Isaan food is an interesting blend of flavours of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The ingredients used in Isaan dishes have much in common with Lao cuisine but are generally quite different from the food prepared in central Thailand. However the recent developments have ensured the introduction of influences of other cuisines but on the whole, food here represents a distinctive taste and flavour. Isaan offers a good selection of quality choices for dining. Listed here are some of the restaurants you can check out for good food and good service.
(49/3 Phichit Rangsan Rd., Nai Muang, Ubon Ratchathani, 34000)
Though a fusion restaurant, Jumpa-Hom expands upon its own regional culinary traditions. Set in the midst of an urban jungle full of palms, lanterns, and flowing fountains, the restaurant is a great place to try such Thai-Chinese creations as "noodle envelopes stuffed with Chinese sausage and served in a sweet soy sauce. The other speciality is white deep-sea tiger prawns baked in a casserole with woon sen (glass noodles) and tender whole garlic cloves.
(170 Moo 2, Mittraphap Rd., Korat)
The steakhouse has its share of American pretensions. Located near a cattle ranch, it was started by an American nicknamed the "Little Cowboy." The meat is provided by the cattle ranch. The restaurant is one of the budget-busting spots in Bangkok that also imports its meat from Australia.
(101/3 Khao Yai Rd., Korat)
The casual, open-air restaurant is very popular with the locals and tourists. The main attraction is the grilled snakehead fish, which comes fresh out of the tanks and is then salted, skewered, and grilled over an open fire. You can also try the deep-fried, ground snakehead fish with a spicy salad and the pork leg with red gravy.
(766 Soonthornvijit Rd., Nakhon Phanom)
This is amongst the best restaurants in Nakhon Phanom, along the Mekong, Satang. The two-storey, open-air space is a great place to enjoy pla tub tim look tao yum ma muang which is basically a deep-fried white fish with spicy salad of green mango, peanut, red onion, and red chili.
(Rop Bueng Kaen Nakhorn Rd., Khon Kaen)
This massive, open-plan lakeside restaurant, set on the northern end of Lake Bueng Kaen Nakhon, actually extends out into the water. It is by far the biggest in the city. The menu is an interesting fusion of Isaan, Thai, and Chinese influences. A specialty worth trying is the tom yam mapow orn (prawns with coconut palm heart in a spicy hot-and-sour soup).