Food or Urban mythology? – Jay Fai – Bangkok

As we peacefully observe the $ 32 crab omelet that was served by blue waitress in blue rubber boots in a one Michelin starred restaurant in Bangkok, a rat rushes through the restaurant’s terrace. We’re just a little surprised, but we think maybe it’s a trained one and this is part of the show.

First impression

Fay Jai what translates to Aunt Mole is a one starred restaurant in the 2018 Michelin guide, first published in Thailand. I am wondering what the otherwise rigorous Michelin inspectors felt here who are accustomed to luxury food and setting while waiting for their salad? I guess you could see the fear on their faces and they might have prayed silently not to get diarrhea here or wishing not to go to the toilet. The toilet is not up to high standards here.  But this is not uncommon for street food restaurants in Bangkok. What is uncommon that they get a Michelin star. Jay Fai is one of the hundreds of thousands of Bangkok street food places but the only one to have a star.

Kitchen in the street

If you walk by the place and you do not know it is famous, you will not notice anything special, it does not stand out of the rest. It’s a bad looking, crunchy place, a place that would be closed by an ordinary western food safety inspector without hesitation. Dish washing is done on the sidewalk, in large pots, without running water. They storing food next to it, also on the street. The cast iron stoves they use for cooking are also on the street in the corner of the restaurant so everyone can see it because it’s the attraction here. It’s kind of dirty show kitchen style.

Dish washing

Food storage

The first major difference you realize if you get in is the price. While an average street food stand can serve a meal for 1 USD here is a salad is 15 and the main attraction the crab omelet is 32 USD. That the average price for a one starred restaurant in Europe.

How is it possible that a ravaged street restaurant with rats running on its terrace will gain world renown and Western gourmet tourists will not miss out a visit if they come to Bangkok. Jay Fai became mythical. It has become part of urban mythology of Bangkok, although it has no web site, no booking system, no logo, no uniforms, they use the cheapest kitchenware, the menus are crumpled in greasy plastic bunks on the table, and the waiters don’t speak English. It has a single phone number that no one ever answers, though it is rigorously written in several places. There is no sales, no marketing strategy, and no image elements. Except for Jay Fai the chef.

The uniform shoes

You can have a table in the restaurant in two ways. You come in the morning, signing up for the day’s list, which is not for a certain time, just for the queue. You wait four to six hours and you immediately get a table and you wait one more and get food. The other way is that you sign up for another day for a certain time. Generally, in 5 to 10 days. We got a table for next week at 10 o’clock in the evening.

The famous omlett

Shrimp salad

You have to choose food in advance, but as they have a certain amount of raw material a day, you may not have what you wanted. This is what happened to us. And despite the reservation time we had to wait an hour to get food. During waiting time you just sit and stare at the show and the rats that I’ve mentioned. No wine list, just hot beer, water and soft drinks at a price like in the most expensive luxury restaurants.

The eggs scrambled in this dish for the famous omlett

The cooler

The show, however, is fantastic, most of the western guest are really surprised and they look at it like watching aliens. Jay Fai, the old Chinese aunt with a mole on her face (where the name comes from), really looks strange and unique. She is in purple heat-resistant boots, wearing pilot goggles, standing in front of the open fire like a weird Greek god. The fire is made with coal, which most Western tourists probably never seen before. The temperature is controlled by a fan. When she wants more heat she turns it and off when needs less. All the pots that they use are unbelievably dirty compared to western restaurants standards. There is no cooler, fresh crabs and other ingredients are kept in a glass cabinet or in a polystyrene box. All this in the middle of the restaurant right in front of your nose.

The fan to control the heat

Those who come for the Michelin star and the food can easily be disappointed. The public of the average starred restaurant, where not only food, but also exterior atmosphere, service presentation matter, will be shocked. This is seen in the comments of various forums. The 5 hours wait, the $ 32 price of the omelet, the quality of service the dirt makes many disappointed. And if we want to be frank they have a point. The food is, of course good and fresh, as the most devoted believers can bring it as a single argument, but in an omelet that has nothing but spice eggs and crab, not much can be spoiled. The place is full of canned things, just like you see in the 1 USD street food spots, they do not make sauces based on special recipe cooked for 3 days. They use what everybody uses in Asia. Here, you have to come for the myth, and if you do, you will get what you wanted. You get good food and a great experience, a show that you can tell at home. People then envy you and look at you as a person who is brave enough to go for special experiences.

Jay Fai is not famous because of the Michelin. She got the star because she was famous. European gastro celebrities had been visiting here.

These are the ingredients used

They regularly came to cook together Jay Fai, featured shows and written about it. Michelin just put the seal of the gastro-church onto the myth. Myth is the aunt. Who has been pushing the show for thirty years with the same enthusiasm, a job that most of us would not have for a day.

I suggest you visit her because it is a special experience. Come for that not for the food and you will not regret it.

The bill for 4 person

Fine food turns into fine art – Madonnina del Pescatore – Senigallia



Few of us go often to such a restaurant like Madonnina del Pescatore. And it is not only because of the cost. Mainly because there are not so many of this quality and most of the time you have to travel for it. This one worth a trip if you are on the Adriatic coast of Italy. We visited last year at a lucky off season time when it is not busy. The town Senigallia is not so well known among foreign tourist. It is elegant Italian seaside much different than Rimini which is just a stone trow away. It is shown by the fact that there are two restaurants with two Michelin star here. We choose this one to visit it seemed fitting more to our taste.

Colors and lighting creates warm atmosfere

It is very elegant in every aspect. Interior design, table-ware, furniture are all superb. Such as the food.

Looks like an abstract painting with this unusual green

The chef Moreno Cedroni had one star for ages and 2 Michelin star for more than 10 years. For two stars you do not just have to make good food you have to make a creative and unique one. In this case you can use the term artistic. You can feel that the chef considers himself more of an artist who makes edible art than someone who gives you food to eat. His dishes look like art pieces culinary joys enclosed inside. This functional art fulfills its duty when you eat them. Just look at the speciel abstract like usage of colors in his masterpieces. Like this one here with the unusual green. I am sorry for the photo quality but it gives you back something of it. That time he used different kind of mayonnaise which is quite rear in Italian kitchen.

Risiko one of their attraction. Tastes from around the world

There was another dish where fish was swimming in green sea. We ate the 8 course menu „Vicino alla tradizione” and of course the main focus is on fish but had a beef like dish which was fish too it was amazing.
One of their attraction comes at the end of the dinner. It is the Risiko which originally a strategy war game. They using its map to show different taste of the world as petit four. Very creative and tasty too.
Mr Cedroni leads not a simple kitchen. Which has a lot of risks. Complicated kitchens can be tiring but here they keep all your senses awake during the whole time. You can enjoy yourself.

Feels good to sit at a table like this

I have to mention the wines. In most of these fine dining places they selling way too expensive wines which makes the bill even heavier. In Marche this is different. Marche wines are very well priced and you can have high quality for reasonable price. Of course here they have wide range of carefully selected local wines for good price. All together what you get here for your money is really worth it. Many two starred restaurants are way too overpriced compared to this one. See it for yourself.

The perfect beef like tuna
Octopus with mayonnaise


Lasagna with frutti di mare – It is swimming in green sea
Tartufo nero
„Simply” a coffee


Ferry tale of two brothers and a golden fish (restaurant) – Gambero rosso – Marina Di Gioiosa Jonica – Calabria

Once upon a time there was a two Michelin start restaurant under the name of Gambero rosso in Tuscany by the sea. The scandalous chef Fulvio Pierangelini was so bored of his guest that stopped cooking. I had a chance to eat there and meet him. Besides the food it was not my experience of a lifetime. There is an other story more ferry tale like. There is an other Gambero Rosso in Italy far far away from the other a little bit further than the end of the world. The father and the mother founded the restaurant and when his two sons grew up they went to get to know the world to learn. After learning they came back and they started to run Gambero rosso. They might have met the golden fish one day because their dream came though. They made with passion and dedication a one Michelin star restaurant at the end of the world.
Not many foreigner go to the Calabrian part of the Ionian sea. It is the sea between the toe cap and heel of the Italian boot. Although is very nice and the Puglia part is busier this side you can call empty. Not many hotels mostly Italian tourist and they using apartments. The beach in most places are covered with stone not sand. Large calm empty waters with endless sea. Relaxing but some might call it boring.

This is the beach of Hotel Miramare

Marina Di Gioiosa Jonica is not a busy touristic center. You have only two hotels.The one which is near the center does not have the top floor finished. Prices low. 120 EURO in high season for four people for a suite. You wondering how a one Michelin star restaurant makes a living here? One which is open all year long. But they do. Due to local demand even winter time they have guests. Surely to start a business like this money is not a motivation. They need to have a lot of passion for quality and gastronomy to start such a place here. Two brothers make it with passion you can feel it if you go there. One of them is the chef and the other dealing with the guest. Just as it must be in Italian gastronomy fairy tales. Gambero rosso is obligatory if you are in Calabria. It is worth coming here from around Tropea and stay for the night. They specialized on fish and they buy the ingredients from local fisherman. Its not always the easiest but they manage. They have a huge and exiting wine cellar and collection. Have a look there it is under the restaurant. Visited twice one with children and I can tell you it was fun for them too. 

The bear is having fun too

Our daughter’s Teddy bear had to eat with us but the chair was too large for her so the waiter offered a big pillow to the bear. 
They make their own bottarga (salted cured fish roe) which they use often. If there are not many guest you can ask them for a tasting of it on its own. Their crudo (raw plate) is an attraction with scampi. 
The two brothers creating a kitchen far away from tourism from trendy places but their place itself make trends. If you around just go there and will not regret it. Even though the other Gambero rosso in Tuscany had 2 Michelin star we liked this kitchen more.

Welcome bite
This is not fish wellcome bite
Crudo (raw) plate with scampi
And the pasta
And some more with bottarga on the top


And some more bottarga


More fish


Italian favorite deep fried plate







L’Approdo – Calabria – The treasure is inside

Even though the sea is warmer the beaches are not crowded and prices are lower Calabria is not such a hot destination like Tuscany. It is far away and much less to good restaurants to find. But there are some good ones which you have to visit if you go there. One of them is L’Approdo in Vibo Valentina Marina. The place is not an attractive one. There is not much reason to go there but the restaurant. The outlook not promising much but this place had a Michelin star for ages and there is a reason for it. (The interior design is very gorgeous but I do not have a picture. Find it here: We visited twice with 12 years difference. At the first visit it was the only Michelin starred restaurant in Calabria. The quality have not changed or just got better. We even found the same waiter there. What is fantastic about Italy than even a small place like Vibo Valentina can have gourmet restaurant like this. Local demand for quality is the motivation behind these restaurant not tourism. This time we had lunch with kids and everybody was satisfied. I love that even simple children food is so good in these restaurants we are rushing for the leftovers.
This is for the children Gnocci gourmet style.
Best way to eat in this restaurant if you visit Pizzo in the afternoon and have lunch here before. Pizzo is a spectacular town claiming they invented Tartufo the special ball like multi layer ice cream. Worth a visit and a taste. (Strangely you can bargain in the ice cream shops.)
L’Approdo is a place to explore some good Calabrian wines. Their wine list is very long and their cellar is impressive. Ask for looking at it. Taste a local malvasia which is very different here than in the north and Magliocco which is an indigenous grape and makes unique wine.
Very light octopus salad
And squid salad


Ravioli for the adults




Strozzapreti with shrimp


An amazingly done breaded squid, nothing you think of under this name




Petit fours






Guido – Rimini – The best food on any Adriatic beach

Guido restaurant is somewhat a miracle. It is located in (Miramare di) Rimini which is one of the busiest mass tourism site of east Italy. Mostly fun for families with small children. The streets are full of plastic beach toy shops and child amusement arcades. The last thing you expect here is a top class gourmet restaurant. But actually you have one and a very special one. It is located in the sand of the beach and probably this is the best beach restaurant of the several thousand kilometer long Adriatic cost. What is more the food is dedicated to the taste of the Adriatic. You might think very brave to say „the best”. Of course there are some better restaurants in the towns of the Adriatic cost but they are not located on the beach in the sand. It is actually rear to find a restaurant like this.
What else could it be than an old family restaurant. It gets the name of the grandfather of the two grandson Gianpaolo and Gianluca running the place. One of them is the chef the other giving the service.
Very few gourmet restaurant gives you this kind of feeling of freedom especially if you’re sitting on the terrace. Your children still can play in the sand and you can enjoy perfect food. If you are in the area Guido worth going there for lunch even with kids. They are crazy about different oysters, clams, muscles. It is a must to taste the red risotto. In other parts of Italy they do not really make risotto with tomato. It is the specialty of the house and the area. The rise is cooked in the liquid coming from the tomato. Do not mix it with fregula sarda, which rice looking pasta originally from Sardinia.
You can order anything you will not regret is. They have a perfect wine list fitting the light fish based menu.
Enjoy and have fun. Book a table for tomorrow lunch.
One of their well know welcome dish with dried fish and muscles


Small welcome fish bite


And the crudo (Raw plate) based on clams



Red risotto with fish on top
The jelly fish from outer space (do not eat it)


Artistic fritto misto (deep fried plate)


Tagliatelle of sepia. Pasta made out of squids.
Frightening looking fish.


That is what you see from the restaurant. The playground is 2 m away. 

The gourmet stopover near Venice and Udine – San Quirino – La Primula

There is no better place than La Primula for one night stopover in Venice-Udine region if you are longing for good priced gourmet food and cheap accommodation together. San Quirino is not an interesting little village. It is made interesting only by La Primula. It is a family run restaurant for 140 years and they have one Michelin star for ages. There is a small hotel upstairs and it makes the place perfect for those want to get a rest day in the north going for a longer trip next day especially those with kids. They have max 6 rooms so when the kids go to sleep you can still enjoy a glass of wine on the terrace.
La Primula is crazy for asparagus so if you go in the season late spring early summer you can have a full asparagus menu. 6 course only asparagus. Sound strange but enjoyable. Otherwise they have a wonderful fish menu and a land menu with meat. This is for a very good price. Two person can have a fantastic gourmet menu for under 100 EURO. The wine list is extremely good. They have over 600 wines on the list although they have less then 40 places. They always have several list. One for local wines, one for Italian and a special one for older wines. They are selling those on unbelievable prices just original shop price. I bought there some real treasures on a bargain price for take away.
Crazy for asparagus
And more


The lobster


Squid made like pasta
And shrimp to have all the zoo 🙂