Isarn Food

Phuket Tourist Information Guide

Read Introduction

Before coming to Thailand, you’ve probably eaten Thai food in your home country. We all have – right? That’s part of the reason we’re here to begin with. Thailand’s food is delicious and there are so many options, including Isarn food, that it is one of the most appreciated cuisine on the planet.

Isarn food in Phuket is highly sought after because many Thais living in Phuket are from Isarn (Disambiguation: Isaan; Isan; Esarn; Esan). Isarn is located in the Northeast section of Thailand, including the provinces of Nong Khai, Khon Kaen, Ubon Ratchathani, Sisaket, Yasothon and Nakhon Ratchasima; generally speaking, it is everything east and northeast of Bangkok.

Isarn food is known for being spicy and bitter more so than sweet, sour or salty – like Thai food is in provinces like Chiang Mai in the north or Krabi and Satun in the south. Living in Isarn for over a year, we found that the emphasis was on clean and healthy food – especially a wide range of vegetables in soups and salads. There is always a plate of vegetables served with your Isarn meal in the northeast. Long green beans, yellow and white cabbage, cucumber slices and bitter green balls are almost always part of an authentic Isarn meal.

Of course what Isarn is most well known for is its som tam (somtam)! Som tam is a spicy salad made of shredded unripe papaya, chilies, tomatoes, garlic, palm sugar, salt, tiny dried shrimp, shredded carrot, peanuts and usually fermented fish (bla rah) or crab (bpoo bla rah). There are different styles such as som tam Thai and som tam Laos. It is the national dish of Thailand, with nearly all Thais enjoying some version of it a few to a dozens of times per month!

The best Isarn food in Phuket can be found in either restaurants like One-O-One in Nai Yarn and Je’ Mhee in Phuket Town (Chalang) or at roadside street food stalls selling som tam made on the fly to take-away or eat at a fold-out metal table and plastic chair by the road.

If you haven’t specifically tried Isarn food in Thailand, make a point of trying it during this trip! You might also become addicted to som tam, like most people who visit!

* As you can see we have only one location on this page at the moment. We are sorry for the inconvenience and assure you that we will list more as soon as we have done our research on availability and quality. *

Read Less