By The Nation
Of them 65 are in Bangkok, 20 in Chiang Mai and 21 in Phuket and Phang-Nga. This year, 17 food establishments are joining the list for the first time – nine in Bangkok, three in Chiang Mai, five in Phuket and Phang-Nga, while four in each province have been promoted from Michelin Plate.
The Bib Gourmand distinction, symbolised by the famous “Michelin Man” licking his lips, recognises eateries that offer a carefully prepared three-course meal – starter, main course and dessert – for no more than Bt1,000.
Gwendal Poullennec, international director for Michelin Guides, said: “Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent economic slowdown, we want to especially boost the morale of restaurant professionals, continue to support the culinary industry and encourage local foodies to embark on more food-ventures within the parameters of current public health guidelines.
“Providing a combination of quality dishes and affordable prices, Bib Gourmand establishments serve as the ideal dining solution for budget-savvy foodies, and play a significant part in keeping Thailand’s culinary scene alive during these tough times.”
In the soon-to-be-released fourth edition of the Michelin Guide for Thailand, the 17 new additions to the Bib Gourmand list include Bangkok’s Burapa, a restaurant with the Orient Express theme that takes diners on a journey East-by-Northeast to taste unique, flavoursome cuisine that joins culinary elements from Isaan and Trat; Chang-Wang-Imm, a restaurant in a charming two-storey house built in 1957 on the banks of the Chao Phraya River serving delicious wallet-friendly Thai food that highlights traditional cooking techniques and flavours; and Phed Phed Bistro, a restaurant with minimalist décor and wire mesh accents focusing on comfort food made with quality ingredients. It also includes Chiang Mai’s Go Neng (Wichayanon), a street food establishment that has been around for more than three decades specialising in deep-fried dough sticks, “pa tong go”, that boast puffy perfection and crispy texture, uniquely shaped as crocodiles, dinosaurs, dragons, and elephants; Phang-Nga’s Hok Kee Lao, a Thai-Chinese restaurant beloved for decades for its delicious and affordable banquet-style food; and Tokola, a restaurant in lush gardens next to Khuekkhak beach serving intensely-flavoured traditional and southern Thai dishes using locally sourced ingredients as well as ancient and original cooking methods and Phuket’s Salaloy, a casual Rawai Beach eatery famous for a good selection of fresh seafood that are freshly cooked to order.
The four restaurants promoted from the Michelin Plate to Bib Gourmand are Bangkok’s Somtum Khun Kan, a restaurant offering its famous “som tam” plus a wide variety of authentic Thai and Thai-Isaan dishes; Chiang Mai’s Charoen Suan Aek, a neighbourhood restaurant loved for its authentic and boldly flavoured northern Thai dishes that rely on indigenous, seasonal ingredients; Phang-Nga’s Nai Mueang, an authentic Southern Thai restaurant featuring a charming retro ambience with old tin-mining memorabilia, record players, sewing machines and other nostalgic bric-a-brac; and Phuket’s Tu Kab Khao, an elegant, atmospheric restaurant set in a grand Chino-Portuguese building, serving tasty Southern Thai cuisine.
“By expanding the geographical scope of this year’s selection, Michelin Guide inspectors found more eateries worthy of a Bib Gourmand rating. Thus, we would like to encourage local foodies to go on tasting ventures of their own, and discover by themselves – as our inspectors did – that Thailand is a true haven for good value, quality, and reasonably priced dining experience,” concluded Poullennec.