[Bangkok] Sen Yai Pad Kee Mao from Raan Jay Fai

I stop by Thipsamai frequently when I am in Bangkok. It is just 3 doors down the street and has really good omelet wrapped Pad Thai for 90 Baht which is about $2US. I saw the sign for Jay Fai and thought I was reading it wrong. Now I wish I had gone in. That crab omelet looks outstanding!
There is a nice little coffee shop right across the street I go to when I am in the area so there is a lot to do on this one little stretch of road plus the khlong taxi stop at Phan Pha pier is just 2 blocks north.

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There’s no Metro stop near there, but one can Uber there easily these days.

True, except the traffic jam of Bangkok is a nightmare. We got stuck in the traffic for a lunch reservation. For 1 hour, nothing moved, the driver drove us instead to a mrt station and told us to run, we got more chance with that. In the end we were still an hour late, the kitchen was closing, but luckily the chef of nahm accepted to still serve us the tasting menu. (the food arrived all at once though, not 1 course after the other).

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One other option is the khlong taxi. There is very seldom a traffic jam on the canals, though they are kind of limited in the areas they serve. :wink:
Not the cleanest route in the world but it is kind of a fun change of pace.

Oh dear, Nahm - that’s on Sathorn Road, which is nightmarish: Bangkokians get cold feet when they hear someone’s going to Sathorn for dinner.

Some news on Raan Jay Fai…

Bad news: 2,5 hour queuing (need reservation now), smaller menu.
Good news: price remains the same.

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More like a 3.5 hour wait from getting on the list to getting plates. There seems to be a delivery service that would get take out and wait for you - might be worth it you must try it.

Got Pad Kee Mao, Rad Na, Crab Fried Rice. Poor, bad/cold, uninspired. Dishes lack wok hay, were cold, prawns used were big but lack flavor. I wouldn’t go back even if there wasn’t a wait.

Ouch! Line too long, and well, I guess too difficult to quality control. Michelin doesn’t seem a good news for them.

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That’s simply awful! I’m thankful I was there way before the Michelin jinx hit the place. Back then, there were no crowds & each dish was cooked to perfection.

Sad indeed! We were so looking forward to some good wok cooked food, esp after the long wait.

Oh, got the dry wok-fried congee dish as well. It was the best dish, though it was just lukewarm and I can’t tell how it was wok fried.

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I also thought the wok-fried congee was the best dish. With the crazy crowds & the inability of Jay Fai & her helpers to meet the demand, the cooking standards and service must have dipped disastrously.

I think the fact that after waiting 3.5 hour, we become more demanding too. Maybe they should limit the number of people, turn down clients, for better quality control.

Honestly I thought I might be more forgiving, especially on the first bite. If I had known in advance that it got a star, I wouldn’t have gone.

Any recs for actually good kee Mao? There was a stall mid Jan at the festival next to central they had lines and smelt good, but the festival was gone by the time I returned.

Try Je Ngor - thankfully, it’s fallen below the radar of the Michelin folks, so still caters to local Bangkokians.

We should hide part of the HO posts and keep the good places secret for ourselves.

LOL! I think Raan Jay Fai’s case is an extreme one.

But Singapore’s own 1-Michelin-star hawker, HK Soysauce Chicken & Noodle, experienced the same spike in demand initially. It subsequently opened a larger branch, with higher prices. Standards have fallen, too - which is why many of us were perplexed when it retained its Michelin star on the second year.

FYI Raan Jay Fai now can be reserved via email, so I assume the lines can be bypassed. She is also now resting 2 days a week - on Sundays and Mondays.

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Whoa, Jay Fai to appear in the pilot of a new Netflix series, Street Food.

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There’s got to be a workable solution to this.

On the one hand, I am the exact audience for Michelin guides, forum post scrolling, blog reading, food-hunting obsessions. On the other hand, people like me, tons of them, have a habit of ‘ruining’ the experience of these gems simply by dent of overwhelming the venue. And who are we to chide the proprietors for enjoying their newfound fame (and profit)? They certainly deserve it.

How do we find, curate, and communicate great food discoveries without destroying the experience?

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I don’t know that you can publish reviews of great cafes, or great beaches/islands, for that matter, without running the very real risk of ruining exactly what you love so much. Too much popularity can destroy a cafe just as surely as too little. Adapting to huge crowds is difficult for any business owner and some of the best small cafe owner/chefs are chefs first and business people second.
I used to be a long term traveler, spending 10 or 11 months at a time moving from island to island in SE Asia. There was a very real reluctance to share favorite islands among many of the travelers. We had seen what had happened to Ko Samui first, then Ko Phangan and Ko Tao. The last time I went to Ko Tarutao I just about cried to see the development and pollution. I have a photo of some artwork that was done by a Ko Tao artist back in 2008 about the progression of events on Ko Tao that pretty accurately sums up the rush to welcome and then regret large amounts of customers.
The same can sometimes, perhaps frequently, happen to a very good small cafe that receives well deserved but ultimately destructive fame.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold