Michelin, the tire company that awards stars to dining institutions across the globe, is expanding its presence in Thailand. The second-ever Michelin guide to Thailand will include Phuket and Phang Nga in addition to Bangkok, which got its first Michelin-starred restaurants late last year.
According to Michelin, the expansion “contributes to the prestige of the local gastronomy,” with the goal of attracting international tourists. Michelin actually produces its guides to Thailand in partnership with the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said to Michelin: “In line with TAT’s policy, the Michelin Guide Bangkok, Phuket, and Phang-nga will help in sustaining the momentum of the debut edition of the Michelin Guide Bangkok in promoting Thailand as an international gastronomic destination.”
The 2018 guide to Bangkok included just 17 starred restaurants, a small number for a city of more than 8 million people. In the lead-up to the guide, many were concerned that the city’s world-famous street food would not be included, given Michelin’s clear preference for fine dining with French and Japanese roots. In the end, just vendor Jay Fai won a star, although she almost wished she hadn’t.
In the announcement, Michelin noted that the new guide would highlight Phuket’s “melting pot of cultural cuisine ” as well as the seaside city’s “super-fresh seafood.” The 2019 guide will also cover Bangkok’s inner zone and its vicinity provinces, including Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Sakhon, and Samut Prakan.
This latest guide is part of a more general Michelin expansion into Asia. Michelin also launched the first-ever guide to Taipei this year and has existing guides to Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau, and Tokyo. The 2019 Michelin guide to Bangkok, Phuket, and Phang-nga will launch at the end of 2018.