Bangkok, long a food-lover’s paradise, at last has its own Michelin guide but no restaurants achieved the coveted top accolade of three stars.
Indian restaurant Gaggan is among three that won two stars in the debut assessment of the Thai capital’s dining scene by the French tiremaker and publisher. French eatery Le Normandie and European restaurant Mezzaluna were the others to get two stars.
And in a city famed for its roadside eating experiences, street food vendor Jay Fai was awarded one star for dishes such as crab omelette and curries.
Bangkok joins the likes of Tokyo, Hong Kong, Macau, Seoul, Shanghai and Singapore in getting the Michelin treatment. Thailand’s military government is hopeful that promoting the city’s gastronomic delights will help keep tourism buzzing and encourage more spending. The nation expects about 37 million arrivals next year – equivalent to more than half the Southeast Asian nation’s population.
“We’re confident the launch will attract more food connoisseurs, which will contribute overall to Thailand’s tourism and leisure market,” Yuthasak Supasorn, the governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said at the launch event yesterday at the Grand Hyatt Erawan in the capital.
Michelin is introducing its guide in Bangkok as part of a broader effort to increase the company’s appeal in Asia, as it locks horns with Chinese tire competitors like Shandong Linglong Tyre Co. and Aeolus Tyre Co. Michelin sees the unprofitable guides as helping to position its brand as high quality.
The company’s restaurant reviewers anonymously award stars based on creativity, quality and service. Three stars are given to restaurants where the cuisine is akin to art and “worth a special journey,” two stars are given to those “worth a detour,” while one star is awarded to establishments that are considered good restaurants in their category.
The accolade for Gaggan comes after it scored a third straight win in the closely watched Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants ranking earlier this year.
“My food is what it was yesterday, and it is what it is today, and there’s no difference,” Chef Gaggan Anand said in an interview. “But today people will look at me and go – he’s two stars.”
A total of 17 eateries were recognized by Michelin in Thailand yesterday, with 14 getting one star. The guide’s International Director Michael Ellis said it would take some time before a Bangkok restaurant gets the top rating. Natnicha Chuwiruch, Bloomberg