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Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia [Hardcover]

Jeffrey Alford , Naomi Duguid
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 60.00
Price: CDN$ 53.69 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Oct. 31 2000
Recognizing that the wonderful flavours and tastes of Southeast Asia spill over national borders, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid set out to eat their way through the Mekong region's towns and villages, large and small, collecting recipes, cooking techniques, stories and photographs. Hot Sour Salty Sweet is the glorious result of their travels in the region extending south from China, down through Cambodia to Vietnam and including parts of Laos, Burma and Thailand.

Dishes like Spicy Grilled Beef Salad and Vietnamese Chicken Salad with Fresh Herbs appear side by side with exotic treats like Jungle Curry from North Thailand and Pomelo Salad from Cambodia. There are simple warming soups, easy stir-fries and brilliant hot salsas. And for those with a taste for the sweet, desserts include the delectable Sweet Satin Custard and Bananas in Coconut Cream.

Throughout, the authors offer vivid descriptions of their days spent searching out the complex, seemingly contradictory flavours of hot, sour, salty and sweet and reveal the delightful shared culinary palate of the peoples of the Mekong.

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Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia + Seductions of Rice: A Cookbook + Burma: Rivers of Flavor
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Product Details

Product Description

From Amazon

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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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Top Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding in every way April 11 2002
By A. Wang
I too, am a cookbook collector. My shelves are so crowded now that I have to think very carefully about any new additions. Hot Sour Salty Sweet has exceeded all expectations. It is beautiful, educational, entertaining, not to mention that it has wonderful, accessible recipes that taste authentic. Overall, it is the single best cookbook that I have purchased in the last few years and I have gotten many good ones.
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5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING! Best Cookbook in my collection! Nov. 21 2001
By A Customer
I am, admittedly, a coockbook hoarder. I have them everywhere -- even in the drawers of my nightstand and tucked under the bed. I read them cover-to-cover like other people read novels.
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!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Star Flavour Hits! Nov. 15 2000
By A Customer
If you love flavour, you have to have this book. Thai food introduced many of us to that culinary balance of hot, sour, salty and sweet, which gives this book its name. Alford and Duguid reveal the similarities and differences in the cuisines of neighbouring worlds along the Mekong.
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not just a coffee table book! Nov. 15 2001
I usually pick my cookbooks by number of recipes and quality of instruction. It is seldom I buy a cookbook that has lots of pictures and non-recipe discourse. However, this is probably one of the best cookbooks I have purchased in the last 2 years. It has clear, concise recipes from my favorite region for food - practically fool-proof (my husband even made the bok choi successfully!).
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!
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5.0 out of 5 stars an amazing book May 3 2001
By m
this book is truly a work of art and love... Whoever these people are you can tell that they truly enjoyed making this book, or living the life experinces that they recount in this book. the pictures are beautiful and help greatly to tell the story of the recipes and experiences..... now..... All this could be the case and the recipes could be $hit... and it would make a beautiful coffee table coaster... but they're not... these recipes are good, from the five or six that i've tried, well written and precise. A solid introduction to south east asian flavours and ingredients with nice, acessible home-style dishes.
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By j piers
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An excellent clearly written book about the countries along the Mekong River. The recipes have an air of authenticity, the stories about this young Canadian couple and their childs travel in this area fascinating. The food descriptions and the cultures well worth reading. The photos and the illustrations are riveting. I have bought several of this book to give as presents . I treasure mine and keep in on my coffee table along with some other memorable ones. But I also use the receipes regularly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding culinary experience May 29 2001
This is the most compelling cookbook I have ever had in the more than 50 years I've been cooking (and eating). Usually I skim cookbooks, just picking out the best sounding recipes. But, in this book, I read (and salivated over) every word. Upon finishing, I immediately ordered another copy to be sent to one of my brothers and his wife who also love to travel and cook. All of the recipes I've tried so far have been fabulous.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic July 22 2010
I bought this book after being at a friend's place a few times for dinner. I asked about the recipes that she used and each time it was from this book. The book is more than just a cookbook of fantastic, authentic food. It is also a photo essay of Southeast Asia. The authors have spent much time traveling the area and add gorgeous photos and tales of their experiences. I highly recommend this book for food lovers.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
It has excellent recipes, great stories and lovely pictures...a great accompaniment to Mangoes and Curry Leaves.
Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet
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
Published on Sept. 25 2013 by Mirna Jebsen
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice pix ... little substance.
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 more
Published on Sept. 5 2010 by C. J. Thompson
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing special
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 more
Published on Sept. 6 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Sure book is fine but binding wasn't
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 more
Published on June 15 2003 by D. Downie
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and Usable
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 more
Published on May 22 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Great combination of travelogue and cookbook
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
Published on Jan. 20 2002 by R. Stokes
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Book
I can't cook because I can't quit looking at this book long enough to do so. Gorgeous print and photos. Bravo to the authors. Thank you for sharing your journey.
Published on Jan. 20 2002 by Deanna Campbell
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