It’s not often that I do book reviews. But the publisher’s of a recently released book on the Best of Thailand’s Street Food were kind enough to send me a copy of the snappily titled ‘Thailand’s Best Street Food’ and it turns out it’s a very interesting & informative read. In fact, it’s ideal for anyone visiting Thailand and wanting to find out just what it is that they sell at those roadside stalls and how to go about ordering it.
A few years ago street food hit the big time when world renowned restaurateur David Thompson published his book on Thai street food. This was a monster, 370 page hardback book. Packed full of great photos and recipes. It was the ideal coffee table book. Which was great, unless you happened to be travelling to Thailand and wanted a guide that could help you whilst you were actually here.
This is where longtime Bangkok resident and foodie, Chawadee Nualkhair’s book ‘Thailand’s Best Street Food‘ fits in. Its 160 pages are small enough to fit in a bag or backpack pocket and it’s packed, not only with info on specific dishes but also on where you can find them in Bangkok and elsewhere around the country. There are photos of the dishes and the stalls and small shops. But it’s not a glossy photo essay. The aim of the book is to provide, real, practical information for anyone visiting Thailand and wanting to not only learn about the different types of street food on offer but also the best places to try them. There also a dozen recipes, so you can try re-creating some of the signature dishes from longstanding food stalls in your own kitchen.
The book starts off by introducing the reader to the concept of street food and then going through the different types of food available and the common ingredients and finally the specific dishes available. So before you head out onto the streets, you will know what type of food you want to look for and sample. Then it’s just a matter of using the listings in the guide to pick an area of Bangkok or one of the other locations around Thailand listed, and heading to the stall of your choice.
All the listings in this street food guide come with maps with directions on how to find each particular stall; their specialty; the serving options & drinks available; type of seating – if any; plus of course, information on the bathroom facilities.
Use this book to get familiar with the various types of street food, their names and the recommended places to try them. One you’ve discovered what you like – or don’t like – it will make visiting any location in Thailand more interesting and open up a whole new world of possibilities. You’ll be able to spot a stall from across the road or walk past and glance at the cart and know what they are selling and also how it should taste like.
The only criticism would be that it is Bangkok centric, but there again most visitors to Thailand will pass through Bangkok and so it’s the best place to learn about street food. Other major cities are covered, however as the book is intended to showcase the best on offer, you won’t find many listings for obvious tourist traps. ( There’s nothing for Koh Chang – but that’s to be expected. Whilst there are good restaurants here, there’s no longstanding, local delicacies or stalls from the days before tourism. If you are in search of street food then Trat town would be the nearest place to visit. There’s a very good night market on a street lined with stalls all selling types of food described in this book. )
Thailand’s Best Street Food – Priced at US$15.95.
Available now at all branches of Asia Books and Kinokuniya bookstores and through Amazon & other good online booksellers.