Food & Drink

VIDEO: Jay Fai Shares the Recipes for Her Famous Crab Omelette and Drunken Noodles

The most famous name in Bangkok street food and holder of a Michelin star since the guide came to Thailand, Jay Fai let us into her kitchen for a private lesson. Here, she shares her recipe for the dish that made her famous, the crab omelette, and teaches us to make our editor’s fave drunken seafood noodles.

By Jeninne Lee-St. John

Oct 25, 2021

SUPINYA ‘JAY FAI’ JUNSUTA has been cooking in a nondescript open-air shophouse for 40 years but it’s only in the past half-dozen that she’s become an international rockstar. In a way it was bound to happen: she’s got those signature black goggles, her signature beauty mark (the Thai word for which is where she derives her nickname, “Sister Mole”), and a signature dish — the big ol’ crab omelette that long before she went global was the source of endless debate among Bangkokians as to whether it was worth the Bt1,000 (US$30) price tag. (It is.)

A Michelin star, a couple of Netflix shows and the 2021 Icon Award from Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants later, Raan Jay Fai has stayed open through Covid, doing brisk business in takeaway, much to the delight of loyal locals, who haven’t had to brave the tourist hoards to get a table for breakfast. (T+L Tip: When you do make it back to Bangkok, make a booking, guys.) This seventysomething phenom still cooks every single dish herself, outside, in front of a boiling wok, over two live fires. It remains magic to watch.

Yep, she’s got an assistant ferrying ingredients, and another one whose sole job is to stoke the charcoal and keep those flames alive. But Jay Fai does the cooking alone because like all great chefs, she’s a perfectionist. Which is why she only buys the highest caliber (and largest size!) seafood, including those crazy crab knuckles, the gigantor likes of which I never would have imagined even existed in the States (and I grew up on Maryland crab cakes), let alone be able to eat by the handful — or maybe I should say rugby-ball-sized omelette-ful.

Crab features in both of the recipes she’s shared exclusively with us at Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia. The drunken noodles with seafood are a bit spicy, packed with umami, and meant to be shared but, really…  get your own plate. The crab omelette, well, we suspect it might take some trial and error to perfect this at home, but as you’ll see in the video, that’s the way Jay Fai says she learned to cook. She also told me, “It’s not that big!” — so don’t believe everything this culinary legend says.

RECIPES:

1. Phad Kee Mao Talay by Jay Fai
Drunken noodles with seafood

Ingredients

Soy sauce (Kikoman preferred): 5 dashes
Oyster sauce: 3 dashes
Homemade chili paste: 1 spoonful (see recipe below)
Raw brown sugar (crystal form, not soft): Half a spoonful
Thai basil: A loose handful
Spur chilies (red): 1 or 2

Fresh squid: 1 piece
Cuttlefish soaked in water for 12 hours: 1 piece
Jumbo prawns: 2
Crab knuckle: 3 large ones, bought pre-steamed 

Flat wide rice noodles, steamed: 1 handful

Optional
A few pieces each of:
Carrots, roughly sliced into half-finger size
Baby corn, diagonally sliced in half
Long beans, or green beans, ends removed
King trumpet mushrooms, sliced diagonally

Chili Paste
Pound the below together with mortar and pestle:

  • Whole garlic cloves, peeled: 3
  • Bird’s eye chilies (green): Half a spoonful
  • Jinda chilies (red): Half a spoonful
  • Thai yellow chilies (orange): Half a spoonful
  • Shrimp paste: Optional but if you use, only use a little bit
  • Salt: A little bit

* By “spoonful,” Jay Fai means Chinese-style soup spoons.

Method

  • Score the cuttlefish and soak in water for 12 hours
  • Peel and devein the prawns
  • Slice the red spur chili diagonally and set aside
  • Steam the noodles and set aside in colander
  • Heat a little oil in wok and flash-fry the prawns
  • When they’ve turned slightly pink, add the fresh squid, the cuttlefish and all the vegetables at the same time
  • Always keep stirring
  • Add soy sauce, oyster sauce, chili paste and sugar
  • Keep stirring to distribute the flavors
  • Toss in the noodles
  • Keep stirring so the noodles don’t clump
  • Add the crab knuckles
  • Just before everything is done cooking, add a handful of Thai basil
  • After plating the drunken noodles, take a spoonful of the raw sliced spur chiles and add as garnish

2. Jay Fai’s Famous Kai Jeaw Poo
Crab Omelette

Ingredients

2 large fresh eggs
150 grams of crab knuckles, bought pre-steamed
Oil
Two spatulas
Wok

crab omelette jay fai

Method

  • Beat 2 eggs well. Set 1/4 of the beaten eggs aside
  • Buy pre-steamed crab knuckles (even Jay Fai doesn’t steam it herself!) and add to the eggs
  • Fill your wok 1/3 high with oil, and heat to at least 180°C
  • Gently pour the egg-crab mixture into the oil into a bowl shape. Should bubble up immediately
  • Transfer to low heat
  • Use your spatula to cover with oil and spin to cook the inside
  • Transfer back to high heat
  • Hold one spatula against the edge of the wok facing you, wedge the omelette up against it and fold over the opposite edge using the other spatula 
  • Pour over some of the remaining egg to seal the top
  • Roll the omelette around and around in the oil
  • Pour egg into any cracks you see. This keeps the oil out
  • Keep rolling. Keep rolling
  • Jay Fai can tell the crab omelette is done by patting the top. If it’s firm and the outside is golden brown, you’re good to go!

If you enjoyed these drunken noodles (phad kee mao) and crab omelette (kai jeaw poo) recipes from Jay Fai, check out the rest of our Michelin Masters series.

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