September 2, 2023

Bangkok incognito day 2: Jay Fai size

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After a poor night's sleep as a result of over-caffeinating myself, for once this morning I needed caffeine more than Foursheets did. Fortunately good coffee was just around the corner, and we found ourselves back at PAGA Microroastery. Got myself a cold brew and properly caffeinated again.

You'd think that, with the huge dinner we had last night, and with out lunch starting slightly early, that I would skip breakfast altogether. But I was a little curious about the Holey Artisan Bakery, so I walked in and, after surveying the goodies, bought myself a simple croissant. This was decent, but nothing to write home about.

Taking the traffic situation into consideration, we set off for Raan Jay Fai (ร้านเจ๊ไฟ) early. The last time all of us got to eat here was back in February 2017, when there were still very few customers at night. Since then the business has exploded thanks to the place receiving a Michelin star - which instantly catapulted Sister Mole to the world stage - followed by the feature on Netflix. By the time we tried to go back in December 2018, the lines were impossibly long.

So we are grateful to have a booking for lunch today without having to line up for hours. Jay Fai is still standing over one of the cooking stations, while someone else is now also doing the cooking. Filming videos of the boss cooking, or selfies with her, are now not permitted. I do think that's necessary nowadays, given the heavy workload she now goes through daily.

For me, a meal here has to start with some orange juice (น้ำส้มคั้น). I loooove these Thai tangerines (ส้มเขียวหวาน) with the green peel, as the flavors are just so... elegant with that wonderful fragrance.

Crab meat omelet (ไข่เจียวปู) - price is now THB 1,400. No surprise as prices are higher in line with inflation and increased demand. In fact, we have been told separately that demand for large chunks of crab meat - now known as "Jay Fai size" - have shot up and prices have moved accordingly.

I'm happy to say, though, that it tasted the same as I had remembered. It's clear that the boss is still the one making sure these are cooked properly. Just look at how much sweet crab meat is packed inside!

Drunken noodles with mixed seafood (ผัดขี้เมารทะเล) - the portion of the noodles got smaller but the flavors seemed OK. The problem was that the giant prawn - which had obviously been pre-cooked and thrown in the wok during the finishing stages - didn't seem to have much flavor, unlike the noodles and vegetables.

Rice noodles in traditional tom-yum soup with prawn (ก๋วยเตี๋ยวน้ำต้มยำกุ้ง) - I guess it made sense that Foursheets would order some tom yum (ต้มยำ) while we're in Thailand. Despite not being a big fan, I'm kinda glad she did. This was the only dish where the giant prawns actually took on some flavors, thanks to being soaked in the soup.

Dry congee with prawn (โจ๊กแห้งกุ้ง) - I really do love this dry congee, and the flavors - especially that white pepper - were pretty intense. Unfortunately the prawns, once again, were bland.

I was happy to have been back, and while I was really happy for Jay Fai and her family that their business is now much busier than before, the quality of the product has clearly suffered as demand went up. I'm grateful to have tasted that iconic crab omelet one more time.

Foursheets really needed a massage and it's been just about a decade since I last had one in Thailand, so we headed to FootMaster just down the street from our hotel. It was clear that I badly needed a massage, too...

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