74 books like Plants and People of the Golden Triangle

By Edward Anderson,

Here are 74 books that Plants and People of the Golden Triangle fans have personally recommended if you like Plants and People of the Golden Triangle. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Traditional Recipes of Laos

Natacha Du Pont de Bie Author Of Ant Egg Soup: The Adventures Of A Food Tourist In Laos

From my list on Lao cuisine and food culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by Lao Food for more than two decades. When I first went to Laos, the communist regime had closed the country for years but the isolation had kept the food culture in stasis, uncontaminated by outside influences. It was virtually unknown outside the regional area and deserved to be better known and celebrated. Lao cuisine is a remarkable synthesis of a thousand years of history, culture, and, as the French would say ‘terroir’, that unique context of land and farming practice that results in regional flavour. I love that authentic food, and I admire the beautiful country, and the friends I have made in my exploration of both. 

Natacha's book list on Lao cuisine and food culture

Natacha Du Pont de Bie Why did Natacha love this book?

In 2000 I read a sentence in a guidebook stating that there was only one book in print on Lao cuisine written in the English language. The lone cookbook was called Traditional Recipes of Laos and was printed by Prospect Books, a tiny publisher of culinary academia and rare recipes. It was a real find, for it contained the recipes of the late king of Laos’s chef, Phia Sing – the recipes of the royal court of Laos! This book sent me to Laos to find out more and write my own book.

The story behind the publication of the book was extraordinary. The king’s chef had handwritten his precious recipes in two small exercise books, which on his deathbed in 1967, he gave to the Crown Prince for safe-keeping. In 1974, Alan Davidson, the British ambassador to Laos and respected food academic, happened to be chatting to his Royal…

By Phia Sing,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Traditional Recipes of Laos as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This version reestablishes the Lao text and prints the English unchanged from previous editions. The notebooks are a precious resource for those wishing to cook Lao food: the 124 recipes were compiled to give a balanced view of the cuisine (albeit from quite a high-ranking perspective). In the thirty years since its first appearance, materials and ingredients have become easier to source, and the cooking techniques and styles more familiar to us. The dishes, therefore, are very cookable. There is a long prefatory section, written by the late Alan Davidson and his daughter Jennifer, which explains much about Lao cookery,…


Book cover of Food From Northern Laos: The Boat Landing Cookbook

Natacha Du Pont de Bie Author Of Ant Egg Soup: The Adventures Of A Food Tourist In Laos

From my list on Lao cuisine and food culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by Lao Food for more than two decades. When I first went to Laos, the communist regime had closed the country for years but the isolation had kept the food culture in stasis, uncontaminated by outside influences. It was virtually unknown outside the regional area and deserved to be better known and celebrated. Lao cuisine is a remarkable synthesis of a thousand years of history, culture, and, as the French would say ‘terroir’, that unique context of land and farming practice that results in regional flavour. I love that authentic food, and I admire the beautiful country, and the friends I have made in my exploration of both. 

Natacha's book list on Lao cuisine and food culture

Natacha Du Pont de Bie Why did Natacha love this book?

This is a cookbook documenting northern Lao food preparation, Lao ingredients, and Lao recipes by a couple, Dorothy and Kees, who worked in Laos as volunteers. They met with many people I knew and wrote about including the family who ran The Boat Landing guesthouse. This is an extremely well-researched book on the food of the Luang Namtha district, which includes excellent photography, precise recipes, ingredient explanations, and a clear glossary. The recipes are authentic to the core so you might not be able to source many of the ingredients outside Laos but it’s an important book for anyone interested in Lao cuisine.

By Dorothy Culloty, Kees Sprengers (photographer),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Food From Northern Laos as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Includes over 400 color photographs. "An encyclopaedic resource for lovers of Lao food everywhere!" The little known cultures and cuisine of Northern Laos (Lao PDR) are showcased in the recipes of its local ethnic groups and Luang Namtha Province's premiere ecotourism lodge. Eighty-eight dishes from Lao, Khmu, Tai Dam, Tai Yuan and Akha are presented in clear, simple recipes. The stunning photography of life and food preparation in village homes and at The Boat Landing Guest House and Restaurant ties the dishes to their indigenous setting. This unique cookbook includes: 80+ recipes from Laos, a 28-page photo-illustrated glossary of Lao…


Book cover of Fish and Fish Dishes of Laos

Natacha Du Pont de Bie Author Of Ant Egg Soup: The Adventures Of A Food Tourist In Laos

From my list on Lao cuisine and food culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by Lao Food for more than two decades. When I first went to Laos, the communist regime had closed the country for years but the isolation had kept the food culture in stasis, uncontaminated by outside influences. It was virtually unknown outside the regional area and deserved to be better known and celebrated. Lao cuisine is a remarkable synthesis of a thousand years of history, culture, and, as the French would say ‘terroir’, that unique context of land and farming practice that results in regional flavour. I love that authentic food, and I admire the beautiful country, and the friends I have made in my exploration of both. 

Natacha's book list on Lao cuisine and food culture

Natacha Du Pont de Bie Why did Natacha love this book?

This is a reprinting of Alan Davidson's study of the fish cookery of Laos. It contains a catalogue of species, as well as a collection of recipes. This book is an invaluable companion to have in hand while you peruse the markets in Laos or the regions around it. However, like his seminal work The Oxford Companion to Food, Davidson’s meticulous empirical approach to research and his indomitable knack for finding an amusing anecdote makes it an excellent armchair read too.

By Alan Davidson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fish and Fish Dishes of Laos as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a reprinting of Alan Davidson's study of the fish cookery of Laos. There is also much information on cooking materials and ingredients. This book has been out of print for more than two decades and its reappearance is eagerly awaited. The critical thing to remember about the fish dishes of Laos is that there is no seaside and that all the fish live in the Mekong river and its tributaries. That great stream runs from China in the north to the Falls of Khong to the south. It forms the border between Laos and Bhurma (Myanmar), and Laos…


Book cover of Hawker Fare: Stories & Recipes from a Refugee Chef's Isan Thai & Lao Roots

Natacha Du Pont de Bie Author Of Ant Egg Soup: The Adventures Of A Food Tourist In Laos

From my list on Lao cuisine and food culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by Lao Food for more than two decades. When I first went to Laos, the communist regime had closed the country for years but the isolation had kept the food culture in stasis, uncontaminated by outside influences. It was virtually unknown outside the regional area and deserved to be better known and celebrated. Lao cuisine is a remarkable synthesis of a thousand years of history, culture, and, as the French would say ‘terroir’, that unique context of land and farming practice that results in regional flavour. I love that authentic food, and I admire the beautiful country, and the friends I have made in my exploration of both. 

Natacha's book list on Lao cuisine and food culture

Natacha Du Pont de Bie Why did Natacha love this book?

Many children of Lao refugees, who fled the communist take-over in the ’70s, are now coming of age and sharing their take on Lao cooking across the globe. Hawkers Fare details the story of James Syhabout who earned his spurs as a chef at hallowed restaurants such as The Fat Duck and El Bulli before opening his own Commis in Oakland and gaining two Michelin stars of his own.

Though known for fine dining this book is a homage to his Lao roots and his journey of discovery into his origins as the son of refugees who came to the US with nothing but their ability to work hard. He tells their story and returns to Laos himself where he picks up the flavours of his mother’s homeland with the scrupulous nose of a super-chef. It includes recipes that are both authentic but, unusually, measured out with pinpoint accuracy in…

By James Syhabout, John Birdsall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hawker Fare as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From chef James Syhabout of two–Michelin-star restaurant Commis, an Asian-American cookbook like no other—simple recipes for cooking home-style Thai and Lao dishes

James Syhabout’s hugely popular Hawker Fare restaurant in San Francisco is the product of his unique family history and diverse career experience. Born into two distinct but related Asian cultures—from his mother’s ancestral village in Isan, Thailand’s northeast region, and his father’s home in Pakse, Laos—he and his family landed in Oakland in 1981 in a community of other refugees from the Vietnam War. Syhabout at first turned away from the food of his heritage to work in…


Book cover of Many Lives

Dian Seidel Author Of Kindergarten at 60: A Memoir of Teaching in Thailand

From my list on helping “farangs” understand what makes Thailand tick.

Why am I passionate about this?

After retiring from a career in climate science, I reinvented myself as an English teacher, a yoga instructor, and a writer. I write personal essays about my life experiences, in particular my time teaching in Thailand. Before I traveled to Thailand, while I was there, and when I returned home to the US, I devoured every book I could find that could help me make sense of Thai culture and manage as a farang (foreigner, Westerner) in the Land of Smiles. Here are my five picks for helping other farangs understand Thailand.

Dian's book list on helping “farangs” understand what makes Thailand tick

Dian Seidel Why did Dian love this book?

The “many lives” in this series of linked short stories are those of eleven passengers who perish when a Bangkok-bound boat capsizes in a fierce storm.

I relished each story of each life, both as a literary gem and as an insight into something fundamental about Thai society, such as the importance of social class, the role of urban migration in altering provincial life, the potentially stifling aspects of intergenerational family obligations, and the overriding role of karma in Thai conceptions of life and death.

To me, Many Lives is to Thai culture what Thornton Wilder’s classic Our Town is to American culture.

By M. R. Kukrit Pramoj, Meredith Borthwick (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Many Lives as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"That night, the rain poured and wind howled, raindrops crashing like solid objects onto the ground and water. A passenger boat from Ban Phaen to Bangkok, packed with people, pressed on through the current amidst the rising clamor of the rain and storm. . . ." The boat capsizes in the torrent, and washed up on the shore the next morning are the sodden bodies of the many passengers who lost their lives.

Thus begins M. R. Kukrit Pramoj's classic novel set in the Thailand of the early 1950s and first published in 1954. The life of each passenger who…


Book cover of Mercy's Heroes: The Fight for Human Dignity in the Bangkok Slums

Dian Seidel Author Of Kindergarten at 60: A Memoir of Teaching in Thailand

From my list on helping “farangs” understand what makes Thailand tick.

Why am I passionate about this?

After retiring from a career in climate science, I reinvented myself as an English teacher, a yoga instructor, and a writer. I write personal essays about my life experiences, in particular my time teaching in Thailand. Before I traveled to Thailand, while I was there, and when I returned home to the US, I devoured every book I could find that could help me make sense of Thai culture and manage as a farang (foreigner, Westerner) in the Land of Smiles. Here are my five picks for helping other farangs understand Thailand.

Dian's book list on helping “farangs” understand what makes Thailand tick

Dian Seidel Why did Dian love this book?

Tom Crowley is an American writer who has experienced Thailand from many perspectives over many decades: as a soldier during the Vietnam War, as a corporate executive, as a US foreign service officer, and as a volunteer at Mercy Centre, a Catholic charitable organization.

This poignant memoir is a series of vignettes that focus on Crowley’s traumatic wartime experiences and the healing he found years later working with desperate children in one of Bangkok’s poorest slums. I picked this book because it shows a part of Thailand that most farangs never see.

By Tom Crowley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mercy's Heroes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Mercy's Heroes, a Vietnam veteran battling with PTSD turns from the business world to life as a volunteer, helping to rescue and protect street kids in Bangkok's biggest slum.

Here Tom Crowley details the children's efforts to survive abuse and the struggle for dignity waged by the poorest of families. Interwoven throughout, the author's combat experiences and pain highlight the question of how to find personal reconciliation amid the struggles of abused children in the slums. In his efforts to help others, he gains a spiritual understanding worth much more than his financial loss. At the same time, he…


Book cover of The Forgotten Island

Steve Stred Author Of Mastodon

From my list on non-typical creature-feature books.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I was a little boy, I’ve been fascinated by all things ‘creatures’–from massive Grizzly bears that roam the mountains to Kraken that swim in the depths of the oceans to massive Anaconda that are worshiped in the Amazon rainforest. Having discovered The Weekly World News tabloids at my grandma’s, I couldn’t get enough of what makes us question what lurks in the trees or swim in the waters around us. I’ve taken that love of all things cryptid and used those moments of awe and fear that I had while discovering these creatures all those years ago and placed them into the novels I write.

Steve's book list on non-typical creature-feature books

Steve Stred Why did Steve love this book?

This book gives us a non-typical main character thrust into a horrible situation–lost on an island the locals refuse to visit.

There, she finds horrendous creatures have inhabited a subterranean area. Told with frantic pacing, this book is hard to put down.

By David Sodergren,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Forgotten Island as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Ana Logan agrees to go on holiday to Thailand with her estranged sister Rachel, she hopes it will be a way for them to reconnect after years of drifting apart.

But now, stranded on a seemingly deserted island paradise with no radio and no food, reconciliation becomes a desperate fight for survival.

For when night falls on The Forgotten Island, the dark secrets of the jungle reveal themselves. Something is watching them from the trees.

Something ancient.

Something evil.

Combining the cosmic horrors of HP Lovecraft with the grimy sensibilities of the Video Nasties, The Forgotten Island is an…


Book cover of Mai Pen Rai Means Never Mind

Dian Seidel Author Of Kindergarten at 60: A Memoir of Teaching in Thailand

From my list on helping “farangs” understand what makes Thailand tick.

Why am I passionate about this?

After retiring from a career in climate science, I reinvented myself as an English teacher, a yoga instructor, and a writer. I write personal essays about my life experiences, in particular my time teaching in Thailand. Before I traveled to Thailand, while I was there, and when I returned home to the US, I devoured every book I could find that could help me make sense of Thai culture and manage as a farang (foreigner, Westerner) in the Land of Smiles. Here are my five picks for helping other farangs understand Thailand.

Dian's book list on helping “farangs” understand what makes Thailand tick

Dian Seidel Why did Dian love this book?

I devoured Carol Hollinger’s 1964 memoir of her years teaching English in Thailand as I was preparing to do the same thing.

Though Thailand and the wider world had changed enormously in the six decades separating Hollinger’s adventure from mine, I loved this self-described American “matron’s” story about raising a family, running a household, fulfilling social obligations, and, oh yes, teaching English at one of Thailand’s premier universities.

With a refreshing openness of mind and spirit, and despite using some dated language, her observations about Thai people, culture, and customs still resonate today. And her title, Mai Pen Rai Means Never Mind, really captures an essential and enduring aspect of Thai culture.

By Carol Hollinger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mai Pen Rai Means Never Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Finding Venerable Mother: A Daughter's Spiritual Quest to Thailand

Judith Teitelman Author Of Guesthouse for Ganesha

From my list on exploring the search for sanctuary.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been a seeker, fascinated by all cultures, philosophies, and spiritual perspectives. Although the concept is often different—for some, it’s a place of refuge, feeling safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble; for others, it’s a state of being, an inner peace, I’ve found that the search for sanctuary—safe-haven—elsewhere—has ancient roots and contemporary reverberations. My novel, Guesthouse for Ganesha, further heightened my interest in this subject, for my protagonist, Esther Grünspan, both deeply wounded and unsafe, was compelled to seek sanctuary. As a first-time novelist with an 18-year journey to publication, I fully immersed myself in this topic’s study and comprehension.

Judith's book list on exploring the search for sanctuary

Judith Teitelman Why did Judith love this book?

Writing a memoir is a brave act, especially one that shares a personal and spiritual exploration, and Cindy Rasicot’s engaging Finding Venerable Mother does just that. I applaud her honesty. Within these pages, I experienced, first, her encounter and then budding relationship with Dhammananda Bhikkhuni, Thailand’s first female Buddhist monk. Along the way, Ms. Rasicot frankly shares personal health challenges, obstacles she encountered living in a foreign country, and, ultimately, triumphs. It is a story of love and acceptance, healing and hope. 

By Cindy Rasicot,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Finding Venerable Mother as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Cindy moves to Thailand with her husband and teenage son, she finds herself strangely adrift in a foreign culture, unprepared for the challenges she encounters there. On an impulse she signs up for a conference where she unexpectedly meets a Thai Buddhist nun, Venerable Dhammananda Bhikkhuni, who leads her on a spiritual journey from which there is no turning back. Along the way she discovers the beauty of the Thai people and culture.

This soulful and engaging memoir is the story of one woman's journey of physical, emotional, and spiritual healing through her connection to a loving Buddhist teacher…


Book cover of Sightseeing

Dian Seidel Author Of Kindergarten at 60: A Memoir of Teaching in Thailand

From my list on helping “farangs” understand what makes Thailand tick.

Why am I passionate about this?

After retiring from a career in climate science, I reinvented myself as an English teacher, a yoga instructor, and a writer. I write personal essays about my life experiences, in particular my time teaching in Thailand. Before I traveled to Thailand, while I was there, and when I returned home to the US, I devoured every book I could find that could help me make sense of Thai culture and manage as a farang (foreigner, Westerner) in the Land of Smiles. Here are my five picks for helping other farangs understand Thailand.

Dian's book list on helping “farangs” understand what makes Thailand tick

Dian Seidel Why did Dian love this book?

Sightseeing is a contemporary short story collection that would appeal to any reader who appreciates great writing, beautiful imagery, finely sketched characters, and sensitive exploration of human relations.

I loved it because Rattawut Lapcharoensap is a Thai-American author whose depictions of both cultures ring true and whose Thai characters are not shy about sharing their opinions about farangs.

Though the focus is always on the personal and interpersonal, these stories have an underlying current of social commentary that touches on issues as wide-ranging as traffic safety, public health, prostitution, tourism, and animal welfare.

By Rattawut Lapcharoensap,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Sightseeing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A collection of stories set in modern-day Thailand depicts this Asian country on the crossroads between the ancient and the modern, focusing on issues of family relations, romance, generational conflicts, and cultural changes.


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