We both love Issan food. The herbs, the spice, the chilli ... oh the chilli! Of all the places we've been in Thailand, the Northeasten corner is one we've yet ventured to. We always say we're waiting for enough time, as we're certain we're going to love it and there'll be so much to see. We seem to do a pretty good job of finding Issan food along our travels, like this little gem in Samui.
We found this on our first trip to Samui, a couple of years ago. She moved to Samui and fell in love with the ocean. It works out quite well, as alot of the contractors building here migrate down from Northern Thailand, and all miss their food. She makes traditional Issan food for the locals, and I honestly think we were her first even farang customers those years back.
Our first visit to Issan Food, Lamai
This time the kitchen has swung around and got a bit bigger, still with the charcoal grill out the front. We order some nam on stick, fermented pork sausage. A bowl of fresh herbs and vegetables including Thai basil, cucumber, cabbage and snake beans is placed on the table along with some sticky rice. This is a damn fine nam!
We also get a grilled pork salad, that's tossed with a roasted chilli and lime dressing with some roast rice and corriander leaves.
The cucumber salad is a nice little play on the traditional som dtum style salad. Chilli, peanuts and dried shrimp are pounded in the mortar, lime juice, palm sugar, fish sauce and the cucumber is then added. It's all tossed together and is a refreshing explosion of flavours and textures.
I can never pass up the oppotunity of a soup when we visit Issan Food in Lamai. They always vary, depending on the herbs and vegetables that were at the market today. Today we have a beef & herb soup. Thin slices of beef are simmered with garlic, chilli, apple eggplants, a little cabbage and lots of dill. It's a heady, aromatic soup, with tons of flavour and loads of stuff.
Although we haven't physically made is up to Issan, we do often get the opportunity to be transported there by the food ....
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