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on 24 April 2017
Great book - easy to follow.
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on 4 January 2014
Hurrah !.... A thai cookbook that's not dumbed down..... no hold back on proper in your face flavour profiles. Exciting, challenging, a bugger to get hold of some of the ingredients I warn you now but worth the effort Not just the usual curries but also rellishes , salads (Thai style) , grilled dishes, all sorts.

I made the Kaeng Hung Leh tonight..... bloody lovely !

Some of it is pushing boundries ..... som tam with fermented fish and salted mud crab for example.....but that's all good in my book.

If David Thompsons "Thai" is the venerable and knowledgeable grand parent then Pok Pok is the upstart but talented facebook generation grandchild.



Update : Made the Som Tam the Pok Pok way (with tamerind water and palm sugar) which is differnt to my usual way....and it's great.....so another hit.
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on 16 April 2014
The world needs people like Andy Ricker. I had not realised this until I bought his book. In fact I had not even heard of him. However I could not ignore a book on Thai food with a forward by David Thompson, and endispiece by Anthony Bourdain and photographs by Austin Bush - for some reason the big guns of Thai food were out in force - and it was for good reason.

The world needs this book because, like so many exotic and beautiful things, some of its recipes are threatened and need to be preserved, protected and, indeed, enjoyed. And Ricker's timely book does just that. Why are they threatened? Simply because food culture is evolving everywhere, not least in Thailand. So Andy Ricker has in "Pok Pok" provided a crystal clear snapshot of a number of the less obvious but no less delicious recipes it the Thai repertoire. Crystal clear in so much as his instructions are extremely precise. "Cooking by numbers" if you like, but necessarily so unless you happen to have grown up in Northern Thailand and acquired an instinctive view of what, for example, Laap Meuang should taste like. This book is not just a list of recipes it is more a series of rather interesting essays and anecdotes and the issue of the evolution of food culture is addressed throughout. And, of course, it is full of enticing recipes.

So should you buy this book? If you are interested in Thai food and have already kind of mastered a few of the basics, then the answer is most definitely yes. Even if you may not cook all, or indeed many, of its recipes it is nice to know that you could, if you wanted to, knock up for example, a Northern Thai-Style Herbal Sausage.

If you don't already own a Thai cookbook then this may not be the best place to start. Perhaps it would be wiser to wait for Leela Punyaratabandhu's "Simple Thai Food" which will be out in a few weeks. Eagerly awaited by me for sure but then I've been following here excellent website "SheSimmers" for ages.

So the world needs this cookbook. But do you need it? If you are only interested in tha ABC of Thai cooking then you can get away without it. But if you are interested in the XYZ as well then you should definitely buy it. Thank you Andy Ricker.
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on 8 November 2015
This book is take-no-prisoners authentic, which is both good and bad. Good because the recipes are challenging and different - and taste and look amazing. Bad because he has a maniacal obsession with doing things the hard way, for example:

"Only a mortar and pestle will do" for making sauce bases. For a multi component dish there's no way it's going to ruin a recipe to use a blender and it will take you one tenth of the time and you'll get a smoother result.

Recipe quantities are given in weights not units, so for example "11 grams garlic cloves". If your palate is capable of detecting the difference between four and five cloves of garlic in a sauce that has nine other ingredients, I take my hat off to you.

There's loads of nutty chef superstitions in there, overspecifying the method for no good reason. 'Add the ginger and blend, then add the garlic and blend further; finally add the galangal and blend again'. I know Andy, how about adding all three at the same time because it'll make no difference to the final outcome whatsoever?!?

This kind of attitude pervades the whole book. If you're an experienced home cook (by which I mean, someone who's cooked a lot of recipes from books) then you should be able to see through the bullsh*t and make your life easier, but it takes a bit of effort.

Finally he presumably knows about shortcuts but has chosen not to share them for reasons of ideological purity. I was quizzing the owner of my Thai supermarket (one of the top 5 in the UK) about weird ingredients for one particular dish until eventually he goes "Oh you're making laab? Just use this sachet!" and produced a pre-prepared spice mix. I mean, it's great to have the true original from-scratch recipe, but it would have been nice to know about the sachet, especially since the true recipe would have taken me another two hours.

Anyway the food was all absolutely terrific and if you read it with a sceptical eye, you'll love it.
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on 18 February 2014
Having travelled a few times to Thailand I live the street food and restaurants. I have been looking for a book like this for some time to replicate the food I love.

This has many if those recipes. Whilst some if the ingredients are hard to find you will get most in Chinese supermarkets or online.

Great book, tells you how to do many of the greats and pastes, etc.

A definite purchase.
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on 7 June 2016
The best Thai cookbook ever. Every single recipe is precise and perfectly balanced. Along with my girlfriend, we cooked all dishes from this cookbook. It was the most amazing challenge. We cook Thai food every day and we never had any problems with this book. Some ingredients are tricky to find but we were lucky with our Asian stores and there is always Amazon :) And we live in Iceland, so if we were able to do it then everyone should be :)
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on 31 October 2015
Absolutely beautiful book. Not just recipes and stunning pictures, but a culinary travel guide to boot. Can't recommend enough. LOVE IT!!!!
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on 4 November 2014
fantastic book with great recipes, it's a must have for anyone who likes cooking oriental food!
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on 23 April 2015
Fantastic book - especially love the burmese pork / chiang mai pork curry dish.
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on 5 June 2016
It was a present but know that he liked it a lot.
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