Street stalls win praise but no Michelin stars
Street food stalls have appeared in the first edition of Bangkok's Michelin Guide, lifting Thailand's competitiveness in gastronomy.
Selections in the Michelin Guide Bangkok 2018 include three two-star restaurants, 14 one-star restaurants and 35 Bib Gourmand restaurants -- a new category without stars created to provide recommendations to diners.
Bib Gourmand was expanded to promote Bangkok's street food, an attraction for visitors from around the world. Michelin selected 28 street food stalls out of 35 Bib Gourmand eateries.
Michael Ellis, international director for the Michelin Guide, said 98 restaurants were selected after eight months of surveys for the publication.
"Bangkok is not only a city for travel, business and finance, but it is also a city of gastronomy," Mr Ellis said. "Our inspectors were thrilled to find a local culinary scene with an amazing vibrancy, myriad new restaurants, an astonishing variety of wonderful street food, but also Thai cuisine served in different forms."
He said the Michelin ratings will help strengthen the entire tourism sector, especially in gastronomy, as Bangkok competes with other huge metropolitan areas such as Tokyo, London and New York.
In 2016, gastronomy generated 20% of total tourism income in Thailand.
The country's international tourist arrivals in the third quarter totalled 8.8 million, up 6% compared with the same period last year and the highest level on record for the third quarter.
Cumulative arrivals in the January-October period totalled 28.8 million, up 6.7% from the year-ago period.
According to Michelin Guide Bangkok 2018, two stars were awarded to Gaggan, where chef-owner Gaggan Anand "takes Indian cuisine to a level rarely seen, and one that has a truly unique signature".
Also gaining two stars were Le Normandie in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Mezzaluna on the 65th floor of the Lebua Hotel.
Fourteen restaurants received one star, including seven offering Thai cuisine prepared by local Thai chefs.
The one-star restaurants are Bo.Lan, Chim by Siam Wisdom, Elements, Ginza Sushi Ichi, J'aime by Jean-Michel Lorain, L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Nahm, Paste, Saneh Jaan, Savelberg, Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin, Suhring, Upstairs at Mikkeller and Jay Fai.
Asked why no Bangkok restaurant received three stars, Mr Ellis said the three-star designation is reserved for restaurants that offer unforgettable cuisine and a unique history.
Awarded restaurants have the opportunity to enhance their identity and attain three stars in the future, he said.
The Michelin Guide selects the best restaurants and hotels in the 28 countries it covers, highlights culinary dynamism and reveals new trends and emerging young chefs, creating value for restaurants through the distinctions that the book identifies each year.