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6 Top Southeast Asian Cookbooks

January 20, 2014

It's no secret that Asia boasts some of the world's most craveable cuisines. These cookbooks by our favorite chefs, food writers and bloggers offer meticulous instructions and gorgeous photographs to help you recreate the best dishes from your travels back in your own kitchen.

Published on Jan 20, 2014

Recipes by Ian Kittichai, text Joe Cummings

Gorgeously photographed, this coffee table-ready tome will sate fans of one of Bangkok’s best Thai fine dining restaurants. All of Kittichai’s signature dishes are here, including fall-off-the-bone-tender lamb shank braised in matsaman curry and smoked coconut cheesecake. Though many of the recipes are elaborate, the book is surprisingly accessible for the work of a celebrity chef.

Fuchsia Dunlop

The first Westerner to attend the Sichuan Culinary Institute, Dunlop long has been considered one of the foremost authorities on Chinese cuisine. After tackling incendiary Sichuan and hearty Hunanese cuisines, as well as penning a best-selling memoir, she offers us a simpler, more practical work. While Every Grain of Rice remains rigorously authentic, it focuses more on homecooking than baroque banquet preparations. The recipes are mostly within the range of even a novice cook. The emphasis is on a balanced, flexitarian sort of eating—so a vegetarian rendition of ma po tofu sits comfortably alongside a celebratory braised pork belly.

Joannès Rivière
Cambodian cuisine seldom gets international respect—a fact that Chef Rivière, of Cuisine Wat Damnak in Siem Reap, has been working to change. The restaurant’s rotating tasting menus are seasonal and contemporary, while remaining true to local flavors. In this debut cookbook, he introduces readers to the fundamentals, while at the same time aiding a worthy cause: proceeds help provide young Cambodians with the training to become chefs.

Naomi Duguid

One of the most talked about cookbooks in the last few years, the photos alone are enticing enough to make you want to book a ticket to Rangoon. Glossy pictures of morning markets and travel anecdotes punctuate the recipes for banana flower salad, golden egg curry and coconut sauce noodles.

James Oseland

This James Beard-award-winning volume is the result of two decades of research through the markets, street stalls, restaurants and home kitchens of Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. All the work paid off. Eminently readable, meticulously detailed and filled with genuine enthusiasm, this one will have you running to the stove to whip up a cinnamon-scented rendang.

Marvin Gapultos

When American-born Gapultos decided to get in touch with his Filipino roots, the result was a journey into what was, until recently, an underappreciated cuisine. One blog, an LA-based food truck and many trips to the Philippines later, Gapultos gives us 85 recipes dedicated to his family’s homecooking. Classics like pork and pineapple adobo are here, as are modernized riffs, such as a coconut milk risotto.


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