Discovering flavours of Isan


Kai jeaw poo, is crab omelette with 90 crab meat.

Kai jeaw poo, is crab omelette with 90 crab meat.

MENTION the word Thai food and most will think of spicy seafood tom yam or even fragrant green curry chicken which are always crowd-pleasers.

However, there are various types of Thai food from the different regions in Thailand, all tasting a little different than the other, although some may look quite similar.

At Go Thai in SS 2, Petaling Jaya, one gets the chance to try authentic street food from Isan, a region in the north-east of Thailand.

What makes this an authentic experience is that the cooks are from Isan.

This unassuming eatery is handsomely decorated with items from Thailand. Mirrors on one side of the wall give this place a roomier feel.

The three-year-old restaurant recently underwent a re-branding exercise and included more specialities from Isan on its menu.

Pad ki mao (left) is cooked with pepper to give it its spicy taste while pad mee Korat is differentiated by its sweet and spicy red coloured noodles. — Photos: DARRAN TAN/The Star
Pad ki mao (left) is cooked with pepper to give it its spicy taste while pad mee Korat is differentiated by its sweet and spicy red coloured noodles. — Photos: DARRAN TAN/The Star

Among highlights are two dishes inspired by a food seller in Bangkok who was awarded a Michelin-star for her wok-fried dishes.

The first is a thick and round crab omelette called kai jeaw poo.

“This is made out of 90% crab meat and two eggs. If you fly to Thailand to have it, be prepared to wait three to four hours as the line is really long,” said Go Thai business director Vin Wee.

Wee added that this dish was not easily found in the Klang Valley and was confident Go Thai’s version was similar to the original one.

Kao gaeng thod is deep-fried green curry rice balls.
Kao gaeng thod is deep-fried green curry rice balls.

We liked the fluffy and light texture despite the generous amount of crab meat in the dish.

The other star worthy dish is the pad ki mao, also known as drunken noodle.

Contrary to its name, no alcohol is used and it is just a term used in Thailand to describe the dish.

The stir-fried noodle resembles thick strips of kuey teow, cooked with seafood and herbs that are commonly used in Isan.

Phad Mee Korat, a red sauce version of the pad thai, from Korat Thailand.
Phad Mee Korat, a red sauce version of the pad thai, from Korat Thailand.

“The secret to this dish are the pepper pods which are really fragrant and expensive. The pepper pods are only available in Thailand. If omitted from the dish, the noodles will not taste the same,” he said.

When we bit into the pepper, we braced ourselves for the tongue numbing sensation which you get from eating Szechuan dishes, but our taste buds were instead greeted by a fragrant sweet sensation which was a little spicy but not too much.

We were advised to eat the noodles immediately to get the best of its flavour.

One other interesting dish is the kao gaeng thod, which is deep-fried green curry rice balls. This is a little spicy. These golden coloured balls are made from a combination of two different green curry pastes and two types of rice – Thai rice and sticky rice.

Minced pork is another ingredient found in the rice balls.

We liked the flavour of the green curry rice balls, which was something unique and not found in other Thai restaurants.

Another dish that caught our eye was the pad mee Korat which is the Korat version of the popular pad thai.

The famous red ruby with coconut milk comes with interesting characters on top.
The famous red ruby with coconut milk comes with interesting characters on top.

Korat is a place located in Isan.Though similar to pad thai, the Korat version is differentiated by its sweet and spicy red coloured noodles.

One other noodle dish served is the pad woon sen, a hot but flavourful stir-fried tom yam glass noodle offering.

Apart from noodle dishes, there are also rice dishes like minced pork with chilli and basil along with fried pork slices in garlic sauce.

Go Thai also offers the moo grob, a favourite among diners with chunks of juicy crispy pork belly served with sweet black dipping sauce.

The pork slices were pretty lean and the skin on top crispy, making it a good dish for people who do not like fatty meat.

The yum hed tord, which is fried mushoom salad, is best eaten hot as the mushroom will go soft and lose its crunch when it cools down.

An iced Thai green milk tea helped soothe our palate when the dishes got a little too hot to handle.

End the meal with a hearty treat such as the famous red ruby with coconut milk.

To make the dish more interesting, Go Thai also serves it topped with 3D ice cream image of famous characters like the Minions and Star Wars.

Go Thai is also located at Atria Shopping Gallery.

GO THAI, 187, Jalan SS 2/24, Petaling Jaya. (Tel: 019-3388938 – Whatsapp). Business hours: 10.30am to 10.30pm ,daily. Non-halal.

This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.

Central Region , Go Thai , Isan street food , SS2