Experiences - Australia

Introduction to Isaan Cuisine Plus 5 Isaan Restaurants in Australia

So you know your pad Thai from your penang curry, but are you familiar with the fiery flavours of Isaan? Hailing from North East Thailand, this land-locked region is famed for its zesty salads, flame-grilled meats, glutinous sticky rice and coconut-free curries.

Chances are you’ve been enjoying Isaan cuisine for years without even realising. Signature dishes include som tum (green papaya salad), gai yang (barbecued chicken), sticky rice, and tangy larb (minced meat tossed with lime
juice, herbs and ground rice).

The traditional way to eat an Isaan meal is to take a ball of sticky rice with your fingers, then use it to scoop up the accompanying salads and curries.

Five Isaan restaurants to try

House, Sydney

An alfresco eating house from the team behind Spice I Am, House showcases the punchy flavours of Isaan in dishes such as smoky gai yang and yum woon sen, a tangy noodle salad.

house sydney

Image courtesy: Zomato

Cookie, Melbourne

This lively beer hall and pan-Asian eatery transforms into a club after midnight, but before the DJ steps in, dine on plates of tangy sai krok (fermented pork sausage), or Isaan pumpkin, spinach and tofu soup at Cookie, just some of the surprisingly authentic Isaan dishes found on the fusion menu.

cookie melbourne

Image courtesy: Zomato

Thai Esarn Restaurant, Perth

This popular Perth eatery, Thai Esarn offers crowd-pleasing Thai classics plus signature Isaan fare, such as som tum with crab, chicken larb and sticky rice.

thai esarn perth


Image courtesy: Zomato

Zab Isan Thai, Burleigh Heads

On the Gold Coast, sample the traditional dishes of the the North East in specialties such as duck larb and king prawns with green papaya salad at Zab Isan Thai.

Isaan Village, Adelaide

In the South Australian capital, seek out the spice of Isaan at Isaan Village, home to plump pork sausages and vibrant Thai salads.

isaan village

Image courtesy: Facebook official page

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