The allure of Michelin starred dining is too much to resist. Inspectors anonymously pour over prospective candidates for months, judging on consistency, originality and taste. The guide believes so strongly in it’s selections, it’s highest “three star” restaurants are deemed places worth traveling to, just for a meal alone. But one street stall in Bangkok has joined the prestigious group, and there are no velvet gloves or extensive wine lists to be found anywhere.
Raan Jay Fai is a motherly figure of Thai street food, often referred to as “the Queen” and has been wowing customers, over charcoal wok for nearly 40 years. Her shophouse restaurant has been a favorite of travelers in search of culinary delight far before the dawn of the internet – but thanks to word of mouth her shophouse now has a Michelin star. Jay Fai, which apparently translates roughly to “Lady Mole”, signifying the growth on her face is known for wearing ski goggles to protect from searing hot oils, while cooking up iconic dishes such as her crab omelette, drunken noodles with seafood or her stir fried crab in yellow curry.
For a bit of a wait, and roughly $25, anyone visiting Bangkok can now experience Michelin starred food, without the usual price tag. Main dishes run roughly $25-$30 and are far from the petit portions the Michelin guide oh – so famously adores. Jay’s prices are far more than a standard food stall, but that’s by design. The eponymous patron believed in elevating “street” food from the start, cutting deals as early as 40 years ago, just to get a leg up, or at least a crab leg up on her competition. If your mouth is now watering, here’s the address: Raan Jay Fai; 327 Maha Chai Road, Bangkok; +66 2 223 9384.
Are you headed to Jay Fai’s?