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Michelin Reveal Gives a Boost to Thailand’s Culinary Scene

Latest guide listings for the nation include 441 entries including coverage of the previously neglected region of Issan in the country’s northeast.

1 MICHELIN Star: 5 New Entries (Photo by Michelin Guide)

Thailand’s reputation as a global culinary heavyweight was re-emphasized in late November as Michelin unveiled its latest guide listings for the Southeast Asian country.

Big winners at this year’s revelation, which took place at The Athenee Hotel, A Luxury Collection Hotel in Bangkok, included Signature, Baan Tepa, Haoma, Potong, and Maison Dunand. The five venues in Bangkok were One Michelin Star New Entries joining 24 other single-starred restaurants.

This year saw no new entries on the two-star list. In total, six restaurants in Thailand have been awarded two Michelin stars, all of them retaining their status from last year. These are R-HAAN, Le Normandie by Alain Roux, Chef’s Table, Mezzaluna, Suhring, and Sorn.

This year’s Michelin Guide listing includes 441 entries for Thailand, a jump from the 261 entries in the 2022 edition. Furthermore, the sixth edition of the Guide in Thailand has extended its coverage from Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket & Phang-Nga, and Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, to include Nakhon Ratchasima, Udon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, and Khon Kaen as representative cities of the country’s Issan region. 

Just last week, the Michelin Guide Thailand unveiled the 2023 Bib Gourmand List, featuring 53 newcomers, and 6 promotions on the list. The Bib Gourmand distinction recognizes restaurants and eateries that offer great food at budget-friendly prices, namely no more than THB1000 for a three-course meal.

In total, the selection features 189 venues, with 82 venues located in Bangkok. This number is followed by an impressive 33 eateries in the Isan region, 27 in Chiang Mai, 23 in Phuket, 13 in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, and 11 in Phang-Nga. Of the 189 eateries in total, 105 are casual restaurants, and 84 are street food spots — a testament to the strong vendor culture in the country.

Other notable winners at this year’s revelation included chef Davide Garavaglia of Cote by Mauro Colagreco, the acclaimed Riviera-inspired restaurant at Capella Bangkok. He earned the Michelin Young Chef accolade. A new Opening of the Year Award, meanwhile, was given to Potong where chef Pichaya ‘Pam’ Soontornyanakij harnesses inspiration from the Chinese-Thai street food she grew up with to advanced gastronomic techniques.

Photo by Michelin Guide

Eyebrows were raised when the Thai government inked an initial five-year contract with the French gourmet bible, worth around THB143.5 million, to launch the yearly guide covering Bangkok and other destinations in Thailand.

Exorbitant though the price tag may seem, it appears to have been a smart move on the part of the Thai authorities.

“Bringing Michelin to Thailand has been money well spent overall,” says Bangkok-based food writer Harry Paton. “It was the same with bringing Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards to Bangkok. These factors have established Bangkok as a fine dining hub where some of the richest travelers in the world will visit simply to spend money in its top restaurants.”