Culinary voyeurism. If that is what Andy Ricker is selling, I’m buying it.
But let’s back up a bit. My first experience with Thai food was in my twenties. I was in a gift shop specializing in salsa and, on impulse, bought a green chile salsa called Thai Jungle Salsa. It was unique in that most of the other green salsas were all tomatillo-based. It was delicious. Green chiles, garlic, lime. In terms of heat, it was just a step outside of my comfort zone. That didn’t stop me. I started to order it online and went into mourning when it was discontinued.
I’m a red-faced to admit that my Thai food experience doesn’t go much beyond that. I’ve had Pad Thai dishes of what I assume is varying levels of authenticity. I’ve made a few of what I would call Thai-inspired dishes. Really, I’m a neophyte.
I, with my yen for food and travel porn, had a wonderful day reading through Andy Ricker’s POK POK The Drinking Food of Thailand: A Cookbook. For me, it was evocative and something I savored. He does an amazing job of describing the sites, sounds, smells, and tastes you’d find travelling throughout Thailand. That, combined with having watched tons food and travel documentaries, has given me a vivid picture in my mind’s eye. How authentic that picture is remains to be seen… but there is one thing for certain. I want to eat my way across the country.
Barring no immediate plans to travel overseas, I’ll happily settle for making my own home versions of some of the dishes that Andy Ricker presents.
On My ‘To Make’ List
(This list would probably be longer if some of the recipe items were more readily available locally.)
- Samun Phrai: Fried Peanuts with Makrut Lime Leaves, Garlic, and Chiles
- Yam Met Mamuang Himaphaan: Fried Cashews with Salt, Chiles, and Green Onions
- Naam Phrik Num: Green Chile Dip
- En Kai Thawt: Fried Chicken Tendons
- Neua/Muu Daet Diaw: Fried Semidried Beef/Pork
- Jin Tup: Hammered Flank Steak
- BBQ: Thai-Style Barbecue Beef Skewers
- Hang Muu Yaang: Grilled Pig’s Tails
- Laap Phrae: Phrae-Style Minced Pork Salad
- Khua Haem Pik Kai: Stir-Fried Chicken Wings with Hot Basil and Chiles
- Muu Ping: Grilled Pork Skewers
- Naam Jim Kai: Sweet Chile Dipping Sauce
This review is based on a NetGalley ARC provided in exchange for an honest, unbiased opinion.