I've found a real Isaan restaurant, on the main airport road north of Monument in Phuket island! It even has some Isaan people working in it. Which is actually a bit of a surprise because most of the restaurants in the South here have Burmese and a few Southern Thais working in them.
They make the singers sing only Isaan songs, but a sign saying "Isaan food" and Isaan singers are not enough to make this authentic, so I took a close look at the menu to find dishes only served in Isaan.
Soft bone ribs? They're served everywhere. Grilled salted fish? Again, this is a staple of the whole of Thailand. These are not dishes from my youth....No, what confirmed this restaurant as authentic was the ant larvae dishes available.,
I've made Yum Ant Larvae before, which brings back memories of my dad, so I went for the Yum Larvae Omelet this time. I wanted to order two dishes, but they only had one portion of ant larvae left.
At the back I noticed the restaurant provides staff housing, something you normally see only with the big employers.
Look for the restaurant entrance as you head North towards Talang on the main airport road. There's plenty of party at the side and back.