A street food restaurant run by a 70-year-old Thai woman has won a Michelin star.
Raan Jay Fai is the world's third "street food" restaurant to win a star, following Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle and Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle in Singapore, stalls that won a star each when the first Singapore Michelin Guide was published last year.
Bangkok winner Jay Fai runs a tiny shophouse restaurant in the Banglamphu district of Bangkok.
Filled with dilapidated colonial buildings and river canals stemming from the mighty Chao Praya, the area also houses other popular local eateries such as Thipsamai, Krua Apsorn and Chote Chitre.
A few hundred metres northwest you'll step into seedy district of backpacker hedonism that is Khao San, which threatens to unfurl into the charming district with each passing year, adding modern hostels and cafes to its rustic alleys.
Open from 3pm until 2am every day except Sunday, Jay Fai dons ruby-coloured lipstick and goggles to protect her eyes from the splashes of hot oil from the three huge pans over wood fires that she helms, with only one other person at her side, plus two other women seating customers and taking orders.
Each of the dishes ordered is cooked one at a time by her, to perfection, with a method that that produces noodle dishes that are not greasy or loaded with MSG for flavour.
Jay Fai was one of 17 restaurants awarded with a Michelin star, only seven out of which serve Thai food – a list which includes Nahm, run by Australian chef David Thompson.
The two dishes people queue here for daily are the crab omelette and drunken noodles.
It's on a Saturday afternoon I visit Jay Fai at around 4pm, an hour after opening, and already the shop is surrounded in people waiting to get in.
I'm on my own and one of the girls takes pity on me taking two hours to cross town getting here and offers me a table at 6pm. I get in around 5.50pm and am seated on a table with a French tourist, who has been waiting two hours for food.
Another table of four French tourists have been waiting as long, and the Singha beer bottles on their table are starting to add up.
There's not a single table in the house that has food. A lot of food is being made, and taken away by customers, but no listing can be found on popular app UberEats, despite locals coming and going with takeaway bags.
It's just after 7pm when an omelette arrives in front of my tablemate, three hours after arriving, and mine arrives shortly after – at a wait of around one hour and 20 minutes.
The omelette – a smaller version at 800 baht ($32) – is crispy on the outside, and filled with sweet crab meat, served with a side of sriracha and a sprig of parsley. It's worth the wait of an hour, but three? My French friend seems to think so. All five French visitors were determined to wait it out, however long it took.
The drunken noodles are chewy with a delicate smokey flavour and a spicy kick, and served with crispy vegetables and large prawns. This is good, but less impressive, and comes with the same hefty price tag of 800 baht.
When I depart, Jay Fai clasps her hands together and says "khob khun kaa", which is Thai for thank you. The girl working alongside her asked me anxiously if everything was OK.
While staff at the little shopfront restaurant are used to the queues, things are only going to get worse for the little restaurant as tourists rush to see what the fuss is about – particularly since Jay Fai has told press she does not intend passing on her cooking secrets to her daughters.
Launching in Bangkok last week, the guide is the seventh in Asia for Michelin, who plan to include guides to Chiang Mai, Hua Hin and Phuket.
For true Thai hospitality in luxe surrounds, 137 Pillars and Suites, Bangkok; 137pillarsbangkok.com
Thai Airways fly from Melbourne and Sydney daily, thaiairways.com.au
Bangkok's Michelin stars
Gaggan (progressive Indian) Le Normandie (French) Mezzaluna (European)
Chim by Siam Wisdom (Thai)
Bo. lan (Thai)
Saneh Jaan (Thai)
Sra Bua by KiinKiin (Thai)
Jay Fai (Thai)
Ginza Sushi ichi (Japanese sushi)
Sühring (contemporary German)
L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon (contemporary French)
J'AIME by Jean Michel Lorrain (contemporary French)
Elements (contemporary French)
Savelberg (contemporary French)
Upstairs at Mikkeller (progressive American)
The writer travelled as a guest of Thai Airways.
See also: Seven dishes you must try in Bangkok