.
- Le Normandie
- R-Haan (up from one star last year)
- Sorn (up from one star last year)
- Chef’s Table (new entry)
- Chim by Siam Wisdom
- 80/20 (new entry)
- Ginza Sushi-ichi
- J’aime by Jean-Michel Lorain
- Jay Fai
- Khao (new entry)
- Le Du
- Methavalai Sorndaeng
- Ruen Panya
- Saneh Jaan
- Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin
- Suan Thip
- Table 38 (new entry)