I have a major addiction to Thai food, well many styles of Asian cuisine to be honest. No, it’s not just cause I saw Anthony Bordain eat some really great stall food during one of his episodes of Parts Unknown. It definitely has something to do with working on cruise ships all over the world though. People who have a chance to eat in the crew mess on board a ship never look at or taste food in quite the same way. Not to mention the days when you get shore leave and are able to eat something truly local and unique.
I’m missing the days we sat on the beach in Pattaya, Thailand with Jon & Kat while it downpoured on the umbrellas over our heads. There was steam coming off our giant glasses of icy cold Chang beer.
We just kept ordering more food from the locals passing by. There were sweet rice balls with fresh mango slices. Lemongrass steamed prawns that some random guy was just carrying in a basket down the walkway between the vendors, guests, chairs and the beach. How he delicately balanced the baskets on the pole across his shoulders, smiling with that typical mischevous look in his eye. (If I were my Mother, I would have worried about food poisoning.)
Oh my, what fabulous memories of the swealtering heat and the cooling effect spicy food has on your insides. For me, contrary to popular belief, that’s how hot food works. On a 99% humidity and a 99 degree day, all you need is a spicy Tom Yum or a nice Red Coconut Curry and rice. Awe, yeah.
None of my homoginized descriptions of Thai food are in the Pok Pok book. He’s put way more originality, research and ingenuity into Ricker’s offering to the home cook.
After hanging around on ships with various friends from Thailand, I felt lucky to spend a few days amid their beautiful vistas, lounging on beaches and taking in the funky, fun, and in some ways outragous activities that make up their daily lives. While I was surfing on the web the other day for Thai inspired cookbooks, one really caught my eye, Pok Pok by Andy Ricker @pawkhrua on twitter. Not only does he own several restaurants in both NYC and Portland that are supposed to be stellar, he also wrote a book about Thai food. (I’m putting the Portland Pok Pok locations on my list for a soon to be planned USA West Coast Adventure.)
Now that I have this beautiful hard cover book in hand, I can’t wait to try some of these recipes out. If Pok Pok & Ricker are out of reach for me, I have a fall back plan from the folks at Lucky Peach.