Some Lesser Known Isaan Food Favourites

Following on from our last article on  Isaan Food Basics

Om Gai Baan

Firstly, a savoury soup traditionally made from Gai Baan or ‘Home Chicken’ actually a better translation is probaby Cockerel !

Om Kai Baan

Crushed chillies, garlic, onions, galangal and lemongrass with Pla Ra (details later) fish sauce, courgettes,rice gruel, spring onions,  dill, basil and kaffir leaves amongst other ingredients

“Om” is a kind of preparation , the meat and vegetables are braised in little liquid and seasoned with herbs. Instead of courgettes, other vegetable varieties can also be taken, for example: Bamboo shoots.


Kway Chap Graduk Moo

A  noodle soup popular throughout SE Asia, including Singapore. The people of Isaan make their own version that is very tasty – Moo means pork as you’ll probably know but the ‘moo’ in Kway Chap often includes different parts of a pig for flavouring!

Kway Chap Graduk Moo


Sup No Mai

Kind of an alternative to Som Tam (pappaya salad) but based on Bamboo Shoots! The bamboo shoots for this dish come is a bottle or jar that indicates bamboo shoots in/with bai yanang leaves. The shoots are partially shredded.

Sup No Mai

Naam Nueng

Delicious Vietnamese style meatballs wrapped in rice paper, served with garlic, onion and fresh herbs and vegetables for wrapping!

The food is known as Nam Nuong in Vietnamese. Traditionally this dish was served only in the palace.

“It was brought to Thailand by Vietnamese immigrants while they were moving to Thailand’s Mekong River provinces since the French colonial years, so it became to be a famous food in North eastern/ Isan region of Thailand, specifically Udon Thani until recently. Word has it that a group of Vietnamese descendents, who originally settled in Nong Khai, made famous naem nueng in Thailand when they opened a restaurant selling this specialty in neighboring Udon Thani.”

Naam Nueng


Pla Ra

If you haven’t seen Pla Ra you may have smelled it. It smells like spoiled fish. Maybe because it is! Well sort of, the fermented fish delicacy is an acquired taste but incredibly popular amongst the locals.

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