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Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  1,269 ratings  ·  74 reviews
A guide to bold, authentic Thai cooking from Andy Ricker, the chef and owner of the wildly popular and widely lauded Pok Pok restaurants.
     After decades spent traveling throughout Thailand, Andy Ricker wanted to bring the country's famed street food stateside. In 2005 he opened Pok Pok, so named for the sound a pestle makes when it strikes a clay mortar, in an old shack
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 29th 2013 by Ten Speed Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 4.20  · 
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 ·  1,269 ratings  ·  74 reviews

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Aug 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: culinary
Good, although not as enjoyable as I'd hoped. I always find it off-putting when cookbook authors "other" the cuisine with repeated warnings about how unfamiliar, foreign, scary, etc the food is to you, the reader. I know I grew up in an area with an unusually high mix of different ethnicities, but are most people really that scared of "foreign" food? Okay, maybe they are. But for me personally it was annoying and I felt like interrupting to say, "Look, I've had Thai food before, okay?"

DelAnne Frazee
Oct 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Title: Pok Pok - Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand
Author: Andy Ricker & JJ Goode
Illustrator: Austin Bush
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Published: 10-29-2013
ISBN: 13-978-1-60774-288-3
Pages: 304
Genre: Food & Wine
Tags: Cooking, Hobbies

I personally enjoy cooking foods from other cultures, yet when it came to Thai food I bought into the belief that getting the ingredients to make some of the more savory dishes I had at restaurants was next
Jul 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Picked this up in a charity shop amongst others about Thai cuisine, presumably donated by the same person.
As it is priced only in US and Canadian Dollars I guess it's not sold in the UK.
Firstly a general criticism. Why, oh why, are so many cookbooks printed on such thick paper and with this one, such ridiculously thick covers. This, and the way in which it is bound, makes it impossible to open in anything like a flat position which you need if referring to it whilst cooking the recipe.

That said
Dec 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is my new favourite cookbook and hands down my new favourite Thai cookbook.

I've always been a fan of David Thompson's books, but I find his recipes to be quite complicated and time consuming. I'm so happy to have found a cookbook that is easy to follow and has so many of my favourite Thai recipes in it. I didn't think I'd be able to eat like this again unless I went back to Bangkok (oh how I miss kuaytiaw). Of course it isn't quite the same without the heat, the noise, the not always so ple
Nov 06, 2013 added it
Shelves: 2014, cookbooks
Made, among other things, Kung Op Wun Sen (shrimp and glass noodles baked in a clay pot) and stir-fried water spinach. Although part of the joy in cooking from this book is in buying the various hard-to-find ingredients, contrary to what Ricker says it isn't the end of the world if you omit one of them, or even use a substitution. I did not cook the Kung Op Wun Sen in a tao, for example. Ricker grudgingly admits in the text that you can use a gas stovetop, and I'll tell you that you won't get th ...more
Insufferable white dude pedantry about “authentic Thai food” amidst some impressive, delicious, and impossibly difficult recipes. I have no doubt that this is well-researched and largely accurate representation of the flavors, methods, and even the spirit of Thai cooking, even in instances where we see a version or a take on something traditional, but the voice— at once long-suffering, admonishing, and holier-than-thou— was the worst of mansplaining blather. Sorry, Pok Pok— I’d rather eat bastar ...more
Aja Marsh
4-4.5 -- i have yet to visit the restaurant, but i thought this was a really beautifully done book. i still feel intimidated by making authentic thai food, but the photographs were amazing, and i mentally ate everything, picking out the meaty bits. mmmmm. i also liked his stories and approach. definitely one i'd consider for my cookbook library-- i really like books that go in depth into specific cuisines! ...more
Dec 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
incredibly authentic, and so i will never be able to make one of these recipes. the author plumly states his recipes are not to be tampered with, so unless you are willing to commit to buying your shriveled limes and your galangal root from internet purveyors, this book is a long (but colorful and enriching) f you to home cooks. recommended.
Aug 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food-stuffs
Fun! But I will never make anything from this cookbook. I'd rather go out for Thai than go shopping for hard-to-find-in-America ingredients. And any excuse to go to Pok Pok makes me happy. ...more
Nov 12, 2019 rated it liked it
I feel many of the reviews of this book come from those who may not have much experience with truly authentic thai food. Andy Ricker does his best to recreate and capture the thai palate, a task that is greatly varied and difficult to nail down. The stories, accompanying text, show his command of the ingredients at hand, however some recipes are rather lackluster. As a person of Thai heritage, raised on home cooked thai food, cooking thai food myself, and regular frequenter of the best authentic ...more
Laura Belle
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
I lived one block up from the original Pok Pok shack when they first opened a decade or so ago. It was an amazing and dangerous place for my bus to drop me off. The air scented with lemongrass, garlic and game hens, roasting on the charcoal grill.

My sister and brother in law bought this cookbook for me when I moved to Seattle and couldn't get my Ike's fish sauce Wings fix as regularly. I make my version of the wings and always get compliments. FISH SAUCE FTW!! I was actually just at the Wing Sho
Raheel Shaharyar
Apr 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: food
As somebody who really enjoys Thai food I had really been looking forward to this book when it was first published and bought it as soon as I was able to. I enjoyed the writing and the personal anecdotes that the author had peppered throughout the book. I found the approach to cooking his particular style of Thai food not very approachable. I have eaten in his restaurant, the food was amazing and one I would definitely go back to. This book however is not one that I turn to on a regular basis. I ...more
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting take on Thai cooking for American readers

I have not made any of the recipes from this book yet. They are a bit intimidating.

That being said, I love the food at Pok Pok, and have some experience with cooking Burmese food (from family). So I wanted to get into trying out some Thai dishes. I have marked several that seem approachable for a first try.

The background stories are what make this cookbook fun and more informative. You get a sense for where each dish comes from.

I really apprec
Adam Clark
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cooking
the recipes in this cookbook are phenomenal. i was never disappointed and often looked forward to the labor of love involved in cooking each meal. the only thing keeping me from giving this 5 stars is that the amount of special equipment needed, the difficulty of finding some of the ingredients, and the time it takes to make each meal (especially if you need to make the fried shallots or shrimp paste or whatever before you even start a recipe) is a big of a drag if you don't have time or are tir ...more
Jan 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: cooking
A beautiful cookbook - that makes you want to travel and eat. however I found the ingredients daunting - the thought of having to track them down. Although the recipes looked so much more authentic to what I have eaten in Thailand than many other books. One to go back to when I have the urge to cook thai
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book. Most recepes are new to me. Surprised how many require shrimp paste. Does a fairly good job in showing the regional varietion of Thai cooking. Couldn't agree more that American Thai is an invented menu for americans. If you want the real thing, read this book. I loved the sides on his favorite people from Thailand. ...more
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great cookbook. The recipes require a certain level of dedication; there's no dumbing-down going on here, and you'll need to be ready to invest in ingredients and equipment. Unfortunately that means I haven't tried many of them, but the ones I have tried have been great. ...more
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
I likely wouldn't cook anything from this book. ...more
Mar 17, 2017 rated it liked it
The recipes look amazing, but have lots of ingredients and take some planning to pull off. Probably wouldn't cook much from this book in practice. ...more
Scott Taylor
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food-drink
I haven't cooked much from this yet, but loved reading about the adventures and learning about new ingredients and styles. ...more
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Bursting with information, will make you fall in love or reinforce your love of Thai culture. Also just a really gorgeous book
Kathy Roaleen
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Authentic Thai-with some "hacks" to duplicate authentic. Enjoyable read with lots of interesting recipes. Recommend to anyone that is interested in the real deal. ...more
Diego Barriga
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book on authentic Thai cooking.
It does require upscaling of your kitchen however
Jul 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
Very thorough and in-depth, however there are too many hard to find ingredients for me to be able to cook from it.
Jackson Matthews
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Even though we love Thai Taste, it is nice to have some recipes that we can make at home because the recipes so good!
Sweta Agrawal
Aug 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Quality recipes, though sometimes perhaps a little over-complicated. Still was a great reference for after we got back from thailand and were craving some delicious thai foods.
Aug 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Beautiful book. Good explanation of regions, foods and flavors.
Jan 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
Beautiful pictures, delicious recipes
William Cohen
Feb 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great stories and recipes, but too involved for the average home cook to ever do each recipe by the book
Degan Walters
Jul 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Pok Pok and Chef Andy Ricker are famous and I have driven by it so many times, wanting to try but dissuaded by the line. I hate lines. So I thought I would check out the cookbook and see what I was missing, knowing that I likely wouldn't be able to source or properly make a lot of the unfamiliar Thai recipes. He contradicts me almost immediately by debunking these arguments and writing, "let me acknowledge my two seemingly conflicting tasks: dispensing with with myths that keep people from makin ...more
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