Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Three in a Row: Azuthai Bags #ThaiSELECT Seal of Authenticity by the Royal Thai Government for the Third Straight Time

To be recognized by the Royal Thai Government for culinary authenticity and quality is a feat in itself. Earning the coveted seal of approval three times in a row is both validation and a testament to an uncompromising commitment for real Thai cuisine. And in Manila, legit Thai cuisine is named Azuthai... 

The metro is home to countless Thai restaurants, but only only a few are recognized by the Royal Thai Government with the prized #ThaiSELECT seal. I'm told the country has around eleven restaurants selected with the Royal Thai Government's seal of authenticity. One of them is Azuthai, an enduring local restaurant with the prestigious #ThaiSELECT seal for the third straight time. And that's no surprise with Azuthai's brand of sumptuous and hearty home style Thai cuisine made with authentic ingredients and skillfully executed by Thai chefs for over fifteen years. 

Last July 26, H.E. Mr. Tull Traisorat, Ambassador, Royal Thai Embassy formally awarded Chef Jay Gamboa the much sought after #ThaiSELECT certification followed by a lavish feast of Thai dishes. Read on for an authentic taste of Thai flavors at Azuthai... 

Now awarded three straight times with the #ThaiSELECT seal, Azuthai also has the distinction of being the very first local restaurant recognized by the Royal Thai Government for its authentic Thai cuisine. Authenticity and quality remain the secret to Azuthai's continued success, remaining top-of-mind and high on everyone's list when it comes to Thai cuisine (for more on Azuthai, see my previous posts, Azuthai Thai Restaurant: First with the #ThaiSELECT Seal, First On Your List of Authentic Thai Cuisine Now Serving New Dishes from September last year and Home-Style Thai Cuisine at Azuthai from way back in 2014).

With its objectives of increasing recognition for quality Thai restaurants and Thai food products around the world as well as encourage Thai restaurant operators and food producers to raise the quality of their products and services while maintaining authenticity, the #ThaiSELECT initiative is a novel government program that ensures that culinary traditions and standards are maintained anywhere in the world for that memorable Thai dining experience. Food is, after all, one of the best ways to understand and appreciate any culture. 

Led by the Ministry of Commerce of the Royal Thai Government, the #ThaiSELECT initiative is now a much sought after mark of certification for authentic Thai flavors and products by establishments and restaurants around the world.    

Almost like the Michelin star for Thai restaurants, the #ThaiSELECT seal is a guarantee of quality and authenticity setting any Thai restaurant apart from the rest. The recognition is given every two years to deserving restaurants maintaining the highest quality and standards for Thai cuisine, and spotting that seal at a restaurant is your sure bet for a memorable Thai feast. 

H.E. Mr. Tull Traisorat, Ambassador, Royal Thai Embassy and Janthana Chotimunee, Commercial Minister Counsellor of the Department of International Trade Promotion, Ministry of Commerce presented the #ThaiSELECT certification to Chef Jay Gamboa of Azuthai for the third consecutive time for another milestone moment in the restaurant's on-going story.

For siblings Jay and Malu Gamboa, receiving the prestigious recognition from the Royal Thai Government is the culmination of all the hard work behind their successful dining concepts. Yet the real work continues in maintaining the consistent quality of Azuthai as one of Manila's best Thai restaurants.

Inside the kitchen, Azuthai's culinary team led by two Thai chefs fire up a sumptuous Thai feast... guests were seated for the exclusive taste of the restaurant's signature offerings. That day, Azuthai served their bestselling dishes through the years triggering nostalgic memories.  

The traditional Thai spicy papaya salad, Som Tam with fresh green papaya, long beans, tomatoes, peanuts and chili kicked off the Thai feast with its delectable play on contrasting notes and textures. It's been said many times before, freshness is flavor, and Azuthai's Som Tam delivers...

...opening up the palate with its complex weave of sweet, sour, salty and spicy notes. The fresh crunch and subtle sweetness of the beans, the tartness of the cherry tomatoes, the bold sweet and sour flavors of the vinaigrette, the crunch of the peanuts, refreshing finish of the papaya and soothing heat from the chilies combine for flavorful bursts of clean yet balanced notes. It's this complex blend of flavors from different ingredients that define the vibrant color palette of Thai cuisine, served in a bowl at Azuthai

A trio of tasty nibbles, the Azuthai Appetizer Sampler, delights the palate with its flavorful richness and textural contrasts from the crisp Prawn Spring Roll, savory Fish Cakes and crunchy deep-fried Vegetable Spring Rolls.

Each appetizer has its own distinctive flavor, with its deep-fried textures adding a savory richness with each bite. Paired with a sweet and sour chili dip, a generous dab completes the flavors. 

A comforting bowl of Tom Klong with its light yet richly flavored hot and sour broth, fried fish and tamarind warms the palate and another sip is soon on its way. But it's the delicate crispness of the fried fish that transforms the soup with its contrasting textures and deeper flavors along with a fresh medley of vegetables adding even more layers of flavors. Almost like the popular Tom Yum loaded with fresh seafood and vegetables, the Tom Klong offers unique textures with the fried fish along with the same intense notes.

The classic Moo Kra Pow or stir-fried pork with basil, green beans and chili is a savory dish that demands an extra bowl of steamed white rice. The juicy minced pork drapes the palate with a savory richness followed by fresh hints from the basil tempered by the spicy finish of fresh chilies. Extra rice? Absolutely.

The quintessential Thai noodle dish, the Pad Thai Goong wrapped in egg is another specialty at Azuthai with stir-fried noodles, succulent prawns, egg, spring onions, peanuts and chilies. Elegantly plated, this popular Thai staple is perfectly recreated by the culinary team led by Thai chefs at Azuthai. The best part? Mixing it all together and finishing it off with a fresh squeeze of lime before that much anticipated big bite.

Azuthai then serves the day's freshest catch starting with the Pla Naeng Ma Naw or steamed boneless seabass with lime, garlic, fresh coriander and fish sauce...

...with each silky smooth and melt-in-your-mouth bite draping the palate with a luscious briny sweetness followed by bold and fragrant aromatic hints from the fresh coriander, the deep nutty notes of garlic and the sharp flavors of fish sauce for another complex yet elegantly balanced play on flavors.

The Poo Nim Phat Pong Karee or succulent soft shell crab slathered in yellow curry, sweet peppers, onions, egg and coconut milk is another tasty number from Azuthai's kitchen. A personal pick and favorite, each bite brings layer upon layer of indulgent flavors from the crab to the curry and coconut milk that's perfect when paired with steamed white rice. 

In between bites, the popular Satay Gai or grilled chicken skewers served with a thick peanut sauce and cucumber achar, a Thai-style pickled cucumber side brings savory notes from the juicy and tender chicken with just a hint of smokiness from the grill. The peanut sauce and achar adds contrasting flavors to complement the fresh-grilled skewers.

The Massaman Gaeh or Thai-style lamb curry with shallots, potatoes and peanuts is the savory finale to a epic feast of vibrant Thai flavors at Azuthai...

Imagine juicy and fork-tender lamb draped in a rich and thick curry sauce highlighted by the subtle sweetness from the star anise and cinnamon to complement the complex layers of flavors. Tediously simmered until all the flavors come together, the Massaman Gaeh is luxuriously indulgent with its blend of sweet, tangy and savory profile.

The flavor-packed curry sauce alone hits all the right notes, and a bite of the tender lamb rounds out the flavors. Despite the indulgent savory richness of the dish, the Massaman Gaeh has a comforting and almost homey vibe warming the palate and body on cloudy days like today.

For dessert, Azuthai served the signature Tako or tapioca and coconut cream in pandan cups...

...and Tap Tim Krob or water chestnuts with coconut milk to end the feast on a high and sweet note. From starters to mains and dessert, the kitchen at Azuthai helmed by two Thai chefs brings the real flavors of Thailand to your table. 

The local restaurant scene is constantly evolving, with trends coming and going to entice a customer's ever fickle palate. Then there are the constants like quality and authenticity that continue to define one's dining experience with a comforting familiarity. At Azuthai, it's more than a commitment. It's a promise made even stronger with over fifteen years as one of the metro's best Thai restaurants. The #ThaiSELECT seal is another feather in its cap, and bagging it for the third straight time in a row means they're doing something right. In a crowded and cluttered restaurant scene, that means a whole lot not only in terms of providing relevant differentiation from other Thai restaurants but a firm promise to its loyal base of customers. Legit Thai cuisine has a name, and it's Azuthai...   

H.EMr. Tull Traisorat, Ambassador, Royal Thai Embassy shares the moment with Chef Jay and Malu Gamboa along with the two Thai chefs of Azuthai for another milestone in its continuing story of quality and authenticity. First with the prestigious #ThaiSELECT seal and now with three, Azuthai is ready to take your palate on a culinary journey to the Land of Smiles with each dish and each bite.  

Azuthai is located at the Ground Floor, Milky Way Building, 900 Arnaiz Avenue corner Paseo de Roxas, Makati. You can call 8817 6252, 8813 0671 and 0927 136 1306 for inquiries or check their FB Page, IG Feed and website at and for more updates.

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