|A serving of phat khi mao at Jay Fai's, showing a large prawn typical at the restaurant|
Thursday, February 20, 2020
THE FOODIST / BANGKOK STREET CHEF EARNS 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's restaurant occupies a shophouse on Maha Chai Road, in the neighborhood known as Samran Rat or Pratu Phi in Bangkok's Phra Nakhon District. It is open-air and sparsely decorated, with green tiled walls and simple tables and stools for seating. Cooking takes place at the side of the shop, where the walls open onto a small alley, using two charcoal braziers. Jay Fai herself works six days a week as the restaurant's sole chef, wearing ski goggles while she cooks (the shop is closed on Sundays).
Jay Fai, 74, procures ingredients, especially seafood, directly from several sources, placing an emphasis on quality. This is reflected in her prices, which are much higher than regular street fare. One of her more famous dishes, for example, (see top photo) is a crab-meat omelet that costs upwards of 1,000 baht (over US $30). Other popular dishes include rat na and phat khi mao with seafood (See photo below).
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).
Jay Fai, who has never written down a recipe, has said that she does not intend to pass on the business, as she does not wish her children to pick up the hard work since it has earned enough. --Wikipeda, 2020.
327 Maha Chai Road, Bangkok, Thailand