The popular Thai street food chef has garnered many fans with her delicious takes on popular Thai dishes, cooked using only premium ingredients

Bangkok chef Supinya Junsuta, better known as Jay Fai, is a legend in the city’s street food scene. The 76-year-old “Queen of Thai street food” has been running her humble seven-seater eatery for over 40 years, and in the process, continuing to attract throngs of food lovers (in Thailand and across the world before Covid-19) with her personal interpretations of delicious Thai dishes such as yellow crab curry (poo pad phong karee), drunken noodles with seafood (pad kee mao talay) and tom yum soup, and her signature crab meat omelette (khai jiao poo).

Her passion and dedication to her craft have won her many awards, including a one Michelin star in 2018—the first and only street food venue to do so in Thailand. In 2019, she even appeared on Netflix’s Street Food: Asia series where viewers saw her 'working the wok' with her trademark black apron, beanie and ski goggles to protect herself from the heat and scalding oil.

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This year, she adds another accolade to her belt as Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants chose her as the recipient of their prestigious Icon Award – Asia 2021. Voted by the 300-plus members of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, this is given to culinary heroes who have made their significant mark in the restaurant industry within the region.

“Jay Fai embodies the spirit of Asian gastronomy,” affirms William Drew, director of content for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, who admired her passion for blending culinary traditions with innovation. He added that her “unwavering tradition to her craft has earned her the respect of her peers and makes her a worthy recipient of this award.”

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Tatler Asia
Jay Fai in action
Above Jay Fai in action

In receiving the Icon Award, Jay Fai says: “I am grateful to be recognised for my hard work and craftsmanship. This is truly the reward of a lifetime for an ordinary chef like me.” Most importantly, she hopes to be an inspiration to all cooks that dedication, hard work and patience can help everyone achieve their goals.

The Icon Award—Asia 2021 is always announced before the unveiling of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021, which takes place on March 25.

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