Despite the tumultuous year forcing many iconic restaurants to shut shop, some eateries stood their ground and emerged victoriously. In honour of this fighting spirit, a Bangkok-based chef has won a spot on coveted Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list as the Icon Award holder. Take a look at who won! By Bayar Jain
Every year, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list is revealed with food enthusiasts gazing over with immense curiosity. This year, however, the gastronomy industry needed an extra push to stay positive. And Bangkok-based Supinya Junsuta (better known as Jay Fai) provided just that.
As per the award’s official website, Jay Fai is this year’s recipient of the Icon Award-Asia 2021. Considered the queen of Thai street food, Fai has been dishing out spectacular food at her open-air shophouse at Bangkok’s Maha Chai Road for 40 years. Over time, Sister Mole–a nickname Fai acquired owing to a birthmark to the right of her nose—has converted the space into a magnet for gourmets, chefs, celebrities, and VIPs.
Fai’s food is known to stray away from the traditional, notes the same website. Credited for inventing a dry tom yum dish packed with flavours and fragrance but devoid of a broth, Fai reportedly has a penchant for embracing luxurious ingredients (neighbouring market traders prefer the traditional route). Her key to success, however, resides in innovation — states the award jury. Take the khai jiao poo (crab omelette), for instance. To create the dish, she borrows from the Japanese tamagoyaki omelette-making technique to achieve the dish’s signature texture.
Notably, the winner of the same award in 2020 was Japan’s Yoshihiro Murata. The seven-time Michelin starred chef is known to bridge old techniques with the new at Kikunoi in Kyoto and Tokyo.