Lime, galangal, coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, ginger, coriander, holy basil, lemongrass, mint leaves--is your mouth watering already? Healthier and lighter than Chinese or Indian, fragrant Thai food was Britain's culinary craze of the 1990s. Green curry joined spaghetti, pizza and chicken korma on standard British menus, although like the others, it often rarely resembled the original. If green curry, tomyam
soup and phat |thai
have tempted your taste buds, this book tells you more.
Beautifully designed and glossy throughout, the pocket-sized World Food Thailand is enthusiastically written by Lonely Planet Thailand's. Joe Cummings, with succulent images from specialist food photographer Jerry Alexander. The content is imaginative and incredibly detailed. Everything has been thought of. It guides you through hundreds of dishes (from snacks to banquets), as well as traditions, etiquette, festivals and history. The county's cuisine is explored region by region and there are maps showing where to eat in major towns. Experts report on weird and wonderful occurrences--the eating of black food (coffee, burnt chicken, embalmed eggs) to ward off apocalypse; a vegetarian festival where mediums pierce their cheeks with spears and trombones; the North Easterners love of locusts, ants and beetles ("the eating of insects is so normal it's not even discussed").
"If you're interested in Thai food, you must eat on the street", writes Jerry Hopkins, author of Strange Foods. Unlike in other Asian countries, this is fairly safe in Thailand. Roadside vendors transform raw ingredients into delicious rice or noodle meals costing just 30 pence within seconds. However, many travellers miss out on the experience since the menus are in Thai script--which makes the English-Thai Culinary Dictionary included in World Food Thailand a stroke of genius. Equally, foodies could plan a whole theme holiday around this book, while those returning from Thailand can indulge their nostalgia and recreate authentic dishes from the included recipes.--Sarah Champion