Northeastern Thai or “Isan” cuisine has an interesting background with cultural influences from ancient eras – including the Sukhothai Kingdom and Khmer empire – as well as from neighboring countries i.e. Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and China. The region has fields and forests on plateaus and mountains suitable for livestock farming. In addition, it is a significant area for quality rice cultivation – including the world-famous Jasmine rice and glutinous rice. Although Isan food does not contain any seafood ingredients due to its landlocked geographical location, the region has many rivers – notably, the Mekong River, where freshwater fish are in abundance.
“Apart from unique food and interesting culinary background, there are many Isan-born chefs with food knowledge and cooking experience from working in world-famous restaurants abroad, and have now opened their own restaurants in their homeland. They play a significant role in elevating Isan food to the next level – using local ingredients combined with their superior cooking skills, setting a new standard for more high-quality local food. This is a great sign that the Northeastern region of Thailand will soon be an interesting tourist destination for local gastronomy, contributing to a good economy among local communities and markets,” said Mr.Poullennec.
Comparing the MICHELIN Guide Thailand 2018 edition to the latest 2022 edition, the number of overall selected eateries is up from 126 to 361. Out of this, the number of Michelin-starred eateries has increased from 17 to 32, and Bib Gourmand-awarded from 35 to 133. The coverage has expanded from “Bangkok” in the 2018 edition, to now include “Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai, Phuket & Phang-Nga” in the 2022 edition.
“Thailand’s Northeastern region has a vast potential – in terms of culinary culture and history, diverse tourist attractions, as well as charming local lifestyle. Apart from delicious and authentic Northeastern Thai or ‘Isan’ cuisine, people of all ages can enjoy visiting attractions like Khao Yai National Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – that situated mainly in Nakhon Ratchasima, Pha Taem National Park in Ubon Ratchathani, Ban Chiang Archaeological Site in Udon Thani, Phu Wiang Dinosaur Museum in Khon Kaen. Moreover, the Northeastern region has a lot of outstanding local food and handicraft products, with more than 34 registered Geographical Indication (GI) items, to look out for when shopping for souvenirs. With the launch of the upcoming 2023 MICHELIN Guide Thailand edition, we hope that not only will the entire world be aware of the vibrant culinary scene of the Northeastern region of Thailand, but also boost tourism and the local economy at the same time,” said Mr.Supasorn.