Thai restaurants triple in Beijing as China's craving for Thai cuisine surges
Thai cuisine’s popularity is surging in China, with the number of Thai restaurants almost tripling in the capital of the world’s most populous nation over the past three years, government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said on Saturday.
It is now the fourth most popular foreign cuisine in China, Anucha added, citing one of the country’s most popular applications, Dianping, which means “public reviews” in English.
With 500 million registered users, the app is China's leading lifestyle information and trading platform.
Dianping recently reported that Thai food is now the fourth most popular foreign cuisine in China, after Western, Japanese, and Korean food in that order.
Thai food’s surging popularity among Chinese diners reflects Thailand’s success in promoting the country’s culinary culture globally, Anucha, adding that this has resulted in massive economic value in terms of exports of Thai food products.
Dianping reported that the number of Thai restaurants had nearly tripled in three years in Beijing alone, adding that the restaurants serve everything from Thai royal dishes to street food.
“Tom Yum Goong” ("Spicy Prawn Soup") is among the most popular dishes in China, according to Dianping.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha praised this success and voiced his confidence that Thai food would continue to be among the country’s most important soft powers in the near future, Anucha said.
He also credited the Commerce Ministry’s Thai Select programme for overseas-based Thai restaurants for helping to spark the craze for Thai food in China.
The Thai Select certificate is given to Thai restaurants that use original ingredients and follow traditional Thai recipes.
Restaurants that display these certificates have gained the trust of Chinese diners.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative also strengthened trade and cultural exchanges between the two countries, Anucha said.
Chinese people have become fascinated with Thai cuisine.
Besides dining at Thai restaurants, many Chinese people cook Thai dishes at home with ingredients imported from Thailand, Anucha said.
“China is a big and important market for Thailand. And Thailand is a major producer and exporter of food ingredients,” the spokesman added, citing the government’s policy of promoting Thailand as the “kitchen of the world”.