One of our favorite Thai places in L.A. is Isaan Station—a restaurant that specializes in Northeastern Thai food, and has the best sour pork ribs we’ve had!

The restaurant is a fairly large two room building in a small plaza with valet parking. The main dining area has a few TVs constantly playing Thai pop music videos. All sappy love stories. You can become addicted to watching these in a matter of minutes.

There is a large window that lets you see into the kitchen. We knew this place was going to be good the first time we came. Why? Because we saw some Thai grandmas cooking the food!

Isaan Station’s menu is not as large as some Thai places, but the dishes they do offer seem to be well perfected.

The highlights of coming here include the fact that there’s never a wait! You can try unique dishes. And they can easily accommodate large parties. Oh, and we must not forget the Thai pop music videos! These are all the reasons why we decided to celebrate JP’s birthday dinner here.

Location

This Thai restaurant happens to be located in Koreatown; not Thai Town!

Isaan Station
125 N Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90004
Directions

The Dishes

Sour Pork Ribs

If you only get one dish at Isaan Station, make sure it’s this one. The ribs have an unusual sour flavor that comes from the preparation process, which allows them to ferment over a few days before cooking. The ribs are then deep fried and served with raw ginger, peanuts, chilies, lime and cabbage. In our opinion, the best way to eat this is to take a small bite of everything together. It creates a really complex balance of salty, sour and spicy!

sourporkribs1Papaya Salad with salted egg

There are a lot of Thai restaurants in L.A. that serve papaya salad, but we haven’t found too many with this version. It’s a murky blend of the usual fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar dressing but with the addition of salted egg. The dressing is a little more subtle in flavor and not quite as sweet or sour as the usual papaya salad.

papayasalad

Crying Tiger

You can’t go wrong with grilled beef. And Isaan Station does this dish well. Slightly sweet and caramelized. It comes with a very tangy and flavorful dipping sauce.

cryingtiger

 

Cockle Salad

This dish was recommended to use by our Thai friend, Warin. We had to look up what a “cockle” was because neither of us had any idea! It’s a salt-water clam, apparently.

This dish is incredibly flavorful and highly recommended for anyone that loves complex Thai flavors. Large clams chopped and mixed with lemongrass, onions, mint, chilies, lime juice and a generous amount of fish sauce dressing. Very spicy, sour and salty.

cocklesalad

cocklesalad1

 

Pork Larb

We got one more dish which was a basic pork larb. It was not particularly memorable or unique, but very solid and well done. Pork, red onions, cilantro, green onions and lime and fish sauce dressing.DSC_2983

 

Tips

  • Bring cash with you. It’s a cash-only place, but there’s an ATM inside.
  • There is valet parking in the lot (full sometimes), and it’s about $2-3 with validation. We don’t know exactly because we’ve always found parking at a meter or for free on the streets not far from the restaurant.
  • Closed Mondays. Tuesdays – Fridays: 11:30 am3:00 pm and 5:00 pm12:00 am. Saturday and Sunday: 11:30 am – 12:00 am.