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Sep 21, 2011 04:51 PM

ISO: Isaan (Thai) restaurants, cuisine, groceries, anything

Absolutely mesmerized by Isaan cuisine, a rustic, simple Lao-influenced peasant's cuisine of north-east Thailand and as different from ordinary Thai food as McDonald's is from authentic southern barbecue.

Toronto's Thai population is small, but does anyone know anything about where to find anything Isaan-related in town?

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  1. Have you tried the Vientiane grocery store on Weston Rd for ingredients?

    9 Replies
        1. re: iMarilyn

          Thanks, Marilyn. Since I've never been, how does it compare with the Chinatown Viet markets? I live on the Danforth- is it worth the shlep up to Rexdale?

          1. re: biggreenmatt

            Their old Bradstock and Weston location is now a dollar store, they moved into an industrial warehouse at 51b Jutland Road in Etobicoke a few years ago. These days Vientiane is more of a distributor supplying Asian grocery stores and restaurants, they're not really set up for walk-in retail anymore.

            Is there a specific ingredient you're looking for?

            1. re: mosport

              "I Thai" in Whitby is owned by a woman from Issan. Tell her that you want the real thing , in so far as possible.

              1. re: mosport

                I was in Sydney, Australia earlier this year and I ate at the strangest Thai place I'd ever seen. No curries, no pad Thai, no dishes with heavy sauces- my wife and I almost got up and left because we didn't recognize anything on the menu. Strange, but we stayed put- and I thank my lucky stars that we did. It was one of two Isaan restaurants in all of Sydney. It was utterly magnificent.

                I didn't even know the name of the cuisine I'd tried until I randomly came across an article about the restaurant and learned about Isaan cuisine. Since then (last Tuesday), I've done as much research as I could on the subject and ordered the one (and only) Isaan cookbook written in English.

                I want to recreate, insofar as it's possible for a white, Jewish Canadian to do, Isaan cooking and any exposure to anything Isaan is what I'm looking for.

                1. re: biggreenmatt


                  you can find some Issan recipes on the internet, have you seen them?

                  Here is a start:



                  I'm sure I have seen a few dishes of this style on the menu at Mong-Kut Thai on Danforth.

                  Mong-Kut Thai
                  596 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1R1, CA

                  1. re: biggreenmatt

                    Could you tell us the name of the cookbook? I am highly interested.

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. There is a little Thai restaurant in the food court of First Markham Place. Not sure if it is Isaan cuisine, but there are a number of authentic thai dishes that aren't your standard north american menu items. The sausage plate is my fave. You get a pork/lemongrass/sticky rice sausage (which is an isaan dish) and a kind of beef jerky, along with sticky rice, papaya salad and thom yum broth. Good stuff. Owner is very nice and shared the sausage ingredients with me so I could make my own (turned out great). Worth a try if you are in the area.