[Bangkok, Updated 2017] In Bangkok where cheap, affordable, tasty street foods are a dime in a dozen, finding Fried Drunken Noodle (Phad Kee Mao) in a run-down no-frills eatery that is sold at 400 Baht (SGD$16.50, USD$12.00) came as a shocker.
Nevermind that, as Raan Jay Fai is the only street hawker awarded the Michelin Star in the inaugural Michelin Guide Bangkok 2018.
In Singaporean-language, we call this type of coffeeshops “lok”.
“Wait, isn’t that one additional zero for its usual price?” We checked, and there was no misprint in the menu.
The eatery is Raan Jay Fai, run by a 70-plus year old lady known as “Sister Mole”, known for her iconic over-sized goggles.
“Jay” represents “sister” while “Fai” means “mole”. Thus, the name in its entirety would mean “Sister Mole Restaurant”.
Chef Sister Mole stays mainly at the side where there is an outdoor kitchen, frying over blazing fires when she adds oil to twos wok on flaming charcoal.
Her other assistants handle the less important work – assembling of the ingredients, as one looked thoroughly bored picking up kway teow from a container.
She wore safely goggles, and just went on and on stir-frying for several minutes in rhythmic fashion, seemingly one plate at the time.
Main dishes sold included Tom Yum Goong (600 – 1000 Baht), Poo Phad Yellow Curry (800 – 1000 Baht), Homemade Prawn Cake (500 Baht), and Yum Woon-Sen (700 – 1000 Baht) – Thai spicy salad with glass noodles and mixed seafood.
My friend Gavin Chan (who eats mainly atas food) said, “You MUST try the Drunken Noodles”. He was not drunk when he told me that.
The 400 Baht plate consists of flat rice noodles fried in hot & spicy sauce, and jumbo prawns marinated in wine. Frying it over coal fire meant that the noodles had more wok hei.
(Drunken noodles is a Chinese-influenced dish that was made popular by the Chinese people living in Thailandand Laos, generally fried with broad rice noodles, soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, meat, seafood, vegetables, and various seasonings.)
The portion was small, but the mixture of taste was alluring. The rice noodles slippery smooth with a thin coat of char. Good stuff, but I still wonder if it is 400-Baht-good.
I was less impressed by the Raad Nar Goong (400 Baht) – stir-fried rice noodles topped with mixed vegetables and giant prawns in savoury gravy.
Don’t be mistaken. It was a very decent plate of rice noodles, and if this were to be sold in Singapore, there will be a long queue.
I just thought it lacked of a life-changing X-factor. And so for its price… people may say “over-rated”.
Thai Crab Omelette Kai-Jeaw Poo at Raan Jay Fai is a massive roll of egg and lump crab meat that is also fried over hot coal fire.
The price tag? 800 or 1000 Baht (SGD$32.90 or SGD$41.20). *faints*
But, but, but… take a look at the amount of lump crab meat, which is probably few crabs in one omelette. That also meant eating all that sweet-fleshy goodness without a mess of picking the crab out of its shells.
While I wished the crab chunks were juicier, I was impressed with the fact that the egg roll didn’t taste that oily at all.
In fact, the fillings inside stayed relatively grease free, despite that fact it was just deep fried in a big wok of oil.
The easiest way to get here is via Uber or cab for tourists. Telling the driver to get to the famous Thip Samai Pad Thai is a safer bet, and Raan Jay Fai is just a few shops down.
Also spot Martha Stewart’s photo on the wall, who named Jay Fai “The Best Cook In Thailand.”
As Michelin stars come to Bangkok end of 2017, you never know if Raan Jay Fai would be honoured a lucky star or at least a Bib Gourmand. (Opps, I wrote this earlier, so it came true!)
Raan Jay Fai
327 Mahachai Road (at intersection with Samranrat Road) Bangkok, Thailand
Tel: +66 2 223 9384
Opening Hours: 3:00pm – 2:00am (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
Google Maps – Raan Jay Fai
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