Hailing from Thailand’s northeastern region, fiery, flavoursome Isaan food has long tantalised tastebuds at food stalls around Bangkok. In recent years a slew of eateries have brought the cuisine to the mainstream – here the best restaurants with air con to get your spice fix.
Founded by foodies with foresight Thanaruek Laoraovirodge and Tatchai Nakapan, Supanniga Eating Room on Thonglor was one of the first to serve the food from the northeast in modern, fashionable surrounds. The fresh and kickin’ home-cooked eastern and Issan dishes such as grilled pork with sticky rice and spicy crab salad are just like khun yai (grandma) used to make. For a sense of occasion, bob along the Chao Phraya River as you sample set seasonal menus and craft cocktails on on the chic Supanniga Cruise.
Join the after-work crowd at Supanniga’s sibling Sala Daeng shophouse for spiced plates and a relaxed vibe. Focusing on northern Isaan cuisine, Chef Korn’s team prepares tasty delights like grilled coconut milk marinated pork skewers and zesty Thai prawn sashimi salad. The contemporary fit out – all bright reds and burnt oranges – match the fiery menu.
If you’re hankering for more of a street-food experience, without actually eating on the street, this simple cafe on the GF of Siam Paragon is the go-to. Serving delish comfort dishes like sweet corn fritters, sizzling deep-fried pork and grilled squid, it’s a perfectly positioned mid-retail flop spot.
Som Tam Nua
Expect queues out the door at this buzzing Siam Square stalwart; its flavoursome, real-deal Isaan fare is considered among the best in BKK. The eatery takes its name from Isaan’s most famous dish, _ papaya salad – and you’ll find several renditions of it on the menu alongside succulent fried chicken, grilled pork cheek and fish. The hip fitout and casual seating create a lively street-mos; check out the surrounding shops for upcoming designers and vintage finds for afters.
Supanniga Eating Room / 160/11 Soi Sukhumvit 55 / Between Thong Lor 6 and 8 / +66 2 714 7508 / lunch & dinner daily / www.supannigaeatingroom.com
Supanniga Cruise / 23 Soi Charoen Krung 24 (Rong Namkhaeng 1) / Talat Noi / Samphanthawong / +66 97 238 8284 / 4.45pm-5.45pm & 6.15pm-8.30pm daily / www.supannigacruise.com
Somtum Der / 5/5 Saladaeng Rd / Khwaeng Silom / +66 2 632 4499 / lunch & dinner daily / second branch on Thonglor / www.somtumder.com
Cafe Chilli / GF / Siam Paragon / 991/1 Rama I Rd / Khwaeng Pathum Wa / +66 2 129 4761 / 11am-10pm daily
Som Tam Nua / 92/14 Siam Square Soi 5 / Khwaeng Pathum Wan / +66 2 251 4880 / 10.45am-10pm daily