Top positive review
135 people found this helpful
Desert island Thai--one more vote
on May 31, 2002
I first borrowed this book in 1993 from my neighbor who had lived in Thailand. I made about 4 things from the book--by the book--and invited her to dinner. She raved how perfect and authentic the flavors were. I kept the book awhile, made more recipes, and, being on a student budget but having plenty of time, copied those recipes I thought I might someday make (about three-quarters of them). The Burmese Chicken Curry was a hit from the beginning--when my wife's friend walked in the front door she remarked that it stung her NOSE just smelling the dish as it cooked!
Over the years I have made some fifty recipes from the book--soups, meat dishes, rice and noodle dishes, vegetarian dishes, seafood dishes, curry pastes, desserts--and nearly every one has been a huge hit with my wife and me. I've made so few different recipes because I've come back to many of them a dozen times or more. The Chicken Coconut Soup is my four-year-old son's favorite food, and he requests it often.
I finally bought the book for myself this year and have made several different recipes that I hadn't before. Some have hit my "frequently made" list already.
The book is visually stunning, with large appealing photographs of each dish, and with similarly beautiful photos of the countryside, divided up by region between the chapters of different foods. The recipes themselves are very easy to follow, and even those that have many ingredients usually only require a couple steps. Some require ingredients that you can only find in Asian food stores (like galangal) but even things like fish sauce and coconut milk are becoming more available in other supermarkets; and many recipes require nothing more exotic than fresh ingredients and soy sauce.
The only shortcoming I see in the book is a dearth of purely vegetarian dishes, but since Thai cooking seems to encourage improvisation, this can be remedied by substitutions. Despite this, I still consider this to be the best Thai cookbook I have (of six), the best Beautiful Cookbook I have (of six), and the best cookbook period that I have (of nearly 100).