[Bangkok, Thailand] Sen Yai Pad Kee Mao from Raan Jay Fai ( เจ๊ไฝ)

One of the must-haves for any gourmand visiting Bangkok in the 80s/90s must be Jay Fai’s “sen yai pad kee mao” (“sen yai” is the Thai term for Cantonese “hor fun” or Hokkien “kway teow” - flat, wide rice noodles) and “kee mao” or “drunken” refers to the cooking method. It’s a spicier rendition compared to other types of Chinese-inspired Thai noodle dishes).

The owner-chef, Supinya “Jay Fai” Junsuta’s shop, Raan Jay Fai, is located at Thanon Mahachai, a couple of doors away from the hyper-popular Thipsamai.
Raan Jay Fai still does very well today, and the crowd builds up towards the later part of the evenings.

“Jay Fai” or “Big Sister Mole” is a 70-year-old lady who cooked up a storm on her woks over hot charcoal braziers with leaping flames. These days, she’s always clad in long sleeves, a large apron and a pair of oversized black goggles (pinched off her motorcyclist husband) which she rarely remove.

Jay Fai learnt to cook from an early age to help her mother sell food at a market (her father was an opium addict who later abandoned his family).

Along the way, this self-taught cook improved and upgraded her family heirloom dishes to become their world-famous versions we know today. She still cooked everything single-handedly herself.

Even her own daughter, Yuwadee Junsuta, who gave up her corporate career to assist her mom in managing the eatery, does not know the recipes yet.

  1. Jay Fai’s sen yai pad kee mao these days seemed to have progressed to a luxe version, with humongous, very fresh prawns, lump crabmeat, squid, baby corn, egg, khanaeng (Chinese kale) and chillis. I loved the ingredients, but wished there were more “sen yai” and less of those other stuff. Tastewise, the dish did not differ from any of the ordinary versions and still require the pickled chillis, sugar & fish sauce condiments.

  1. Stir-fried seafood dry rice congee (“choke talay”). This is normal thick, gluey Chinese rice congee, but transformed by a stir-frying process into a wonderful new dish which tasted simply sensational (to me). It’s also replete with luxurious seafood items buried by the rice porridge at the bottom of the bowl. It’s topped with julienned ginger, Chinese parsley and “pathongko” (Thai-style crisps). The flavours of the porridge were assertive and suits my (Chinese-Chaozhou) taste preference to a ‘t’. Turned out it was the best dish I had that evening.

  2. The piece de resistance, and Jay Fai’s claim-to-fame these days, is a ginormous fresh lump crabmeat omelette (“kai jeaw poo”). It’s so huge, you need 4 persons to finish one portion of this, which sells for THB1000 (nearly US$30). It was truly delicious, though, and worth every cent of it.


  1. The last dish we had was pretty superfluous, really: deep-fried giant wantons (“kaew”), filled with large prawns and coated with eggs. It was another exercise in over-dressing an otherwise simple street food in luxurious ingredients, perhaps to justify the sky-high prices charged there. THB500 (US$15) for the dish.

Still, Jay Fai’s main clientele are the Bangkok-Thais themselves, albeit the middle-class ones. This, in itself, speaks for the authenticity of the food it offers.
Be forewarned - there’s not much of an ambience here in the old shophouse.

The only time I saw Jay Fai without her goggles was when she obliged Martha Stewart for a photo-op. She has a large mole on the right side of her face, which explains her nickname.

Raan Jay Fai ( เจ๊ไฝ)
327 Thanon Mahachai, Khwaeng Samran Rat, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Reservations via email: jayfaibangkok@gmail.com (you will receive a confirmation email in return).
Opening hours: 3pm to 1am (Mon-Sat, closed Sundays).


Raan Jay Fai has become the first Thai hawker spot to gain 1-Michelin-star in Bangkok’s inaugural Michelin Guide last night.

Hope quality will remain the same. Quite sure they are going to open more shops.

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It’ll be interesting to see if the septuagenarian Jay Fai will undergo any change in her mindset - she seems to have this OCD to do everything herself - stir-frying the noodles, etc. Her helpers are usually relegated to cutting ingredients and washing up.

I re-read your post again, she’s 70+ and she is doing everything. The point is more does she has a plan of training somebody, or a succession plan? Sometimes Michelin is a curse than a blessing, and brings stress, increase in rent etc.

BTW, I look up the address, is her place far from the closest metro/train stop?

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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.


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.


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.