The best books about Lao cuisine

1 authors have picked their favorite books about Lao cuisine and why they recommend each book.

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Book cover of Traditional Recipes of Laos

Traditional Recipes of Laos

By Phia Sing,

Why 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…

From the list:

The best books on Lao cuisine and food culture

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

Food From Northern Laos: The Boat Landing Cookbook

By Dorothy Culloty, Kees Sprengers (photographer),

Why 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…
From the list:

The best books on Lao cuisine and food culture

Book cover of Fish and Fish Dishes of Laos

Fish and Fish Dishes of Laos

By Alan Davidson,

Why 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.
From the list:

The best books on Lao cuisine and food culture

Book cover of Plants and People of the Golden Triangle: Ethnobotany of the Hill Tribes of Northern Thailand

Plants and People of the Golden Triangle: Ethnobotany of the Hill Tribes of Northern Thailand

By Edward Anderson,

Why this book?

A superb, illustrated coffee-table book describing the Hill Tribes and their relations to plants from cultivation and marketing, to nutrition and spiritual use. Though not specifically about Laos, many of the tribes are in Laos too and they cross borders. An important book for the conservation of tribal knowledge and food culture.

From the list:

The best books on Lao cuisine and food culture

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

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

By James Syhabout, John Birdsall,

Why 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…

From the list:

The best books on Lao cuisine and food culture

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