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Fish and Fish Dishes of Laos Paperback – October 11, 2003

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Language Notes

Text: English, Lao --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Alan Davidson was born in Northern Ireland in 1924. In the British Navy in the war he served in the North Atlantic as well as in the Mediterranean and Pacific. Later he travelled the world in the diplomatic service. Alan is the author of the Oxford Companion to Food, a major reference work that he took 21 years to complete and that has been an international bestseller. He has also written a number of other books including Mediterranean Seafood, Seafood of South-East Asia, Fish and Fish Dishes of Laos, On Fasting and Feasting, Seafood and Fruit.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Prospect Books; 3rd edition (October 11, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0907325955
  • ISBN-13: 978-0907325956
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,615,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Miki101.Michaela on December 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
This very interesting book dates from the times before the coup d'état which brought down the Monarchy of Laos and let the Pathet Lao take over the power.

Mr Alan Davidson was the British Ambassador at Vientiane and was THE great admirer of the Laotian population, of all the dozens of tribes that form the Lao people. With all their different habits, beliefs and ... fish recipes!
So his first ackowledgements do not go to famous cooks like Phia Sing for books like Traditional Recipes of Laos, no, they go to the lady fishmongers in the morning market of Vientiane. Because they are the wells of wisdom that nurtures this book, their knowledge about all the fish swimming in Lao waters.
It is most important to know that the country is landlocked and all the fish live in the Mekong river and its tributaries. That great stream runs from China in the north to the Falls of Khong to the south. It forms the border between Laos and Myanmar/Burma, and Laos and Thailand.

In the first part, going until page 96 the author introduces us into all the possible kinds of Laotian fishes. The masterful descriptions are accompanied by artfully created designs made by young Lao artists.
The impossible kinds he expertly explains to the yet "hooked" readers in the following chapter "Oddities and Mysteries".
So we learn about the revengeful Puffer Fish, the Fighting Fish, the Archer Fish who literally shoots insects out of the air, Electric Eels and the River Dragons! And finally the Mermaid of Laos aka the Dugong who nurtures its little ones from its breasts, being a mammal and not a fish!

At the beginning of the chapter about Cookery Mr Davidson introduces us to the traditional utensils and ingredients of the Lao fish cuisine.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A classic book, well written and full of interesting information. If you are not into south east asian cuisine, i guess there is no point in buying it. But if you are, it is well worth the read. Not just the recipes and local fish descriptions, but also the wonderful and colorful text on Laotian life and food. Even though getting a lot of the fish species here in the US might seem unlikely, one can find suitable substitutes in large Vietnamese grocery stores in areas with sufficient populations (San Diego, Westminster, San Jose for example) where they carry a wide variety of Mekong fish in the frozen sections.
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