Isan Soul Thai Street Food

Eat spicy northeastern Thai-style street food surrounded by colourful tuk-tuks at this CBD spot.
Julia Sansone
April 15, 2019


Whether you are on the search for a new dinner spot in the city or crave the bold, spicy flavours of authentic northern Thai cooking, Isan Soul offers a culinary and culture experience that temporarily transports you to the vibrant streets of Thailand.

Named after the country's northeastern region of Isan, this buzzing venue welcomes patrons with a visual feast of knick-knacks hanging from the ceiling, walls and nestled into shelves. Woven baskets, timber, vintage posters, gumball machines and colourful tuk-tuks have all been imported from Thailand to replicate the country's buzzing street food stalls.

"We went to old markets, museums and street vendors around Thailand to find and import everything you see here," said Isan Soul Manager Nas Prasertklinsakul. "Even the timber you see on the walls we recycled from an old school in Thailand."

The Thai objects don't stop at the decor either — order the kai yang (grilled chicken) and it'll arrive on bamboo skewers that have also been shipped over. Also on menu, crafted entirely by Head Chef Ben Kunchairattana, are som tum (papaya salad), red duck curry, wok-fried soft shell crab served in a creamy curry sauce and a range of crispy pork dishes made with tamarind, sugar and fish sauces.

Although the feel of the restaurant is distinctively Thai, the dishes draw their inspiration from across Southeast Asia.

"Many Isan provinces share borders with Laos and Cambodia, making our food different to the sweet Thai cuisine you'd know from areas like Bangkok," explains Prasertklinsakul. "Our dishes are often spicy, sour and served with sticky rice — which the region is known for."

These intense flavours are best paired with the restaurant's house-made Thai milk tea or butterfly pea tea, which is made from ternatea flowers and changes colour when you add a squeeze of lime.

Isan Soul looks complete — and full — but there is further expansion in the pipeline. Prasertklinsakul and the team plan to open the venue's third level upstairs, too, offering a variation of Thai-style hot-pot, and to start using their fully operational tuk-tuk downstairs as a bar for quick takeaway options at lunchtime.

Images: Julia Sansone.


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