The Food of Northern Thailand
A beautiful deep dive into the regional cuisine of northern Thailand with a documentarian's approach and a photographer's eye.
The food of northern Thailand is a world away from the highly refined, royal court- and Chinese-influenced style of cooking in Bangkok -- the Thai food that most of us are familiar with. It's a cuisine with its own distinct identity, one that is rustic and earthy, meaty and fragrant; one with roots in the Thai repertoire but with branches that extend into unfamiliar areas; a cuisine that feels ancient, but is ever evolving.
A writer, photographer, and travel-guide author, Austin Bush has lived in Thailand for nearly 20 years. In this book, Bush travels across northern Thailand to talk to the region's home cooks, academics, restaurateurs, writers, and hawkers. Their recipes and stories, along with Bush's photographs, capture the people, countryside, markets, and of course, dishes and cooking techniques of northern Thailand. Each of the chapters in the book will focus on a single province, giving a snapshot of the dishes, staple ingredients, cooking methods, and people specific to that area.
“I have been waiting for this book since the first time I ate laap meuang, way back in the early 90’s. You see, until now there has not been a comparable book in the English language that dives so deeply into the food culture of Northern Thailand. Austin has compiled an incredible collection of recipes and insights, as shown to him by the generous and talented cooks of the region whose stories he tells, highlighting their proud culinary techniques and traditions along the way. The Food of Northern Thailand is now my go-to reference for this amazing cuisine; it should be yours, too.”
–Andy Ricker, chef/owner Pok Pok Restaurants
“The Food of Northern Thailand is the first of its kind—a definitive portrait of a cuisine that is unique, esoteric and honestly, enigmatic to most. Humble guy that he is, Austin would never admit this, so I’ll say it—he is the greatest living authority on the subject and the only person who could have brought this project to fruition. Thai food fanatics, rejoice!”
–Kris Yenbamroong, chef and author of Night + Market
“The glory of northern Thai food comes shining through in The Food of Northern Thailand. You’ll find in it the dishes that are well known among Thai-food enthusiasts worldwide and the ones that only those deeply familiar with northern Thai food would know—all delicious, all presented the way they’re really made, and all sure to get you excited to make them in your kitchen.”
–Leela Punyaratabandhu, author of Bangkok and Simple Thai Food
“I couldn’t put this book down. In meticulous recipes, glossary, and text, Austin Bush transmits the extraordinary depth and breadth of Northern Thailand’s food culture with the assurance of deep familiarity and affection. My friends in northern Thailand will be thrilled to find their food celebrated with so much care and respect.”
–Naomi Duguid, author of Taste of Persia and Burma: Rivers of Flavor
“Austin has explored all parts of Thailand, every dusty village and it would seem every even dustier kitchen. And with each excursion into unfamiliar Austin records what he sees with a rare faithfulness. That’s why I admire Austin and trust in what he writes. This book on northern Thai food is yet another example of his impeccable research and commitment to authenticity.”
–David Thompson, cook, chef, restaurateur
“This is not just another Thai cookbook. It’s a remarkable ethnographic work on the cultures and kitchens of the people of Northern Thailand. Read it and let yourself be swept away on this delicious journey.”
–Pim Techamuanvivit, chef/owner of Kin Khao in San Francisco, and chef of Nahm, at the Como Metropolitan in Bangkok
“Austin Bush’s ode to northern Thailand is a charming head-turner. The images, stories, and recipes give you a multidimensional understanding of what makes Thai cuisine so damn interesting and delicious.”
–Andrea Nguyen, author of Into the Vietnamese Kitchen and The Pho Cookbook
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