Barbecue

Som Tam Jay So Isaan Food

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Recommended by
Luke C.

It's not difficult to find Isaan food, the cuisine of North East Thailand and Laos, in Bangkok. But it can often, disappointingly, lack the trademark frenzied and funky flavours the food is known for. Not so at Som Tam Jay So in Bangkok's downtown Silom district which overflows with office workers at lunch.

The signature is the almost 20 versions of Isaan favourite som tam, shredded papaya salad. Expect varieties stretching from the simple som tam Thai made with lime juice, green beans, tomatoes and tiny dried shrimps through to som tam pu pla ra, a darker, funkier version with fermented fish sauce and tiny salted crabs.

Rows of red metal tables here are spread across the outdoor footprint of the owner's house and spill out along the edge of the street. It would be a welcome respite from the busy streets near by if it wasn't for the hoards of customers that descend each day. The rudimentary kitchen area sits across the pavement outside and home's covered garage area - a cluttered area of drum barbecues, hanging wires, a large TV showing Thai soaps and ice boxes centred around a metal som tam cart

Som Tam Jay So is open from 11am through to 6pm. If you can avoid the peak lunch hours, do. The menu is in Thai and orders are taken by a Thai-written notepad. Your only options are to take a lucky dip or try to communicate with the friendly staff. If all else fails, head to the cart and point to what you'd like. Prices for the dishes hover between 45-70 THB (around US $1.50-2.25). Three to four dishes are perfect for two.

What to order

Isaan food is centred around sharing plates, something along the lines of tapas. Start with one or two of the som tum varieties - if you're not sure the som tam Thai is a good starting point. But the other versions are worth some exploration - som tam hoi dong (with fermented mussels), som tam tang (which swaps out papaya for cucumber) and the som tam pu pla ra (fermented fish sauce and small salty crabs).

The kor moo yang, grilled pork neck, is moist and tasty, as is the glistening barbecued gai yang chicken. Grilled meats here are always served with a sweetened nam jim jeaw sauce spiked with mild chilli flakes and ground roasted rice.

Then there are the larbs. Meaty salads made from minced duck, chicken, pork, beef or catfish dressed in lime juice, fish sauce, ground roasted rice, mint and chilli. All are good.

Everything here is eaten with mounds of chewy sticky rice. Trying rolling into a lightly pressed ball and dipping in the jim jaew sauce.

Directions to Som Tam Jay So Isaan Food

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Cash only
45-70 THB
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- closed Sunday

Closed Now

11h00 - 18h00
- closed Sunday

Closed Now

11h00 - 18h00
- closed Sunday

Closed Now

11h00 - 18h00
- closed Sunday

Closed Now

11h00 - 18h00
- closed Sunday

Closed Now

11h00 - 18h00
- closed Sunday

Closed Now

11h00 - 18h00
- closed Sunday

Closed Now

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Reviews of Som Tam Jay So Isaan Food

5.0 based on 1 reviews

tom
4 months ago.

Enjoyed the food at som tam jay so a lot. There is loads of northern thai food in Bangkok, but this is some of the best I've tried! πŸ˜ƒ

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Reviews of Som Tam Jay So Isaan Food

5.0 based on 1 reviews

tom
4 months ago.

Enjoyed the food at som tam jay so a lot. There is loads of northern thai food in Bangkok, but this is some of the best I've tried! πŸ˜ƒ