A dish at Jay Fai in Bangkoks old town. Photograph: Chawadee Nualkhair
I was excited from the very first step I made in here, said Jay Fai as she accepted the award on Wednesday at the five-star Grand Hyatt hotel, dressed in a white chefs outfit.
Her restaurant, an open kitchen with tiled walls and metal stools that spill out into the street, also sells rich, yellow crab curries.
Open daily in the old part of the Thai capital, the restaurant was one of 17 awarded stars, decided by Michelin after months of secret inspections. The other awardees consisted mainly of French haute cuisine restaurants, such as
Le Normandie, where a jacket is compulsory for gentlemen during dinner, as well as upscale Thai restaurants.
While Michelin has a reputation for fine dining, it claims it is not all white tablecloths and silver cutlery. In 2010, a Hong Kong dim sum hole-in-the-wall was awarded a star and the guide gave a star to a Singapore
chicken rice hawker last year.
Chawadee Nualkhair, a Bangkok-based street food blogger, said: Jay Fai is like the queen of Thai street food. She could have done anything with her fame: chain restaurants, street food branches, a fancy secondary location, but she didnt. She stayed at her open-air shophouse with her two woks. Im glad shes finally getting some recognition.
The prices are, however, not in keeping with street food, which locals put down to her large portions. A Jay Fai favourite is her browned, thick crab omelette for which she charges about 20.
Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle, Singapore
At less than 2, Malaysian-born Chan Hon Mengs tiny standin Singapores Chinatown isreputed to serve the cheapest Michelin-starred mealin the world. The stalls star dish is exactlywhat the name suggests: dark soysauce chicken over rice and noodles. Chan shot to fameafter his surprise inclusionon last years guide.
Tim Ho Wan, Hong Kong
The previouscheapestMichelin-starred meal,the original20-seat dim sum Tim Ho Wan in Kowloon was recognised by theguide in 2010. Nowwith 45 locations, the chain specialises in dirt cheap but excellent Cantonesefare, helped along no doubtby owner Mak Kwai Puis flawless culinary pedigree:hes a former chef at the Four Seasons.-
Harwood Arms, London
The unassuming Fulhamgastropub is the only Michelin-starred pub in London. Michelin arecareful tostress that despite its sky-high reputation, the Harwood Arms is really just adown-to-earth pub that happens to serve outstanding food. The menu focusses ongame and wildingredients, and is noted for an unpretentious selection of alestoo.
There is no shortageof Michelin stars in Tokyo, but Nakajimas famed sardine dishesmakeit one of the best value meals in the city. The small basement eatery servesthem raw,deep-fried, grilled, or simmered with egg and soy sauce, all at less than8 for lunch.
The much-anticipated Bangkok guide comes months after authorities angered members of the local food scene by announcing they would
ban street stalls from the capitals main roads in the interests of order and hygiene. The plan was partially reversed following the outcry.
The guide has 28 street food locations in it, although Michelin Guides international director, Michael Ellis, told the Guardian before the launch that only outlets with a physical address could be included, which excludes Bangkoks thousands of wheeled food carts. No restaurants achieved the coveted top Michelin accolade of three stars.
While Jay Fai was the only street food vendor with a star, 18 were placed in the Bib Gourmand category, introduced in 1955 to recognise establishments providing stellar meals for a moderate price. One is a pad thai noodle shop, Baan Yai Phad Thai, which sells the dish for about 1.
You can find the entire encyclopaedia of Thai food in street food. Its omnipresent. We realised that street food in
Thailand is not just a meal like lunch or dinner. Its really all day long, Ellis said.
The Thai capital joins Singapore, Shanghai, Seoul, Hong Kong, Kyoto and Osaka, and Tokyo as Asian food hubs deemed worthy of the French tire companys famed red guide, first released for motorists in 1900.
Cuisine: Thai Bo.Lan: one Michelin star
The chef-owners Duangporn Songvisava and Dylan Jones grow their own vegetables and serve them in a renovated Thai house that hopes to have a zero-carbon footprint by 2018. All dishes, which change quarterly but have included local favourites such as panang curry and spicy wing bean salad, are served at the same time.
Nahm: one Michelin starCuisine: Thai
Located in the Como Metropolitan hotel, Nahm is a Thai restaurant run by the Australian-born chef David Thompson. The dishes are authentic and do not shy away from the heavy doses of fresh chilli loved by Thais. Michelin said the flavours are intense yet perfectly balanced. Thompsons London branch of Nahm was the first restaurant in the world to receive a Michelin star for cooking Thai food.
Suhring: one Michelin starCuisine: contemporary German
Run by the twin chefs Thomas and Mathias Suhring, the first German fine-dining restaurant in Bangkok gained quick recognition. Its 12-course tasting menu is filled with homely German flavours and includes multiple wine pairings.
Gaggan : two Michelin stars
Cuisine: progressive Indian
Owned by Gaggan Anand, this is one of the most well-known restaurants in Bangkok, winning first place in the prestigious Asias 50 best restaurants list two years in a row. Gaggan has been praised for his playful food and culinary wit, expressed in a 25-course tasting menu.