There’s no backing out now. An event this morning announced the official launch of the Michelin Guide Bangkok, scheduled for release at the end of this year.
The partnership between the guide and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) was rumored for years. The timing of the official debut, when the crackdown on Bangkok’s street food has made international headlines, is interesting.
In Asia, the guide already produces editions in South Korea, Japan, China, and Singapore. It’s hard not to draw the comparison that’s already being made about Bangkok’s food scene — that officials are trying to make the city into a Singapore-lite, with vendors neatly tucked away in hawker centers and the streets mostly devoid of life.
The TAT was allotted THB143.5 million to work with Michelin on a five-year contract to publish the famous food guide. The guide gives one to three star ratings to the city’s best eating destinations, and even awarded — for the first time — a single star to a hawker center vendor in Singapore. However, the majority of its reviews are for places few will ever be able to eat at.
It’s a step forward and places Thailand in good stead for five-star, upscale travelers, but many more people visit Bangkok each year hoping to try larb moo, somtam, and pad thai on the city’s bustling streets.
Either way, cheers to the Michelin Guide seeing Bangkok as a worthy global food destination.