on June 2, 2003
I recommend this book only for serious enthusiasts who are truly passionate about authentic Thai cooking/food and are not looking for quick, adapted recipes!
Having enjoyed authentic Thai food during my trips to Thailand, I am repeatedly disappointed with the adapted versions found in most local restaurants here. Since I am an avid cook, I have been experimenting to replicate the dishes I had in Thailand.
After some research I found David Thompson's "Thai Food" to be a rare find. Most Thai cook books I have come across provide adapted recipes with shortcuts and suggested substitutes for ingredients! How dreadful! Undoubtedly, Thai food involves much effort and can even be tedious. But the taste is well worth it. More importantly, ingredients in Thai cooking CAN NOT be substituted if the REAL flavor and aroma are to be achieved. For example, if you are going to substitute regular ginger for galangal (Thai ginger), or lime zest for kaffir lime zest, as many books suggest - you may as well not cook Thai food!
This is what sets David's book apart from the rest - he sticks to the real stuff! He painstakingly explains all the details of real Thai cooking, discussing each ingredient and various techniques followed by the recipes. While some recipes are quite cumbersome or require ingredients which are not easily available, the book is worth the insight it provides into authentic Thai cuisine. Once you understand the basics, you can be creative by combing basic Thai ingredients with techniques and create your own recipes without straying from the flavors, tastes and aroma of REAL Thai cuisine!
One complaint however: where is the recipe for Yum Woon Sen??
on April 27, 2003
This is the one. The definitive guide to Thai cuisine. Having lived in Thailand I can say that this book is destined to be a classic. Thorough is an understatement. Beautiful design and photography. The only fault is a disappointing Thai transliteration system devised by the author and no Thai script to back it up. But the average reader will have no use for Thai script anyway. This isn't a weekend cookbook, it's Larousse. And that's why it's great.
on November 10, 2002
This book was obviously a labour of love. David writes beautifully, and, if the first two recipes I have tried are anything to go by, the book gives supurb results. As David has spent the last decade running very successful Thai restaurants, he knows what he is talking about.
I am just learning to cook Thai food. I can see this book guiding me for several years as I enjoy this new hobby.
This is a high quality book and I highly recommned its purchase.
on March 10, 2004
This is one awesome book!
Being a professional chef myself, this is the one and only Thai cookbook you need if you are getting into some serious and authentic Thai cooking. I personally, have learn't so much from this book.
Also, it might be be noted, that David Thompson, being an Australian, was commissioned by the Thai government to authenticate the traditional Thai recipes! For a government to to do, this is such an honour!
on March 9, 2003
After cooking about the fifth dish from this book ("Stir Fried Beef with Spices") with palate-boggling success , I would like to recommend this book to anybody serious about Thai cooking. While there are no shortcuts (consistent with the author's view to keep things as original as possible) the result is well worth the effort. Some things sound more complicated than they are. Furthermore, this is the first Thai cookbook out of the five or six I have got which explains in detail some really important techniques (like the cracking of coconut cream and why this is important for frying curry pastes). The background chapters are highly recommended.
My two open questions are why the Gaeng Panaeng is far from "dry" (with about five cups of coconut milk/cream) and why there is no recipe for Yam Wun Sen (a favourite of my Thai girlfriend, and I thought it was a classic dish). But these are minor points and maybe there is a good reason (I would be curious to learn).
All in all: Highly recommended, together with "Vatch" Bhumichitr's books (whose writing style and inside country knowledge I also like very much) my favourite cookbook.
on November 17, 2011
As many reviewers have said, this cookbook does not include many easy 30 minutes recipes. However, the recipes are not as intricate as some reviews make them sound either. I'd say you can cook most of the menus, including a relish, soup and curry, in about 2 hours. If you enjoy making everything from scratch, like me, than this book is definitely for you. But most importantly, the results are absolutely delicious. Also, I hadn't seen it mentionned before ordering, but I've since found out that not only did this book receive a "Cookbook of the Year" award, but so did the author's subsequent "Thai Street Food". This alone tells you the quality book this is.
on February 28, 2004
Simply Stunning. The best cook book on a single cuisine I have ever read. The Larousse of Thai Food. If all cook books were written like this the world would be a better place,
on August 7, 2013
If you are looking for a complete thai cookbook, look no further than Thompson's. Having only gone through the introduction which gives you the coar and roots of thai cooking, I can confidently say that David has done justice to any and all thai cuisine aspiring amateurs like myself. A highly recommended book which you will not regret to have purchased.
on October 20, 2002
It couldn't really be any better and the recipes do work. As for the lack of a recipe for fish sauce, it does have a recipe for shrimp paste and says that the fluid which is a by-product makes a wonderful fish sauce so perhaps that would be worth a try. One could probably substitute anchovies for the shrimps if desired.
on October 4, 2002
Let's start with the positives: extremely thorough review of the Thai experience. Thompson breaks down every ingredient and discusses it thoroughly. Beautifully done with great pictures. You'll learn allot about Thailand from this book.
The downside? Well there are allot of steps and that's not Thompson's fault but part of the Thai culinary scene. The ingredients on the other hand could be cheeky for people out of a cosmopolitan city like NYC to obtain: lemon grass, fish sauce, galonga. But the worst was no recipe for fish sauce, which I did find in Mai Pham's book on Vietnamese cooking (its anchovy based:-). Unfortunately most commerical fish sauces are msg prepared and being allergic to it I was hoping for a way to make this myself (fish sauce is a staple of most SE Asian food, Thai included, btw). Alas though not forthcoming Thompson does tell us that the commercially prepared varieties are quite good.
Still, despite this, I did not downgrade the book on that account because I think that this is best book on Thai food I've ever seen & I own The Beautiful Thai Cookbook & What's Thai. I would recommend neither after reading/using Thompson's book.