If you have eaten Thai food outside Thailand after eating Thai food in Thailand, you will know it is rarely authentic.
In America, for instance, Thai food is ‘Americanized’ to suit the American palate. That means for a Thai person, or a westerner like me who is used to eating authentic Thai food, Thai food at an American Thai restaurant is often almost inedible.
This is one of the reasons why the current Thai government is creating a global standard for Thai recipes, as they are tired of seeing authentic Thai food ruined in restaurants overseas.
Starting out with recipes for three famous Thai dishes — Tom Yum Goong, Pad Thai and Massaman Curry — the government is creating global standard Thai recipes for restaurants to follow. That way they all but ensure what you eat at a Thai restaurant in New York or Adelaide is similar to what you would eat at a Thai restaurant in Bangkok or Hua Hin.
Interestingly too, the government has even created recipes that include the allowed substitution of certain ingredients, as ingredients available in other countries aren’t always the same as those available in Thailand.
But, is this type of approach to improving Thai food overseas likely to work?
Yes and no.
After all, while the sentiment is definitely admirable as the Thai government wants its national cuisine to be eaten at its best, when even in Thailand recipes differ from region to region and even restaurant to restaurant, why do they think they can legislate how Thai food is cooked in other countries?
My philosophy is, if you want to eat terrible Thai food in an American restaurant and pay top dollar for it, that is your prerogative.
Me? I prefer to eat authentic Thai food at Thai restaurants in Bangkok. It’s far cheaper, usually healthier and tastes much, much better.