Jaroon Dang – The Hidden Isaan Food Gem of Bangkok
Charoon-Daeng (ร้านไก่ย่างจรูญแดง), is not famous among tourists but if you ask the locals, this will be comsidered one of the BEST places to get Isaan food. Charoon-Daeng is a hidden restaurant around the military area. Don’t worry though, it is not that hard to find.
The restaurant can be accessed by taking the MRT to Bangseu Station. Transfer to a taxi for an approximately 7 minute ride from the station. It is located in “Soi Pracharat”, you will see a sign for a temple in front of the alley. (But if you are going with a group of 10 people or above, the restaurant has a free van service to pick you up!)
The restaurant opens very early in the morning from 6am till 8pm but do note that it is closed on Sundays. You can contact them via phone and Line application for reservations. The phone numbers are 081-253-9119, 081-827-6813 and the line id is 025854999.
This restaurant is famous and has been awarded by many culinary programs before.
Yum Pla Dook Fu (ยำปลาดุกฟู), which is also known as Crispy Catfish Salad with Green Mango. This is the all-time favourite I need to order whenever I come here (Sometimes I even get 2 portions!).
The Crispy Catfish is actually very crispy and puffy. The original taste of the crispy catfish is a little salty. It goes well with the sourness of the green mango, the slight spiciness from red onions and the hint of bitterness from celery. Moreover, they also give you the Thai style salad paste. It is a little sweet, spicy and sour. You have to mix everything together before eat this item. If you are a person who loves intense tastes, this dish is just for you.
Larb Mhoo Sub (ลาบหมูสับ), or Spicy Isaan Style pork salad. This one is made up of minced pork, chives, rice crispy, chilli powder and red onion. It is slightly spicy when you taste it at first and then you will taste the sourness of the lime juice they added to this dish. This item is one of the popular dishes among Thai people as it is not too spicy and everyone could eat it. They also believe that this dish also has a lot of collagen! It goes very well with sticky rice.
Som Tum (ส้มตำไข่เค็ม), the classic Thai-Isaan dish. I ordered Thai Som Tum with Salted Egg. I like it more with salted egg because the egg will add a soft and bouncy texture to this dish. In this restaurant, the standard Som Tum is not so spicy. However, you can tell the chef to adjust the flavor to your liking.
Classic Shrimp Fried Rice. For me, the taste of this dish is the real Thai style fried rice where you can feel the saltiness from fish sauce and not from salt. However, the special thing here is that you can tell the chef if you want to put some chilli in the fried rice as well! So, for people who love spicy food, you can try this fried rice with chilli!
Seu Rong Hai” (เสือร้องไห้) which means ‘The tiger cries’. For this dish, you have a choice between beef or pork. This dish is so good that there is one old saying about it: the tigers have to cry because they don’t have the chance to eat it!
For me, I love both beef and pork. In my opinion, they taste quite different because for the beef one, you can still feel and smell the charcoal that is used for grill the meat. The beef is very tender.
For the pork, they are marinated in fish sauce and slight chilli powder before, so it tastes a little bit spicier. This dish is very good with some hot sticky rice.
They also give you the sauce for the beef and pork. It is called “Jim Jeaw”(น้ำจิ้มแจ่ว). It gives a salty and spicy taste. They also put chives in there as well. So for those who love intense tastes, again, you can eat this dish with this sauce. (Although I prefer eating them plain more 🙂
Salted Fried Wings! Fried Chicken is a Must-Order in an Isaan meal. I like the fried chicken here because the wings are SO big! They have a lot of meat in it. It is salty and crispy outside while the inside is soft and juicy. This dish also goes along well with the sticky rice.
Coming to the dessert section. Normally, this restaurant has many desserts such as Mango Sticky Rice, Coconut Milk ice cream and Coconut Milk Jelly. And to be honest, I love all of them.
I ordered two of them. Let’s start with the first one that is Mango Sticky Rice. Unfortunately, due to the popularity, the sticky rice was sold out today. However, it is the thing you should try because the sticky rice here had won many awards before. They are well marinated with coconut milk and the grains are super soft. You can smell the coconut milk and a whiff of pandan while eating it. It also goes along well with the mango they serve you. This restaurant is very strict on the quality of their mango. The restaurant will not sell this dish if the mangoes are not sweet enough or the quality of the mangoes are not good enough. So you might want to call and ask them whether they have it on that day first.
The next one is Coconut Milk Jelly. I really really like it that I have to order this every single time I come here. I like the way they do it because they divided the coconut juice jelly and coconut milk jelly. In this way, you can really feel the difference between the 2 textures. It’s like you can feel the bouncy coconut jelly at first and then the softer texture of coconut milk after that. I also like it that they also put some young coconut inside the jelly, so it is a little bit more chewy.