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Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia Hardcover – Oct 31 2000
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The Mekong region, which extends south from China through Laos and Thailand to Cambodia and Vietnam, offers extraordinary food. Hot Sour Salty Sweet, which takes its name from the principal taste sensations of the region's cooking, provides an unparalleled culinary journey through this fertile land. Though the book contains a wealth of anecdotal material, its great strength lies in its 175 recipes, explicit formulas for the likes of Shrimp in Hot Lime Leaf Broth, Lao Yellow Rice and Duck, and Hui Beef Stew with Chick Peas and Anise. The breadth and substance of this authentic yet approachable collection is truly exciting; readers who cook from the book (not difficult to do once ingredients are assembled and techniques understood), as well as those searching for the best kind of armchair travel, will be delighted.
Beginning with a discussion of the Mekong region, its people (a complicated mix, among them the Kai, Akha, and Cham), and their characteristic foods, the book then provides recipes organized by ingredients, dish types, and topics such as "Everyday Dependable," "One-Dish Meals," "Kids Like It," and "Vegetarian Options." This latter style of division helps define and "domesticate" a vast array of cooking, often enjoyed at times and places foreign to Westerners. Chapters devoted to such sweets as Tapioca and Corn Pudding with Coconut Cream, grilled specialties, and fare for adventurous cooks, such as Aromatic Steamed Fish Curry (more painstaking technically, though not truly difficult) further widen the book's scope. Illustrated throughout with 150 color photos and containing a comprehensive ingredient glossary, the book is a definitive point of entry to a mostly unexplored culinary port of call. --Arthur Boehm --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
With their usual ?lan, Alford and Duguid (Flatbreads and Flavors; Seductions of Rice) follow the Mekong River through southeast Asia (Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma and the Chinese Yunnan region) to bring home a trove of delicious, unusual recipes. Fans of their earlier books may be disappointed to see that their latest volume often revisits earlier themes. Still, there are enough uncommon recipes here to keep even the most inveterate cookbook reader discovering new flavor combinations. (Consider Vietnamese Baked Cinnamon P?t? and Smoked Fish and Green Mango.) As in their other books, the authors display a specificity and a knowledge of this part of the world that is staggering, as well as a heartfelt reverence for the foods that "real" people eat. Vietnamese Beef Ball Soup, for example, is commonly sold by street vendors, and Shan Salad with Cellophane Noodles was picked up from an acquaintance who lives on the Shan State-Thai border. The provenance of each recipe is provided so that readers may clearly distinguish between multifaceted Thai cuisine and French-influenced Vietnamese foods such as Saigon Subs on baguettes. One-page mini-essays on the pair's travel experiences are truly a treat; they cover topics such as fermented fish and the city of Vientiane. With this third book, Alford and Duguid prove that they are fast producing a body of work that commands serious admiration. The hypnotic black-and-white cover photo of a teapot in soft focus will have book buyers lingering in the aisles.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet is, without a doubt, the best cookbook I have ever read. It is part travel novel, part anthropology lesson, and -- in large part -- a primer for westerners in Southeast Asian cuisine.
Easy to read, straightforward in instruction, its' only flaw is that -- in rare instances -- recipes may include items not available in even a metropolitan Asian market. (I have been to all of the Asian markets in Little Chinatown in Chicago and have yet to find coriander root!) But the ingredients are largely available at most Asian markets and even some larger supermarkets, and substitutions are often recommended.
The grilled chicken with hot and sweet dipping sauce has become a family favorite. The dipping sauce was so flavorful, so simple yet so complex in flavor -- I was surprised that I had made something so delicious.
Buy the book -- you won't be sorry!
I've been fortunate to help test for the authors, and this collection is my favourite so far. Many of the recipes are now in my daily repetoire, to the delight of family and guests. Choose a spice paste or sauce to transport a simple meal into another realm. That's not to say it's all complex; recipes such as Yunnan greens, or Dali Cauliflower satisfy with a few well chosen ingredients, simply prepared. I had to resist the urge to jazz it up, and was glad to have followed the recipe and learned something new.
And adding to the food quality is the need to curl up with this cookbook as if it were a novel - wonderful descriptions of a facinating part of the world, and expressive and intriguing pictures to fire the imagination. I only regret that I have to get it dirty - I'll have to buy a 2nd copy for my coffee table!
A must have for anyone who loves to have fun with food!
Most recent customer reviews
It has excellent recipes, great stories and lovely pictures...a great accompaniment to Mangoes and Curry Leaves.Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is an excellent book with well described instructions for the recipes and fantastic photography!
Also wonderful explanations about the regions the authors visited. Read more
I have also reviewed Beyond the Great Wall: Recipes and Travels in the Other China and Mangoes and Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent by the same authors... Read morePublished on Sept. 5 2010 by C. J. Thompson
I was expecting a lot more from this book....Instead I got to much text, and not enough good recipes. Really this book is nothing special, and it is big and bulky! Read morePublished on Sept. 6 2003
My copy had at least a chapter upside down. That's unfortunate as it makes it difficult to use. Having said that, I've cooked 2 recipies so far and they've both been good. Read morePublished on June 15 2003 by D. Downie
Alford and Duguid's book is beautiful, interesting, and the recipes are fantastic. Many of their recipes have become weekly standbys in my house. Read morePublished on May 22 2002
Wonderful combination of travelogue and cookbook.
Incidentally as a note to one of the other reviewers, the coriander plant is known as cilantro in the US. Read more