[WORLDKINGS] Top attractive culinary destinations in the world – P1 - Raan Jay Fai: Thai "Queen of Street Food" restaurant with crab omelette

23-02-2021

(Worldkings.org) When Jay Fai received a Michelin star for her Raan Jay Fai restaurant, the street food staller owner from Bangkok was shot into the media spotlight. Her fiery noodle place, famous for crab curry and particularly for her crab omelette, was the first street food stall in Thailand to receive a Michelin star.

Jay Fai (also known as Raan Jay Fai, "Jay Fai's shop") is a street-side restaurant in Bangkok and a nickname of its eponymous owner, whose real name is Supinya Junsuta. The restaurant mainly serves wok-cooked seafood dishes, and is highly popular among food enthusiasts despite its high prices. It received one star in the inaugural Bangkok 2018 Michelin Guide.

 

 

Jay Fai was born c. 1945 to Chinese immigrant parents, who sold kuaitiao khua kai (chicken noodles) for a living. However, she was not good at cooking, and had to learn from her younger sister, who originally doubted her abilities. Jay Fai did not initially join the family business; instead, she worked as a seamstress for several years, until a fire prompted her to turn to cooking when she was in her thirties.

She opened her restaurant in the 1980s and originally served congee and noodle dishes such as kuaitiao khua kai and rat na, building on her mother's recipes. She then gradually expanded her repertoire, experimenting and developing her own recipes and techniques. She also began using seafood, travelling extensively to procure better ingredients and charging accordingly. The restaurant gained a steady stream of followers, and has since become one of the most famous street-side restaurants in the city.

 

 

The restaurant has been famous among food enthusiasts for decades. In a 1999 review, Bangkok Post food critic Ung-aang Talay (Bob Halliday) described her as "one of those increasingly rare Mozarts of the noodle pan who can transform very ordinary, lunchtime-at-the-market dishes into masterpieces of local cuisine". Famous customers include Martha Stewart, who called Jay Fai "the best cook in Thailand".

 

 

In December 2017, the Michelin Guide released its inaugural 2018 edition for Bangkok, in which the restaurant was awarded one star. It was the only street restaurant to be awarded a star, and joins a handful of others in Hong Kong and Singapore as a result of Michelin's efforts to diversify its coverage, previously limited to fine dining establishments.

 

 

The award resulted in a surge of customers for Jay Fai, who had never heard of the guide before and had to be persuaded to attend the ceremony. Following the announcement, the restaurant became so busy that it had to implement a reservations system (something she previously refused to do), and one of Jay Fai's daughters had to leave her job in order to help full-time (in addition to another, who already worked at the restaurant). In 2021, Jay Fai also won the Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Icon Award.

According to en.wikipedia


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