You might not be able to locate Isaan easily on a world map, but on the plate, its flavors are hard to ignore.
The most recent addition to L.A.’s roster is Isaan Station, a late-night restaurant decked out with modernist furniture and a pumping Thai-pop soundtrack. The focus is on the region’s most prolific street foods: sai grok ($8), slices of fermented pork sausage packed with garlic, and mhu daad diew ($8), air-dried, deep-fried beef ribs served with a sticky-sweet sauce.
The crunchy green papaya salad, som dtum bhu mah ($8), hums with pickled blue crab and mouth-searing Thai chiles; it might be our new favorite version in town. We adored the tamarind punch of the pad thai ($8) and the vibrant dtub waan, a warm salad of pork liver mixed with lime juice and rice powder ($8).
Juicy charcoal-seared chicken wings ($8), brined in fish sauce, might not share the same finesse as Pok Pok’s elevated version, but they’re enough to make you understand why this dish, and this cuisine, is worth building an empire around.
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