Thai Restaurants Gain New Michelin Stars Amid Slump in Travel

More Thai restaurants won the coveted Michelin star ratings in the haute cuisine reviewer’s annualguide but the top billing of three stars eluded the country for the fourth time.

Blue by Alain Ducasse, which serves contemporary French cuisine and is located by Bangkok’s Chaophraya River, andCadence by Dan Bark, popular for its Asian and Western fusion meals, were awarded one-star ratings.Chef’s Table, also in the capital and known for its open kitchen in the middle of its dining space and modern French cuisine, was upgraded to a two-star rating from one.

The fourth edition of the Thai guide, covering restaurants in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Phang Nga, comes amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has shuttered global travel and devastated Thailand’s tourism industry. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has said the goal is to cover the whole nation by 2021 under a five-year agreement with Michelin.

The tiremaker also picked winners for three new categories, including sustainable practices and best service. Pru, a restaurant in the beach province Phuket that hosts its own organic farm and sources its ingredients locally, was awarded the Michelin Green Star for its eco-friendly and sustainable operations.

“Phuket is almost empty, the only tourists we get are from Bangkok,” Pru Chef Jimmy Ophorst said on Tuesday after receiving the award. “We are trying to survive, but it’s not easy.”

Quarantine Rules

While Thailand has been relatively successful at containing the coronavirus outbreak, the slump in global travel has put its economy on course for its worst ever annual contraction. While the country has eased some restrictions on entry of foreign tourists, the industry has struggled to draw visitors because of a mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival.

Michelin also upgraded Sushi Masato in Bangkok to a one-star rating from a Plate rating.

Michelin’s restaurant reviewers anonymously award stars based on creativity, quality and service. Three stars are given to restaurants where the cuisine is akin to art and “worth a special journey,” two stars are given to those “worth a detour,” while one star is awarded to establishments that are considered good restaurants in their category,according to Michelin.

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