Inside The Southeast Asian Kitchen

A compendium of foodlore, flavours and cooking, inside The Southeast Asian Kitchen, the book magnificently showcases the diversity of country, culture and food where we, the guests, feast on a rich tapestry of life, colour and aroma through the meticulous photography of Neal Oshima.

Forwarded by Ong Keng Yong, Secretary General of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), the objectives of this culmination are succinctly explained:

“Southeast Asia is renowned for its diverse and rich cultural traditions. But, without exception, what we take the most pride in is our food. From signature dishes such as satay, Vietnamese pho, Tai tom yam soup or Indonesian gado-gado, the delicious, fresh and flavourful food of Southeast Asia has become famous throughout the world.

Inside the Southeast Asian Kitchen draws together, in one volume, the region’s notable food writers and culinary experts. They capture the essence of our beloved dishes and share their unique characteristics with readers through colourful pictures and heritage recipes.

Through this appetizing showcase, Inside The Southeast Asian Kitchen offers a truly gastronomic tour of ASEAN, comprising Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. Our passion for eating reveals the unity that all ASEAN citizens share in the diversity of our distinctive food and cooking.

The value of this book lies not only in its celebration of ASEAN’s cuisine and kitchen secrets. It is also an expression of Southeast Asian openness and inclusiveness in the globalized family.”

As either an experienced cook or a newcomer to Southeast Asian cuisine, follow a trail of discovery, sharing in wisdom from communal kitchens or dinner at a grandparents table to help understand what makes this region so unique. Food and culture are inherently entwined so where better to begin than by cooking.

Using a wonderfully simple format, each chapter begins with a culinary history followed by well written authentic recipes without unnecessarily complicated procedures, especially designed for the contemporary home kitchen. Accompanied by considered advice on ingredients and specific techniques, discover a tribute to home cooking, meticulously passed down from generation to generation. The difficulty which may be encountered will be exactly where to begin cooking in this treasure trove of mouth-watering recipes.

Courtesy of ArtPost Asia Pte Ltd, publisher of Inside The Southeast Asian Kitchen, I am delighted to be able to share a selection of recipes with the Recipes2Share community. Bearing the earlier mentioned difficulties in mind, the choice of recipes was almost made at random, a self-imposed criteria being to choose a range of regions, differing staple foods then sticking rigidly to both ingredients and instructions. Click on the links below to be taken directly to the recipes.

The results were outstanding with shamefully healthy, invigorating food. Flavours were clean, textures blended and aromas delicious.

However beautifully presented, the true test of a cookery book must be to consider how many recipes would actually be prepared from it and how well do the recipes work? Are ingredients easily available and the instructions easily followed?

Paris based and determined to source good quality, authentic ingredients such as banana leaves, tamarind pulp and terasi was an exciting reason to visit Tang Frères, the famous China Town supermarket in the 13th arrondissement. Here, without exception, all the necessary ingredients were sourced plus many irresistible impulse purchases, of course. It is prudent to note here, that the supermarket does posses its own car park which would alleviate future struggling with heavy packages on Metro trains.

True to the pledge of Inside The Southeast Asian Kitchen, the recipes were easily prepared showing attention to detail and advice on specific components. As a useful extra, the book also gave some ingredient substitutions and advice on practical cookery techniques, thereby obliterating even a mere suggestion of error.

I urge you to whet your appetite from my selection of recipes. I certainly feel privileged to share this insight into the Southeast Asian mosaic of food and culture where I now invite you to join me to explore and uncover new favourites, preparing a seemingly endless fusion of dishes along the way.