I miss living in Bangkok. I miss the Thai food, the Thai massages and the beaches. But one of the things I miss most is Isao Sushi. Sushi???? As one of the most missed things from Bangkok? Yes, indeed!
Quietly tucked away 150 meters down on Sukhumvit Soi 31, Isao has developed a massive following almost solely by word of mouth. They don’t market themselves, simply because once someone eats there, they tell all their friends and so on…. I must admit it’s one of those wonderful nuggets that you are not sure if you want to keep to yourself (so you can still walk in and get a seat anytime) or if you want to tell the world (because it would be criminal not to wish success on the wonderful chefs and people of Isao). Ultimately I decided to come clean and tell you all about it
As a matter of fact, Isao’s original outpost was in the USA in Chicago. While Isao does traditional Japanese sushi, he adds a bit of new and modern style to this otherwise quite serious Japanese food – from playful rolls shaped like caterpillars and a creation called the “sushi sandwich.” And Isao brings some American sushi inventions like the Philadelphia roll to Bangkok, a roll with Philadelphia cream cheese as a key ingredient. I suppose to be totally accurate it is Japanese / Western fusion sushi, but in the end you won’t really care what it is called because you’ll be swimming in deliciousness. There are a few signature dishes that I would say are truly outstanding:
The Sushi Sandwich, as mentioned above (300 THB).
Spicy tuna and salmon stuffed between layers of sushi rice with tempura batter, ebiko and scallion. This is a MUST order at Isao. If you are alone, do plan to order this. Although really the best way to go to Isao is with a group so that you can try more!
Dragon Roll (420 THB)
Shrimp tempura, ebiko, crab meat and cucumber with fresh water eel and avocado is an amazing execution of the classic sushi roll. It is pictured below on the right with the winding shape of a dragon.
Jackie Roll (350 THB)
For something a bit more unique (and playful), try the Jackie, Shrimp tempura, ebiko, avocado are wrapped with ebi and shaped into the form of a caterpillar.
The Volcano (250 THB)
Another “must order” dish! It sounds simple – a scallop baked in a spicy sauce. But it is anything but simple with complex layers of rich flavour. It’s no wonder you will see this dish on just about every other diner’s table.
Spicy California (290 THB)
For those of you more adventurous, a California roll might seem like a boring choice, but this is not the case at Isao. They make it their own special creation with snow crab meat, avocado, ebiko and a secret spicy sauce. I asked….they wouldn’t reveal the secret.
So, there! Now you know…the secret is out. The best sushi in Bangkok, in my opinion, can be found at Isao. It’s at once fresh and light, creamy and rich and delicate yet intensely flavoured. And as one friend says “The sushi sandwich is LEGENDARY!” So if you are on the hunt for world-class sushi in Bangkok, get thee to Isao.
5 Sukhumvit 31
Bangkok, Thailand 10110
Telephone: +66 2258 0645 6
Open Mon – Sun 11am – 2.30pm and 5.30-10pm