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Southeast Asian Cookbooks


Fat Guy
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I recently purchased "Hot Sour Salty Sweet" by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, after reading the review in either Cooks Illustrated or Saveur.  It is a huge coffee-table book, but has great recipes and stories.

The book is basically a travel diary of the couple's travel down the Mekong river with their children. The recipes are straightforward and usually simple, although the emphasis on making your own pastes and spice mixes sometimes makes the ingredient lists long.  I also enjoyed the stories about the people they met and the places they stayed.  In addition, there are lots of photographs, not just of the food, but of the land and its inhabitants.

If you are into either travel books or cookbooks, are interested in Vietnamese and Thai cooking (and the surrounding cultures as well), and/or planning a trip to this region of the world, then I highly recommend this book.

It is available on Amazon.com for ฯ.50 new, ฬ used, I paid ส for it (incl shipping) on half.com in June.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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  • 2 years later...

First of all hi from a fellow eGulleter new to this part of the forums.

I was wondering if someone could help me with the following: I've been appreciating vietnamese cuisine more and more in the past few years and finally decided to get myself one or two cookbooks. Does anyone have any tips?

Any good books? Any maybe with a bit of cultural/historic background?

Pleaseee... :biggrin:

Alberto

Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.
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As far as Vietnamese cookbooks in English, the following two are probably the best place to start . . .

Mai Pham, Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table

Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid, Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia

Some notes:

Hot Sour Salty Sweet centers on food that the authors encountered along a trip down the Mekong. Nonetheless, the Vietnamese recipes are well worth the price of admission.

Pham calls for vegetable oil. Just substitute peanut oil.

Your biggest challenge will probably be finding Vietnamese herbs. Pham provides a very good guide for what you'll want to look for.

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Another book I would recommend is Essentials of Asian Cuisine by Corinne Trang, she covers 8 of the Asian cuisines and everything I made has been great. If you just want to focus on Vietnamese her earlier book Authentic Vietnamese Cooking might be worth taking a look at.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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  • 1 month later...

I'm not sure if these are in print or not, but here are two books I've had success cooking with:

Simple Art of Vietnamese Cooking (Bin Dong & Marcia Kiesel)

&

The Classic Cuisine of Vietnam (Bach Ngo & Gloria Zimmerman)

Both these books seem to do a pretty good job in straddling the line between authentic-but-can't-get-most of-the-ingredients vs dumbed down recipes that suffer taste-wise.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I'm not sure if these are in print or not, but here are two books I've had success cooking with:

Simple Art of Vietnamese Cooking (Bin Dong & Marcia Kiesel)

&

The Classic Cuisine of Vietnam (Bach Ngo & Gloria Zimmerman)

Both these books seem to do a pretty good job in straddling the line between authentic-but-can't-get-most of-the-ingredients vs dumbed down recipes that suffer taste-wise.

Binh Duong's book is excellent. Although the recipes are largely his, the book was actually written by Marcia Kiesel, Food and Wine magazine's most talented writer. She traveled to Vietnam with Duong to research for the book. If you can still find it it will be well worth the trouble.

Ruth Friedman

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While not strictly a Vietnamese cookbook, Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet is one of the best southeast asian cookbooks out there. It focuses on the food of the Mekong Delta which comprises Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, China and Cambodia.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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While not strictly a Vietnamese cookbook, Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet is one of the best southeast asian cookbooks out there. It focuses on the food of the Mekong Delta which comprises Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, China and  Cambodia.

Yup.

Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid, Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia

. . .

Hot Sour Salty Sweet centers on food that the authors encountered along a trip down the Mekong.  Nonetheless, the Vietnamese recipes are well worth the price of admission.

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A cheap starter Vietnamese cookbook is Homestyle Vietnamese Cooking by Nongkran Daks and Alexandra Greeley at US$2.61! It's part of the Periplus Mini Cookbook series - not all the recipes in the Periplus mini cookbooks are authentic but this one hits the spot. The fresh spring roll sauce from the book is similar to the ones I've tried in Ben Thanh Market in Saigon and the Pho Bo recipe is pretty mean too.

Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be listed on Amazon.

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I'm not sure if these are in print or not, but here are two books I've had success cooking with:

Simple Art of Vietnamese Cooking (Bin Dong & Marcia Kiesel)

&

The Classic Cuisine of Vietnam (Bach Ngo & Gloria Zimmerman)

Both these books seem to do a pretty good job in straddling the line between authentic-but-can't-get-most of-the-ingredients vs dumbed down recipes that suffer taste-wise.

Binh Duong's book is excellent. Although the recipes are largely his, the book was actually written by Marcia Kiesel, Food and Wine magazine's most talented writer. She traveled to Vietnam with Duong to research for the book. If you can still find it it will be well worth the trouble.

Thanks for the additional context Ruth on Bin Dong & Marcia Kiesel's book.

Does anyone know if Bin Dong's restaurant in Hartford is still open and if it is any good? (My parents live near Hartford and I'll be back there at Christmas).

Thanks

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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  • 1 month later...
Another book I would recommend is Essentials of Asian Cuisine by Corinne Trang, she covers 8 of the Asian cuisines and everything I made has been great. If you just want to focus on Vietnamese her earlier book Authentic Vietnamese Cooking might be worth taking a look at.

Another vote for Authentic Vietnamese Cooking by Corinne Trang. I read this book cover to cover, and cooked from it: Corinne introduced to to rau ram :smile:

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  • 3 months later...

I posted this on the cooking site and had a couple of good cookbook suggestions. I looked at David Thompson's book, "Thai Food" and thought it was comprehensive and thorough.

However, I'm opened to more suggestion for a book that covers authentic Thai cuisine. I'm looking for the "best" book on Thai cooking to add to my library.

Thanks for your input. :smile:

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  • 4 weeks later...

I will second the vote on David Thompson's 'Thai Food'....

I also own and have enjoyed cooking from True Thai: The Modern Art of Thai Cooking by Victor Sodsook. It isn't quite as comprehensive as Thompson's but it does cover alot of ground. A bonus for some is that True Thai also has a 40-page breakout of vegetarian versions of Thai curries, stir-fries and menu suggestions for when you are cooking for a mixed crowd.

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

Heidi Swanson

101 Cookbooks

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

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Yup, the David Thompson book is the Thai cookbook of the moment. But check these out ...

Real Thai by Nancy McDermott is excellent and authentic. It's over 10 years old but she's totally right on. She was a Peace Corps volunteer for years and writes with lots of heart. The book is organized by region.

Additionally, try books by Oakland, CA based Kasma Loha-Unchit, It Rains Fishes and Dancing Shrimp. She's often got interesting perspectives on the health benefits of various Southeast Asian ingredients and is very thoughtful in her approach. Since she's in the States, her instructions are geared for American cooks.

Have fun!

Andrea

Andrea Q. Nguyen

Author, food writer, teacher

Into the Vietnamese Kitchen: Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors (Ten Speed Press, Oct. 2006)

Vietworldkitchen.com

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Having grown up in Thailand, I cook Thai regularly, usually from memory. But, the books I most often reach for when wanting something that my memory fogs on are Thompson and McDemott. Thompson is far more comprehensive. Buy them both. Through the EG Amazon or Jessica's Biscuit links.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I can second both Thompson and McDermott. Some times you want an encyclopedia; others the simple approach is perfect.

I would also recommend "Vatch`s Thai Street Food" because it adds so much color to an already brilliant cuisine. Street food of any cuisine is fascinating.

"Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet" is a wonderful book. It is inspiring to follow their journey. My interest in Asian cuisine grew from a love of arm-chair travel, and this is definitely a fine trip.

I could imagine a whole series of cookbooks based not on countries, or regions in the ususal sense, but on rivers.

BB

Food is all about history and geography.

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Additionally, try books by Oakland, CA based Kasma Loha-Unchit,  It Rains Fishes and Dancing Shrimp.  She's often got interesting perspectives on the health benefits of various Southeast Asian ingredients and is very thoughtful in her approach. Since she's in the States, her instructions are geared for American cooks.

Have fun!

Andrea

I can second Andrea heartily on this. I love Kasma's books and cook from them frequently.

Stephanie Kay

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Additionally, try books by Oakland, CA based Kasma Loha-Unchit,  It Rains Fishes and Dancing Shrimp.  She's often got interesting perspectives on the health benefits of various Southeast Asian ingredients and is very thoughtful in her approach. Since she's in the States, her instructions are geared for American cooks.

Have fun!

Andrea

I can second Andrea heartily on this. I love Kasma's books and cook from them frequently.

And the seafood one is even better because of those inspiring pictures!

regards,

trillium

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The two thai cookbooks I use are Real Thai, which was already mentioned, and Simply Thai byWandee Young. The last one is great, and is by the owner of Young Thailand in Toronto (one of the first Thai restaurants in North America supposedly)

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