A project to standardize the taste of Thai food has spent THB 30 million to create a robot that can taste whether or not a Thai-dish is cooked according to official standards. A business man hopes to export the machine to Thai embassies in countries with many Thai restaurants.
As a westerner it can be hard to get an overview of the thousands of taste variations in and opinions about the Thai kitchen. But the governmentally financed Thai Delicious Committee has set out to make some order and standardize the Thai cuisine, New York Times report, one of the most curious initiatives is a robot that can measure and smell the ingredients through sensors and act like an objective food critic.
But objectivity is hard if not impossible to receive, and in the making of the machine the developers tried to come around it by serving 10 differently cooked samples of the same dish for 120 tasters recruited at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. The taster then rated the different takes on the same dish and the one with most votes became the standard. If the robot measures that the taste in a dish is less than 80% equal to the standard taste, it is not considered to be an authentic Thai dish.
While the demographic composition of tasters could be subject of debate, New York Times spoke with Nakah Thawichawatt a business man that hopes to commercialize the robot and sell it to embassies in countries with many Thai restaurants in order to secure the quality of Thai food abroad.
The end goal is that restaurants can get a “Thai Delicious” logo that they can fix to their menu in order to claim authenticity. Whether or not someone can righteously put Thai cuisine into a schedule and claim that some foods are authentic, is an interesting discussion subject for chefs and food aficionadas around the globe and we will have to wait and see whether or not Italy will be inspired and create a global pasta police.