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Thailand… Kitchen of the World

Food is one of Thailand’s important economic sectors, as it constitutes 14 percent of the country’s total exports. It generates employment for 20 million people and provides markets for 80 percent of raw food materials from Thailand. According to the National Food Institute, good quality and safety standards are recognized as the strengths of the Thai food industry. Thailand has continued to promote food safety, aimed at contributing to good health among the people and to Thai food production and exports.

Thailand has been able to manage to use plant and animal species to meet its needs and for export. It is known as one of the few countries to have developed itself from an agrarian country to a relatively industrialized one, yet still maintain the importance of agriculture and food production. Today, the country has become one of the world’s major food exporters.

The Government has a policy to promote Thailand as the “Kitchen of the World” by encouraging the opening of more Thai restaurants overseas. The policy will also help promote exports of raw materials from Thailand for Thai food preparation.

Thai Food in the World Market

  • Thailand is one of the world‘s top rice producers, with an annual yield of 24 million tons.
  • Thailand is one of the largest exporters of sugar, tapioca, and pineapple.
  • Thailand produces and exports tropical fruits, which is well known throughout the world, such as longan, mangosteen, rambutan, durian, and longkong.
  • Thailand is one of to ten producers and exporters of food in the world. Currently, Thailand more than 100 varieties of food to over 100 countries and earns over 10 billion USD in agri-industrial sector

Thai Restaurants and Thai Select

Thai Chef

Thai cuisine appeals to consumers palates around the world and has been ranked 1st in popularity among the four most popular cuisines. Moreover, Thai food is considered healthy, thereby, very much in line with the modern trend toward eating healthy foods. The Department of Export promotion began promoting the Thai restaurant business in 1998 when there were about 5,000 restaurants worldwide, a figure that is estimated to have reached 12,000 in 2006. The target for 2008 is 20,000.

Thai Dish

The strategy for achieving such expansion is twofold; for existing restaurants to open branches and for established brands to franchise. Critical to this strategy is improving operator’s business skills in general and restaurant management skills in particular to ensure meeting the highest quality standards. In addition, good promotional campaigns and public relations will help ensure the increased and sustained popularity of Thai cuisine. The Thai Select program with its seal that attests to a restaurant meeting official quality and hygiene standards provides assurance to consumers in the restaurant’s service area, while also motivating Thai restaurant operators to maintain high standards.

In 2008, 1,095 Thai restaurants in 36 countries had qualified for the Thai Select seal and that number is expected to reach 1200 in 2008.

Overseas Thai Restaurants in the Thai Select Program (2008)

Country Total restaurants
USA 405
UK 137
Germany 120
Japan 66
Australia 45
Singapore 40
Netherlands 36
France 33
China 23
Canada 19

What is “Thai Select”?

“Thai Select” certifies that the food, the hospitality and the atmosphere of the restaurant is authentic. Chefs must be carefully trained in the preparation of benefice Thai meals*. Receiving this prestigious award isn’t easy; the bar is set high and the guidelines are strict. Still through training and inspections, high standard Thai restaurants worldwide have achieved this distinction.

So anywhere in your travels, look for the stamp of approval “Thai Select”. It assures you that delicious Thai cuisine is being served in a pleasant atmosphere, and with a famous Thai smile. It’s not just a meal; it’s a journey.

Objectives of Thai Select” certification

  • To increase the recognition of quality Thai restaurants.
  • To recognize and endorse quality Thai restaurants.
  • To encourage Thai restaurant owners to raise their quality standards to meet international level.

Categories of Thai restaurants certified as a “Thai Select” restaurant

  • Traditional Thai Cuisine: Restaurants offering Thai cuisine with traditional recipe and maintaining traditional Thai style.
  • Modern Thai Cuisine: Restaurants offering Modern Thai cuisine incorporating food of different countries such as Spaghetti served with Thai green curry sauce, or restaurants that do not serve food and have interior decoration that would be considered traditionally Thai style.
  • Special Thai Cuisine: Restaurants offering specialty Thai cuisine.
  • Chain restaurants with menus developed with co-operation from the Royal Thai Government* (Honorable “Thai Select”) and offering only Thai cuisine.

“Thai Select” restaurant criterion

  • The restaurant must provide areas such as dining facilities, kitchen, restroom, etc. according to Health and Safety requirements.
  • The restaurant must employ an experienced Thai Head Chef or a chef with no less than one year experience and training in preparing Thai cuisine.
  • The restaurant must use an adequate proportion of Thai raw materials and equipment for preparation of Thai dishes.

How to become a “Thai Select” restaurant?

Please refer to our FAQ page for full application instructions.

Overseas Thai Trade Centre Offices