Renowned Thai street food hawker Supinya ‘Jay Fai’ Junsuta has today been announced as the recipient of the World’s 50 Best Icon Award for Asia, ahead of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021 awards on 25 March.
Voted for by experts across Asia, Jay Fai is recognised for her continued commitment to the excellence of Bangkok’s culinary traditions across more than 40 years in her shophouse in the Thai capital.
Jay Fai has turned her hawker stall Raan Jay Fai in Bangkok into a world-renowned destination catering for gourmets, chefs, celebrities and, most importantly, hungry locals. She has featured in numerous documentaries, including the Netflix show Street Food, and has been recognised by the Michelin Guide with a star, making Raan Jay Fai the first street food stall to receive the accolade.
Formerly a seamstress, Junsuta became a cook after a fire destroyed her home and sewing equipment. With single-minded determination, the self-taught cook mastered Japanese omelettes and later used those techniques to create her signature crab dish - always wearing her signature red lipstick.
"I am grateful to be recognised for my hard work and craftsmanship,” said Jay Fai, who despite the accolade will be toiling in her hawker stall today to feed Bangkok locals. “This is truly the reward of a lifetime for an ordinary chef like me. But most importantly, I hope everyone can learn from my story that dedication, hard work and patience can help you achieve your goals.”
Although Jay Fai is famous for plenty of dishes, her crab omelette is a draw for people from around the world. Priced at more than 1,500 baht ($45), it contains 1lb of fresh crab, bound in a Japanese-style tamagoyaki omelette.
“I taught myself the process of making the folded omelette and it took a lot of time," she said. "I pay very close attention to all my dishes, but I think this crab dish has become the signature because you can’t find it anywhere else. It is composed of the very best ingredients I can find and it has original flavours.”