Agree. Issan Station’s price point is so low that the food tends to get hyperbolized, IMHO. Luv2Eat-Crying Tiger is better
Low? It’s not any lower than other places as far as I can tell, it’s even a bit above other places like Ruen Pair as far as I can tell.
Having just eaten at Crying Tiger, though: yes. I LOVE the kai yang at Isaan Station, but across the board Crying Tiger is in a different league haha
If only they could do whatever they do to the kai yang to everything else on the menu…
Isaan Station doesn’t appear on any lists because at its core it’s street food. I’ve enjoyed literally every dish on this menu at street food cart in Ratchathewi (a predominantly Isaan neighborhood) in Bangkok.
The papaya salads are amongst the best in LA. The grilled chicken is transcendent and the tom saap is really good. That’s a hell of a meal there.
But there is a reason that the wife of the Thai consulate general in LA thinks Isaan Station is the best Thai spot in the city. It is identical to what can be found in Thailand.
Comparing IS to Luv2Eat is comparing apples to oranges. I enjoy both, but Luv2Eat’s best dishes are southern Thai (the fish and crab curries) and central Thai (the jade noodles.) Everything at Isaan Station is from the northeast.
It would be like comparing an LA hamburger to Texas barbecue. Sure, they are both American meat dishes. That’s about all they have in common.
Huh, perhaps Thai food is better in LA than Thailand then. Strange thought.
So they really serve stuff like pad se eew, seafood fried rice, golden wings, and green curry on the streets in Isaan sections of Thailand? I guess I always wondered what the origin of those kinds of dishes was.
Lol I shoulda made a note that nobody should ever order anything off the “Thai” section of the Isaan Station menu. That section of the menu is exclusively for Thai novices, and you’ve made a good point, those dishes ain’t on the streets in Ratchathewi.
With that being said, yes those dishes are everywhere on the street in Bangkok, just served more as comfort foods or even drunk foods. Especially something like pad see ew or fried rice. Wings are more bar snacks. Last time I had green curry in Thailand, it was randomly enough in a Muslim part of town… That dish is everywhere.
Is Thai food better in LA than in Thailand? At a low-cost entry level, sure. Ingredients are damn near identical but produce/ingredient quality is much higher. Can any LA spots compare to upscale BKK places like Issaya Siamese Club or Suppaniga, nah.
So other than the whole Thai section of the menu, and other than the three endlessly discussed dishes (tom saab, som dtum, and kai yang…maybe tack the honey toast on) what are the other recommended dishes? Everything else? I gotta say…I’ve really not found the other larbs, and grilled meats to be that great, very muted or muddled flavors compared to other LA Thai spots, and even compared to the three really great dishes at Isaan Station. Even their isaan sausage lacks the balance of places like Night + Market, Pailin, Ruen Pair. Even speaking of the som dtum, I am not sure it’s any better than Ruen Pair or Luv2Eat’s versions.
If Isaan Station is street food, what makes other places like Pailin, Ruen Pair, Luv2Et, Sapp, Night + Market, etc… non-street food? They all seem to serve a lot of the same dishes.
I am sure you’re right on the high-end since it is almost non-existent in LA lol You still have never been to EP/LP right? They seem to serve stuff similar to Suppaniga from the looks of it. Several Nahm vets in the kitchen there after all.
I guess by street food I imply to some extent the breadth of availability of a dish. Have not been to LP, though Suppaniga is serving a lot of Trat cuisine which is severely underrepresented in the LA area.
My point is that everything Isaan Station serves is exceedingly basic and commonplace. Like they serve larb, grilled chicken, papaya salad, and a few soups. That’s it. All of those dishes can be found everywhere in BKK or Isaan.
Whereas most of the other places you mentioned serve dishes that, sure, could be found on the street in perhaps their respective regions but would more likely be in more of a sit-down Thai restaurant rather than on a street.
Full disclosure, I haven’t been to Pailin and have only been to Ruen Pair once, so I can only judge based on their menus…
Isaan Station’s labs are not their standouts and while I think their papaya salads are among the best in the city, I do agree that they are rivaled by Ruen Pair (which I’ve had once) and Luv2Eat’s versions.
Basically go there for the chicken, papaya salads, and soups. Don’t expect too much more haha.
Ah…isn’t that what we said before? lol
Thinking about it though, it does seem wrong they are excluded from the lists when Sapp makes it on for basically having two good noodle dishes lol
It would be interesting for you to go to EP/LP someday. It’s crazy that you haven’t been to Pailin, or even more extensively to Ruen Pair though! damn!
Everything else i got was okay to pretty good, I’ve had better versions at luv2eat. Stick with the chicken, in fact get two orders of the chicken and some sticky rice.
I’m a big fan of the charcoal pork neck and really love their papaya salad at medium or spicy. They thicken the sauce more than other places with shrimp I think; makes for quite a spicy/delicious experience when you order it thai spicy.
Speaking of Luv2Eat–have you tried their Khao Soi? I never even tried it since I thought their specialties were focused on the islands, but I’ve been hearing raves about it of late.
The Khao Soi at Luv2eat is pretty solid but my gripe from luv2eat is the portion is very small portion esp at their 10+ price point. They don’t serve it in their norma noodle soup bowl but the metal bowl they serve their fish and crab curry in. I swear I had about 7 spoonfuls of soup in my khao soi. I would recommend sticking to the board favorites like crab curry, jade noodles etc.
I would recommend the khao soi at spicy bbq and pailin. Both have great flavor and good portions for their price point. Sad that Pailin raised their price about a 1.50 recently tho
I haven’t tried the khao soi at luv2eat, my favorite is at pailin. Have you tried the moo ping at luv2eat? I liked it more than the isaan station pork neck.
And i agree the portions at luv2eat are getting smaller, isaan station does have them beat in that regard.
I have had the moo ping and agree it is better than the pork neck. But it is a different flavor profile to me. It is kind of amazing how perfectly they cook those pork skewers.
Re portions, I have noticed the same thing. Recently my order of jade noodles was alarmingly small.
wow, that’s startling.
Wow, real bummer about Luv2Eat. Maybe they’re trying to improve their margins, but that’s really unfortunate about how much the portion sizes have shrunk.
It is not a true khao soi. It’s kind of tasty in its own way, but it didn’t seem spiced like a typical khao soi at all. It had a much thicker curry than any other version I’ve had, was super heavy on something like cinnamon, more like Singaporean curry or something.
I wrote about it here, but maybe they’ve changed it up:
thanks for the reminder, I gotta check this place out next time I’m at Wanderlust.
Wait, did they open a 2nd location? https://www.yelp.com/biz/tel-aviv-grill-los-angeles-3