More than a cookbook, "The Food of Thailand" is a cultural revelation and a "journey for food lovers." This book is my prize cookbook, the one I value above the others, and I have a wonderful collection of cookbooks. What makes this one so special is the incredible array of photographs of sections of the country, the people, the foods both in preparation and sold on the streets. Once the reader travels all the pages from front to back, s/he has made a journey through Thailand and its magnificent variety of foods.
A large volume at 9 1/2 x 12, this volume, published in Australia, makes a fabulous coffee table book. Every recipe has at least one photo. Every time I open it, I take mental walks through Bangkok, where I spent nine fascinating days a couple of years ago. I stayed at the seminary compound, where I catalogued English-language books. I ate lunch with the students each school day and experienced just a smattering of the variety of foods available on a school campus. The main dish was always some type of stew or soup served with rice, one of the two basics that goes with most meals. The other is noodles. Someone always brought some kind of fruit from home for dessert. My favorite are the rambutans, a deep red fruit about the size of kiwis, only with soft spikes all around. The outer layer is peeled off to reveal an exquisite tasting fruit akin to sweet grapes.
Thai food is unlike any other food, perhaps because it is exotic, blending unusual combinations of flavors like chile sauce and peanut butter. The names are playful: Son-in-Law Eggs: deep-fried hard-boiled eggs with a fish/tamarind sauce poured over length-wise sliced halves and crispy chiles and shallots sprinkled on top. Or Gold Purses: wontons filled with minced water chestnuts, spices, shallots, and shrimp, then fried golden. These are Chinese influenced. Or Chicken Wrapped in Pandanus Leaf: a chicken mixture wrapped in the reed-like leaves, deep-fried and drained. The leaves serve as decoration, holders, and flavor makers.
Other fabulous recipes:
Green Papaya Salad,
Stuffed Tofu Soup with Prawns,
Prawn and Pomelo Salad,
Fish Steamed in Banana Leaf (just go outside and pluck a leaf--most houses have their own banana tree),
Deep-Fried Fish with Ginger,
Snapper with Green Banana and Mango,
Curry with Beef and Potatoes and Peanuts,
Thai Fried Noodles with Prawns (my favorite!)
Baby Eggplant and Cherry Tomato Stir-Fry
Coconut Ice Cream, Coconut Pudding (both to die for)
If you can get one cookbook for use and/or sheer beauty and exotic pictures, "The Food of Thailand" is one I highly recommend.
on September 14, 2006
I just bought this cookbook and I must say I am extremely pleased. I bought my copy at Barnes and Nobels which was more expensive than the price at Amazon but I would still say that it was worth the few extra dollars. There are close to 300 pages of delicions, exquisite, authentic thai cuisine and food culture. Each dish has a beautifully photgraphed presentation of the dish so you can make dishes that are not only delicious but that can keep up with some of the best Thai restaurants out there. The first few pages also give you a breakdown of the different regions of Thailand and the foods that they eat, which differ sometimes based on economic status and other cultural influences. The best part I must say are they beautiful, eyecatching pictures that capture all aspects of Thai cuisine and food culture. This is a great book and I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to cook delicious, well presented Thai food. It could also be given as a gift to someone who you know that likes Thai food. It's just great and I cant wait till the next time that I get to cook with it!!!!
on July 27, 2012
I would buy this book alone for its great pictures, but I have tried a few recipes and they have been superb. Try the curry dish recipe. That has been a life-saver for me because I have not been able to find a good curry recipe that comes close to my favorite restaurant's, and the one in the book is pretty darn close. Happy I discovered it! My mission is to try more of the book's recipes.