Washington, DC

nana thai
406 8th Street, SE, formerly The Old Siam, via Nana Thai’s facebook

“Dear PoPville,

I was dining at one of my favorite Thai restaurants the other day, Nana Thai on Barracks Row, when the very nice owner let me know that the place will be closing forever at the end of the month.  All I know is that their recently-added Isan menu is incredibly tasty and I’ll be missing it. I encourage locals who enjoy the restaurant to patronize it this week as it’ll be the final opportunity to do so.

Their website says:

“Isan, the northeast region of Thailand, represents about 30% of Thailand’s population but punches well above its weight when it comes to its dominance in Thai cuisine. Although Isan food is less common outside of Thailand, inside the country it can be found everywhere, from street food vendors in Chiang Mai to high end restaurants in Bangkok.

What makes Isan food different? There are a few flavors and ingredients that seem to predominate: chili peppers, lime, peanuts, dried shrimp, fresh fruits and vegetables, sticky rice, cilantro, mint and other fresh herbs. Though flavor layers are very complex, food preparation is often quite simple, and instead of curries that have simmered for hours, fresh, brightly-flavored savory salads form the backbone of Isan cuisine as we know it. Simple marinated grilled or fried meats and sticky rice are often accompanied by one of the region’s many “tums,” or salads.

Some famous Isan dishes include the spicy salad (“SOMTUM”), the grilled chicken (“KAI YANG”), the sticky rice (“KHAO NIAW”), the grilled pork or beef salad (“NAM TOK”).”


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