Restaurateurs and gourmets all over the Thai capital are eagerly awaiting the launch of Michelin Guide Bangkok.
This Bangkok edition of the Michelin Guide, the world's most recognised hotel-and-restaurant reference guide, is designed to promote Thailand as international gastronomic destination.
"Thailand is the 6th country in Asia to have its own Michelin Guide, which has a history of 118 years. The Michelin Guide Bangkok is the result of a partnership between Michelin and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). In line with TAT's policy to market Thailand as an international gastronomic destination, the Michelin Guide will play a significant part in promoting Thai culinary treasures, as well as in elevating the quality and service of restaurants in Thailand to be on par with international standards," said Mr Segsarn Trai-Ukos, country director of Michelin Siam. Japan (Tokyo and Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe editions), China (Hong Kong-Macau and Shanghai editions), Singapore and South Korea (Seoul edition) all have their own guides that now cover more than 100 cities in 30 countries across five continents.
More than a century has passed since Michelin decided to publish the Michelin Guide to provide motorists with a wealth of information in support of its core tyre business, The Michelin Guide has been continuously developed and gained recognition worldwide. Michelin Stars awarded by Michelin Guide serve as an international symbol of culinary excellence and quality.
"The selections of all restaurants in the guide are made by Michelin inspectors, who are full-time employees of Michelin. To ensure fair judgement, these inspectors work anonymously and accept no sponsorship from any organisation. Michelin's ratings are not limited to only luxury restaurants; street food stalls are also rated.
"For the first time this year, Michelin has inspectors who are specialised in Thai food as members of the team of inspectors. All inspectors work independently and impartially. They behave like any other customer, in total anonymity, including settling all their bills. For assessment accuracy, a restaurant will be visited several times, in order to collect and compare data among all the restaurants being rated, before awarding Michelin Stars to carefully selected ones," said Mr Segsarn.
The inspectors apply five criteria defined by Michelin: product quality, preparation and flavours, the chef's personality as revealed through his or her cuisine, value for money, and consistency over time and across the entire menu. Used around the world, these criteria guarantee a consistent selection of the Michelin Guide.
"Obviously, it is not an easy task for the inspectors to select restaurants that deserve Michelin Stars. Michelin Stars are classified into three levels: One star for 'A very good restaurant in its category'; two stars for restaurants with 'Excellent cooking, worth a detour'; and three stars for restaurants with 'Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey'. Currently, there are around 2,600 restaurants across the world that have already received Michelin Stars and only 110 restaurants have been awarded with three stars," added Mr Segsarn.