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Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia
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Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  1,509 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
Luminous at dawn and dusk, the Mekong is a river road, a vibrant artery that defines a vast and fascinating region. Here, along the world's tenth largest river, which rises in Tibet and joins the sea in Vietnam, traditions mingle and exquisite food prevails. Award-winning authors Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid followed the river south, as it flows through the mountain gor ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 7th 2000 by Artisan (first published October 2nd 2000)
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The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. RombauerHow to Cook Everything by Mark BittmanMastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia ChildBetter Homes and Gardens New Cook Book by Better Homes and GardensThe New Best Recipe by Cook's Illustrated Magazine
Best Cookbooks
1,093 books — 1,018 voters
Thai Food by David  ThompsonLand of Plenty by Fuchsia DunlopCradle of Flavor by James OselandMadhur Jaffrey Indian Cooking by Madhur JaffreyHot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffrey Alford
Best Asian Cookbooks
102 books — 11 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Aug 17, 2011 Foxthyme rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbook
Any book I've ever read by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid I've loved. And I cook from. The authors have the ability to create the most wonderful food travel guide type cookbooks I've ever seen. They research thoroughly, travelling to the locations they are showcasing recipes. Then they sample, learn to prepare the dish from the cultural source, continue experimenting with, photograph, and eventually pull absolutely stunning recipes together into a book that is a visual feast.

Here's a compresse
Apr 30, 2012 Darren rated it really liked it
This is a beast of a book. A very hefty coffee table book that is a mix between a travelogue and a recipe/cookery book, billed as a culinary journey through Southeast Asia.

By rights it should be laminated as it might protect the lovely full-colour photographs from being drooled upon as one develops pangs of hunger whilst reading, such is the realistic, lifelike and wonderful images that pepper this book.

Anyway.. the Mekong river is used as a thread within this book as it travails through south-e
Jan 14, 2015 Carrisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, cookbook
First off, the book is huge! Quite a hefty thing, it could easily double as a coffee table book, or if you needed a weapon to club someone over the head with. Large food photographs (in color! huzzah!), and the travel journal excerpts throughout are quite a nice.
I've tried two recipes in the book so far: Vietnamese Must-Have Table Sauce (pg 28) and Vietnamese Grilled Pork Balls (pg 252) served with an oriental salad and vermicelli noodles... It was fantastic!

Jun 18, 2009 Komal rated it it was amazing
I checked this out of the library and let's just say it's on my wish list to own a copy. Amazing pictures, lots of vegetarian options, and great recipes. Whenever I think of SE Asian cooking I think fresh and multitudes of flavor and this cookbook really does a great job capturing the essence of that. I also love reading about their travels throughout the region which is incorporated with the recipes and the fact that they try to incorporate as many different variations of each ethnic/regional g ...more
Jaimi Rachelle
Jan 02, 2015 Jaimi Rachelle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
Terri Jacobson
Nov 15, 2012 Terri Jacobson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cooking, travel
A treasure of a cookbook about Southeast Asia and its food. The recipes are outstanding and mouth-watering. Some of them require specialty ingredients, but if you have access to an Asian or International Foods market it should be no problem. (There are also on-line sources listed.) The photography of the people, places and food of Southeast Asia is absolutely stunning. The narrative not only describes the food, but also covers the history and geography of the area. This book is a star in my cook ...more
Dec 09, 2012 Gabbi rated it liked it
I didn't enjoy this book as much as I've enjoyed some of their others, "Flatbreads and Flavors" and "Burma: Rivers of Flavor." The anecdotes seemed somehow less magical, less relevant to the recipes. The recipes themselves didn't grab me the way the other two books did.

However, for someone not well-versed in Southeast Asian cuisine, this is probably a good introduction; though not necessarily at an introductory skill level. I'd recommend any of Alford and Duguid's books, but this one with less e
Dec 31, 2013 Kathleen rated it it was ok
This book is 70% cookbook 30% travel memoir. I, personally, wasn't that into this book. The foods are organized into really western categories like salads and salsas. I didn't find that very useful and really wondered about that choice. I also think I would have preferred the book if it were organized into the various countries that they traveled to, one at a time. Instead, there were large photo spreads with accompanying text about one country and then the recipes on either side of the feature ...more
Nov 17, 2008 Mary rated it really liked it
I have this book it is a stunning book, the images are some of the most beautiful in any cookbook I have ever seen. Included are not only images of food but of the people, environment, accompanied by stories of history, culture etc. The only critism of the book and not really it's fault at all is that ingredients can be hard to find in a rural area.
Feb 05, 2014 Libraryassistant rated it it was amazing
Shelves: foodie, cultures-and
One of my favorite cookbooks to 'read' ever. It gives you a complete picture of the people and foods of the Mekong delta, how they are related, how they differ, and what it is like to travel there. It is beautiful, inspiring-- and everything I tried was delicious! I read it from the library, but it is on my wish list to own, and I have both quoted it and recommended it to many others.
Chambers Stevens
Jul 08, 2013 Chambers Stevens rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
This is one of the most beautiful cookbooks I own.
i've read it.
But I must confess I've never actually cooked any of the recipes.
Living in LA I can get great Southeast Asian food anywhere.
But the book did help me understand the food at restaurants a lot better.
Steph Heringer
Jan 20, 2008 Steph Heringer rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Steph by: Chris
This is a wonderful book about Asian food - the authors traveled extensively and write about each area and the photos are gorgeous. I read this book prior to going to Vietnam and cooked some of the recipes included. I would recommend this to anyone who loves travel and loves food.
Catherine Woodman
THis is a beautiful book that combines excellent recipes with stories and photos from SE Asia--I love the Vietnamese Chicken Salad, the Tom Yum Soup, and the Chickpea Star Anise Beef Stew, to name a few
Oct 12, 2014 Carol rated it really liked it
Amazing book. Beautiful photography, interesting cultural notes. But at its heart, this book pulls back the curtain on everyday cooking in SE Asia, ESP VietNam. Bought it while a Vietnamese friend was teaching me " how to cook like a Vietnamese grandmother". She loved the authentic recipes.
Jun 03, 2008 Pamela rated it really liked it
I love cookbooks and I especially love this one. No, I haven't even made anything from it yet--but I will. I just enjoy curling up with it and reading the great narrative along with delicious-sounding recipes. I just wish it wasn't so heavy! Try it--you'll like it!
Jan 26, 2008 Kristine rated it it was amazing
I love Asian food and have cooked quite a few recipes from this for my blog. Part travelogue part cookbook this is a great read. I revisit this one frequently. Asian food requires a lot of prep work but the payoff is worth it.
Eileen Lee
Marvelous. Gorgeous photos, excellent recipes and great travel stories. I do not own this book (have borrowed umpteen times from library) but I want to buy it. All their book are great, but "Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia" is especially good.
Oct 14, 2007 Mary rated it it was amazing
More of a journey through Thailand. A great coffee table book. Fantastic photos and very good recipes. Ingredients are a little exotic if you don't have a Thai grocery nearby. Yummmmm black rice pudding and ginger chicken noodle soup, and nothing beats tom yam goong and a good Thai curry!
Sep 10, 2013 Britta rated it really liked it
Thoughtful recipes and stories together are excellent at bringing to life this food culture. Great read. But I do NOT recommend on a Kindle - format doesn't lend itself well and I felt like I missed out on the photograhy.
Jul 31, 2008 Mariam rated it really liked it
Part cookbook, part travelogue, part photography book. The recipes can provide a bit *too* much detail at times, making things seem more complicated than they really are. Nevertheless, this a joy to flip through for both travel and culinary inspiration.
Jul 29, 2011 Linda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cooking
Like Alford and Duguid's other books, this is as much a travel book as it is a cookbook. For those of us who read cookbooks as entertainment as well as for cooking ideas, these books are great. I haven't cooked anything from this one yet, but the recipes look really tantalizing.
Feb 22, 2016 Theresia rated it it was ok
More a picture book than, you know, a journey book.

Also, excuse you? This should be retitled "...Through the Mekong." SE Asia is more than just the Mekong.
Mar 25, 2013 ACRL added it
Shelves: motw
Read by ACRL Member of the Week Tarida Anantachai. Learn more about Tarida on the ACRL Insider blog.
Mar 18, 2008 Ali rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: foodies, travel junkies, people with tastebuds. and eyes.
Shelves: food, canadian
Gorgeously photographed half cookbook, half travel memoir. This cookbook situates food and its faithfully reproduced recipes geographically and culturally, authentic to a traveler's experiences.
Jonathanstray Stray
My favorite (almost only) cookbook.
Jan 12, 2008 Jeremy rated it really liked it
Are you ready to tackle Asian cuisine? These recipes are easy to understand and more importantly yield enjoyable meals. Don't stop at the recipes though, read the whole thing.
Aja Marsh
Sep 23, 2011 Aja Marsh rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
Not nearly enough food photos. Especially considering the size of the book. This is one f those cookbooks people get to sit on their coffee table and never actually use.
Jun 12, 2014 Dholsten rated it it was ok
recipes well researched--but found many complicated. not enough pictures.
Jill Cordry
Sep 22, 2013 Jill Cordry rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book, with recipes. So glad I read it before my trip to Northern Thailand.
Nov 06, 2011 Brittany rated it it was amazing
I love Thai food and this book has fabulously detailed pictures, explanations and recipes. The Tom Yum and Panang curry are delicious!
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