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Isarn Thai Soul Kitchen

Super excited to find out that the folks who brought us Bai Tong, opened a regional Thai restaurant at Kirkland waterfront called Isarn Thai Soul Kitchen.

I was floored by my last regional Thai food experience at Pestle Rock — I could not wait to try this place out!

The restaurant is neatly decorated; designed well and plenty of details attended to including the menus.

dinner menu's cover and back is made with gorgeous carved wood

dinner menu’s cover and back are made with gorgeous carved wood

lunch menu is in a little flat wood box with magnet

lunch menu is in a little flat wood box with magnet

Both lunch and dinner are served, although the lunch menu is quite a bit smaller than dinner’s.

Many of the unique dishes are served during dinner only.

However, what we had for lunch was superb, and I brought DH back for dinner!

Soup automatically came with lunch, and it was a delicious coconut-based, sweeter than tom yum soup.

The best dish of the three we ordered was the crab in yellow curry.

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It was basically a dry yellow curry, sweet and thick.

The crab meat itself was sweet and fresh as well, and generous amount was used in the dish.

I could not stop eating it with lots of rice!

Another dish we had was a chicken with basil and fried egg.

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Ground chicken was used and they were soft.

Aromatic basil filled the air and the fried egg looked very interesting — it literally looked like it was deep-fried with extra crispiness.

Lastly, the tamarind ribs.

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Flavor-wise, it was not as wow as I thought it would be — tasted similar to a sweet and sour meat dish.

Nonetheless, the meat fell off the bone and was extremely tender.

Within two weeks, I brought DH back for dinner.

There were plenty of creative Asian-inspired cocktails to choose from, and my sister wanted the Thaicoon.

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Definitely one of the dangerous cocktails with vodka, choya, mint and red currant jam, orange juice, lemongrass, and logan and eggwhite on top.

Sweet, smooth and delicious, completely chuggable, it would most certainly got me drunk without notice.

Our appetizer was oyster mushroom fritters, which was very savory and high in umami, with interesting chewier mushroom texture and an addictive batter with sesame.

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The dipping sauce was an apricot jam which was too sweet and perfumey for my taste; I’d rather eat the fritters on their own.

We had the squid with salted egg yolk and a Lao’s style everything papaya salad.

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L: everything papaya salad, Lao’s style — R: squid with salted egg yolk

Isarn Thai offered the everything papaya in Thai style or Lao style; difference being there was added anchovies to the Lao style salad.

The Lao style was most intriguing to me, and we took the plunge.

Instead of anchovies, the dish really had salted small crabs, mostly crab legs but with shells and all.

The crab shells certainly made the dish very crunchy albeit a little chewy, yet the crab meat inside the shell was extremely sweet and tasty.

Along with crispy pork rind, green papaya, fresh raw vegetables (carrots and bean sprouts) and rice noodles, the initial flavor was very fishy — literally felt like I drank a cup of sea water, the taste was positively an acquired one.

In fact, DH did not like it, and my sister thought it was too salty.

I found it interesting and tasty after I got past the fishy sea water flavor.

Verdict on this dish was highly debatable; the experience was worth it!

The tender squid with salted egg yolk shockingly tasted like Hong Kong style curry fish balls!  Still delicious.

I loved that both the squid and the lunch crab curry had “tong ho” stems in it.

“Tong ho” is a Chinese green-leaf vegetable that we use frequently in winter hot pot.

It had a very distinctive floral green flavor which stood out boldly in the curry: a fantastic addition.

Lastly, the crab curry with vermicelli was another surprise.

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I did not expect it to be similar to Vietnamese bun, with cold rice noodle, raw basil, carrot and cabbage, boiled egg, and pineapple.

The crab curry was served on the side to toss with the rest of the ingredients.

It was a very refreshing way to eat curry; the raw vegetables gave crunch, and the pineapple contributed a little sourness.

Every bite had fragrant basil scent in it with a garlicky background.

I thoroughly enjoyed my meals at Isarn Thai, it is undoubtedly a place where adventurous eaters can find satisfaction.

Isarn Thai Soul Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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