Raan Jay Fai: a Michelin Star dinner at Thailand's most famous street food restaurant

Bangkok's first restaurant to earn a Michelin Star is a local diner famous for its big portions and high-quality ingredients.


There is usually a three-hour wait to dine at this nondescript-looking shop house in Bangkok's Rattanakosin neighborhood. Raan Jay Fai, possibly the most famous street food restaurant in the entire world, is located in the city's old town area, on a busy street roughly between the Golden Mount and the Giant Swing.

Jay Fai's most famous dish is her crab omelette

75 year-old chef Jay Fai, the recipient of the first Michelin star ever to be awarded in Thailand, has never written a recipe down, and cooks each and every dish that she serves herself. Over the last several decades, Jay Fai's Bangkok street food classics have become world famous for their high-quality ingredients and huge portions.

Jay Fai cooking over a hot wok
Jay Fai cooking over a hot wok

Six days a week, you'll find Jay Fai, always wearing her iconic beanie hat and ski goggles to protect her from the smoke and heat of her open-air kitchen, cooking Bangkok street food classics on two smoking woks above flaming charcoal braziers.

Jay Fai hard at work in her kitchen

It is normally almost impossible to get a seat at Jay Fai's restaurant without spending half a day queuing up with dozens of other hungry patrons on small plastic chairs outside of her restaurant, but because Thailand is still closed to tourists after the COVID-19 shutdowns, it's now possible - possibly for the only time - to be able to visit without the long wait.

As soon as we had arrived, a waitress took down our names and order in a notebook. Your order is taken as soon as you arrive and begin to queue up so as to keep the super fast-paced restaurant running quickly and efficiently.

inside Jay Fai's famous restaurant

The restaurant itself looks like any other in Bangkok, but it's the food that makes this place so special. Jay Fai orders the freshest ingredients (especially for her iconic seafood dishes) directly from the source, choosing only the highest-quality providers. Her food may be expensive - take for example her most famous dish, the crab omelette, which goes for 1,000 baht (up to 30 times the price of an omelette from another street vendor) - but everyone that has dined here says that it is well worth the price.

the seating area in Jay Fai's restaurant

We were seated at a small plastic table next to Jay Fai's kitchen, and had the treat of watching the master at work. She moved quickly, cooking every dish in hot oil over a roaring flame and passing them off to her assistants who plated them and whisked them off to the hungry diners waiting throughout the cramped shop.

Jay Fai makes each and every dish herself

The Food

Khai Jiao Bu - Crab Omelette

1000 Thai Baht ($30)

Jay Fai's most famous dish is her khai jiao bu, which is roughly the size of a small child. 1000 baht may seem pricey, but as soon as you cut into the huge rolled omelette, you'll see why it's worth every baht.

khai jiao bu - Jay Fai's famous crab omelette

The crispy egg is stuffed full of the freshest, juiciest, sweetest crab meat that I've ever eaten. This isn't that imitation meat you find at the store, but the real stuff taken right out of the crab's claw. She's not conservative with the crab, either! There had to be several full crabs stuffed inside there!

The omelette is served with chili sauce on the side, but you really don't need any extra flavors. It's amazing just how it is.

the egg is stuffed full with sweet, high-quality crab meat


Kee Mao Kung - Drunken Shrimp

800 Thai Baht ($25)

Our second dish was kee mao kung, drunken shrimp. A handful of monstrous shrimp were wok-fried with a hot and spicy sauce, Thai holy basil, and fresh red chilies.

Thai stir-fried drunken shrimp

The secret ingredient in Jay Fai's kee mao are the huge crunchy chunks of coconut heart that she adds. Usually kee mao is fried with Chinese finger root, which gives a sort of peppery, gingery flavor, but replacing finger root with coconut heart gives the dish a sweet tropical taste that I couldn't get enough of.

a giant kee mao shrimp

At first, I have to admit that I was a little nervous to eat at Raan Jay Fai. There is so much hype, and the reputation surrounding the restaurant made me worry that I had built it up too much in my head. I was worried that it would be overpriced or that I would feel like it was overrated. However, my fears were all for naught. Dining at Jay Fai's restaurant is definitely worth the price and the long wait. This was, without exaggeration, the best Thai street food I have ever had in my entire life - and Bangkok is a city that is already world famous for its street food!

raan jay fai
Raan Jay Fai

Menu

Jay Fai Restaurant Menu (Thai and English)

Price
💲💲💲 - very expensive for Bangkok street food, but worth it for a special occasion; dishes 800-1000 THB ($25-30)

Location

You might also like:

Bun Cha Combo Obama - a presidential street food experience in Hanoi, Vietnam
https://www.theworldofstreetfood.com/2018/05/hanois-best-bun-cha-in-old-quarter.html

A few links with more information about Jay Fai's famous restaurant:
https://guide.michelin.com/th/en/article/people/the-must-try-dishes-at-jay-fai
https://bk.asia-city.com/restaurants/bangkok-restaurant-reviews/jay-fai

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