'Michelin' to list Isan food spots

'Michelin' to list Isan food spots

Nakhon Ratchasima, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani and Khon Kaen have been included in the Michelin Guide Thailand 2023 for their outstanding food identities and wide diversity of natural tourist attractions and cultures.

The four provinces will represent the Northeast in next year's edition of the Michelin Guide Thailand, due to be released around the end of this year, said Gwendal Poullennec, the international director of Michelin Guide.

When the first edition was published for 2018 it only covered Bangkok. Five provinces made the list in the current edition, namely Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Phangnga, said Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

Despite their simple cooking methods -- boiling, grilling, steaming or stewing -- the northeastern-style Thai dishes are characterised by their rich and distinct taste, said Mr Poullennec.

Food preservation techniques found in several local dishes, which incorporate ingredients in most northeastern dishes, such as pla ra (fermented fish), are the strength of the region's gastronomy, he said.

Pla ra, made of fish fermented with salt and rice, is one of the most popular ingredients in Isan dishes and has since 2012 been listed as the nation's cultural wisdom and food heritage, he said.

Many locals have obtained experience working as chefs at well-known restaurants abroad and have since returned home. They have applied their knowledge to recreate local food and bring the cuisine up to a whole new level, he said.

The chefs put to use their extraordinary cooking skills and have transformed local ingredients into high-quality dishes, making the region an even more compelling destination, he said.

From 126 recommended restaurants listed in the first edition of Michelin Guide Thailand, the number has grown to 361 in this year's edition. There are 32 spots with a Michelin star this year.

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