Fun Talop is the name of an isaan-style Thai restaurant that, I think, started out at the famous Chatujak Market. That’s where I first came across it anyway. The restaurant is located in a somewhat remote corner of the market and was hugely popular, with lines of people breathing down your neck and staring at your som tam as they waited to take your seat. The woman who made som tam there did so in two of the biggest mortar and pestles I’ve ever seen, working with one pestle in each hand! The 7 above refers to the fact that this new Fun Talop is the seventh branch of the original restaurant, which shows its popularity. Luckily for me this most recent outlet of Fun Talop is about 1 km from my house. So of course we had to try it out.
We started with a dish that we always ordered at the original Fun Talop, plaa som:
This is a kind of freshwater fish that has been stuffed with rice and left to ferment for a few days. The fish is then deep-fried until crispy, and is deliciously sour. The only downside is that it contains hundreds of literally microscopic bones, which inevitably end up lodged in your throat.
We had tom saep, an isaan-style tom yam, with tender pork ribs:
This was also sour from the use of lime juice, and was fortified with khao khua, ground roasted sticky rice.
And of course when eating isaan food you also have to have som tam, papaya salad:
This kind is called tam sua, and the papaya is mashed up with thin rice noodles.
We also ordered a plate of sai krok isaan, fermented pork sausages:
The casings are stuffed with rice and fatty pork, and are grilled or deep-fried. They are taken with hearty slices of garlic and ginger.
And when eating isaan food the rice of choice is sticky rice:
All in all a great lunch, but for some reason I miss the hustle and bustle of the original.