Thai cuisine ranks high on most foodies' favourites list. But to truly savour its contrasting flavours, whether it’s the beef massaman curry, tom yum gung (hot and sour prawn soup) or som tam (spicy green papaya salad), it needs to be prepared with authentic ingredients by chefs who know the cuisine inside out.
To this end Thailand’s Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) had introduced the Thai SELECT certification back in 2006 as restaurants popped up around the world to cater to the increasing demand.
“Thai SELECT is a mark of certification awarded by the Ministry of Commerce to guarantee the authenticity of Thai restaurants,” says Panot Punyahotra, Director, Thai Trade Centre – Dubai. It’s an assurance that the food being served at a restaurant with the Thai SELECT certification is made in traditional Thai style using proper ingredients.
“The objective is to increase the recognition of quality Thai restaurants as well as encourage Thai restaurant owners to raise the quality of their foods and services while maintaining the authenticity of Thai cuisine,” he adds.
In order to receive the Thai SELECT certification restaurants need to adhere to stringent guidelines. In addition to the use of authentic ingredients, chefs need to be trained in the preparation of bona fide Thai meals and should have at least two years of experience.
“Thai SELECT certifies not only the food but also the hospitality and the atmosphere of the restaurant,” explains Punyahotra. Based on the level of excellence, the certification is divided into four tiers – Thai SELECT Signature, Thai SELECT Classic, Thai SELECT Casual, and Thai SELECT Unique, which is reserved for restaurants in Thailand.
In the UAE, Thai Trade Centre – Dubai conducts unannounced inspections to decide whether a restaurant is eligible for the Thai SELECT certification, which is valid for two years.
Punyahotra says receiving this prestigious mark of recognition isn’t easy: “The bar is set high, and the guidelines are strict.”
That explains why there are only about 15 restaurants in the UAE that have received the stamp of approval from the Ministry of Commerce.
So, next time you feel like trying Thai food, make sure you head to one of these restaurants scattered across the Emirates for an authentic experience. Whether it’s one of the Little Bangkok restaurants peppered around Dubai or Benjarong at Dusit Thani in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, or for that matter the Bangkok Town restaurant in Sharjah or the Spicy and Ginger Thai Restaurant at Business Bay, you get to enjoy the authentic, scrumptious fare created by chefs well-versed in Thai cuisine.
Bangkok Town Restaurant, Sharjah
Benjarong Restaurant - Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi
Benjarong Restaurant – Dusit Thani Dubai
Charm Thai Dubai, Dubai Marina
Desert Lotus-Thai Bistro & Sushi
Khao Siam 45 Restaurant, Al Barsha
Khun Chai Thai Restaurant, B2 Mall Jumeira St. Dubai
Little Bangkok – JLT
Little Bangkok – Media City
Little Bangkok – UP Tower, Next to Emirates Tower Metro
Siam Restaurant FZE, Dubai-Mina Rashid
Spicy and Ginger Thai Restaurant, Business Bay
The Thai Kitchen, Park Hyatt Dubai
Wise Kwai – Dusit D2 Kenz Hotel Dubai
Want to be one of the four lucky winners?
As you savour the treats with all your senses at these restaurants, don’t forget to capture them in a beautiful photograph and post it on your Instagram account. Tag three of your friends, along with @ThaiTradeCentre_Mena and the restaurant to get a chance to win an iPhone 12 Max Pro. But do ensure that the Thai SELECT logo is featured in your photograph. Four lucky winners would be announced at the end of the competition, which runs until September 22.
So what are you waiting for?
For more information on Thai SELECT certification, visit Thaiselect.com