Pad thai at Thip Samai restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand. Thip Samai’s menu consists of eight types of pad thai. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
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With its fluorescent bulbs and cafeteria-style tables, the Bangkok restaurant Raan Jay Fai wouldn't win any awards for interior decorating.After a visit and memorable meal, the decor guru called the restaurant's 70-year-old owner and sole chef – who is named Jay Fai – "the best cook in Thailand".Other favorites are Jay Fai's rad na, an unspicy cousin of pad kee mao, and her $25 crab omelet – which is packed with half a kilogram of fresh crab chunks and wrapped in a delicate egg binding.Noodle dishes at Raan Jay Fai (raan simply means restaurant) cost about $12 a plate, compared to roughly a dollar at most roadside venues.For a cheaper option, Jay Fai's neighbor down the street is Thip Samai, a noodle joint touted to have the best pad thai in Bangkok.
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