A whirlwind tour through the streets of Thailand

By Sara Schwarz
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Thai Street Food by David Thompson

Thai Street Food by David Thompson [©Penguin Books (Australia 2009)]

Chef David Thompson, Australia's world renowned exponent of Thai cuisine

 

Be inspired this summer to step out of your comfort zone and into the fascinating world of Thai Street Food, as David Thompson takes us on a whirlwind tour of the people, places, stalls, markets and ingredients that make up this fascinating nation.

You can not help but be awed and inspired by David Thompson’s latest guide, Thai Street Food. Long recognized an a passionate expert in this arena, Thai Street Food is the long awaited sequel to his previous book, Thai Food and one that should sate the senses of his many followers. For the uninitiated, Thompson established Sydney’s Darley St Thai and also Nahm, his restaurant in London which was the first Thai establishment to be awarded a Michelin star.

Weighing in at three kilograms and with an RRP of A$100, Thai Street Food is not for the faint-hearted nor is it for a novice to south east Asian cuisine. For fans of the region and of David Thompson however, this book will be a truly welcome addition to the recipe collection, bringing the food and culture of Thailand to life.

Mention too must be made of the multitude of full page photographs within by the talented Earl Carter, a man equally passionate about the place and people. With the book’s matt finish and mouthwatering imagery, Carter truly captures the essence of the food and culture that has brought Thompson so much joy and inspiration since his first visit in the 1980s.

The recipes within this tome have not been dumbed down for inexperienced Western readers and will definitely challenge your procurement skills at times – as a regular shopper for Asian ingredients I’m yet to see banana blossom for sale in Melbourne for instance. However, most ingredients, with the aid of a good Asian grocery store will be readily procured. Neither too has his recipe methodology been simplified and with a bit of care and practice, a good cook should be able to turn out a reasonable (if not Michelin star) result.

Clearly, Thompson’s book is a celebration of street food in all its styles from canals to curry shops, and stir fry stalls to the markets. Thompson truly captures how essential food is to the Thai people – from talking about it, procuring it, preparing and consuming it. Here, everyone is a ‘foodie’ with the markets long having been the centre of gatherings and a lifeline to the rest of the world.

As much as it is a celebration, so too Thompson laments a burgeoning middle class who, busy with their urban lifestyles, are turning away from daily markets to Western style supermarkets just when we in the West are rediscovering our own farmer’s markets and local produce. This book seems to be Thompson's contribution to the conservation of such markets and street stalls which are at the heart of many communities across Thailand.

If you consider yourself a foodie or know someone who is, in addition to the publication of Thai Street Food, Thompson also has plans afoot to open a second restaurant in Bangkok very soon. Two inspirational reasons to consider jumping on the next available plane north!

 

Thai Street Food by David Thompson is published by Penguin Lantern (2009; pb) RRP $100.00. Subscribers and Members of VisitVineyards.com and Winepros Archive can purchase Thai Street Food from our book partners Seekbooks at 12.5% discount off RRP (postage extra).


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November 04th, 2009
 
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