Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia

by Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid

ISBN-10: 1579651143
ISBN-13: 9781579651145
Region: Asia
Publication Date: October, 2000
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Publishers Information

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

Publisher Web Link: http://www.workman.com/artisanbooks/

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 gorges of southern China, to Burma and into Laos and Thailand. For a while the right bank of the river is in Thailand, but then it becomes solely Lao on its way to Cambodia. Only after three thousand miles does it finally enter Vietnam and then the South China Sea.

It was during their travels that Alford and Duguid—who ate traditional foods in villages and small towns and learned techniques and ingredients from cooks and market vendors—came to realize that the local cuisines, like those of the Mediterranean, share a distinctive culinary approach: Each cuisine balances, with grace and style, the regional flavor quartet of hot, sour, salty, and sweet. This book, aptly titled, is the result of their journeys.

Like Alford and Duguid’s two previous works, Flatbreads and Flavors (“a certifiable publishing event” —Vogue) and Seductions of Rice (“simply stunning”—The New York Times), this book is a glorious combination of travel and taste, presenting enticing recipes in “an odyssey rich in travel anecdote” (National Geographic Traveler).

The book’s more than 175 recipes for spicy salsas, welcoming soups, grilled meat salads, and exotic desserts are accompanied by evocative stories about places and people. The recipes and stories are gorgeously illustrated throughout with more than 150 full-color food and travel photographs.

In each chapter, from Salsas to Street Foods, Noodles to Desserts, dishes from different cuisines within the region appear side by side: A hearty Lao chicken soup is next to a Vietnamese ginger-chicken soup; a Thai vegetable stir-fry comes after spicy stir-fried potatoes from southwest China.

The book invites a flexible approach to cooking and eating, for dishes from different places can be happily served and eaten together: Thai Grilled Chicken with Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce pairs beautifully with Vietnamese Green Papaya Salad and Lao sticky rice.

North Americans have come to love Southeast Asian food for its bright, fresh flavors. But beyond the dishes themselves, one of the most attractive aspects of Southeast Asian food is the life that surrounds it. In Southeast Asia, people eat for joy. The palate is wildly eclectic, proudly unrestrained. In Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet, at last this great culinary region is celebrated with all the passion, color, and life that it deserves.

Author Information

About Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid

Author Web Link: http://www.hotsoursaltysweet.com/

Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford, travellers, cooks, photographers, and writers, have worked together since they met in Tibet in 1985.  Their interest is in understanding and appreciating staple foods, daily home-cooked foods, in their cultural context.  They do much of their travel, food research, and photography in Asia.  They each spend several months a year travelling.

Their first cookbook Flatbreads and Flavors:  A Baker’s Atlas (William Morrow, 1995) was named James Beard Cookbook of the Year and also won the Julia Child First Book Award.  Seductions of Rice (1998), a global look at rice as a way of eating, was named Cuisine Canada’s English Language Cookbook of the Year.  Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey through Southeast Asia(2000) was also named James Beard Cookbook of the Year.  It explores the cuisines of the Mekong region, from southern China, through Laos and regional Thailand, to Cambodia and southern Vietnam.  Like Seductions of Rice, it is published by Artisan in the United States, and in Canada by Random House Canada.

Their fourth book, published in 2003, is called HomeBaking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition Around the World.  The book presents recipes and stories with color photographs in a celebration of the enormous world of home baking, both sweet and savory, from Jamaican coconut pie to Silk Road nan and European-style artisanal loaves, from Montreal bagels to Thai minipancakes and Alsatian onion tart. 

Their fifth book Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent travesl to Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, telling stories, presenting recipes, all illustrated by location photographs by Naomi and Jeffrey, as well as studio and black and white images by Richard Jung. 

Their latest book Beyond the Great Wall: Recipes & Travels in the Other China travels to Tibet, to the Silk Road oases of Xinjiang, to Inner Mongolia, to Yunnan, Qinghai, and Guizhou, all provinces that lie outside central China and that are home to distinctive and fascinating cultures. The story of the changes in these areas over the last 25 years is told in travel stories.  People and places in the outlying areas of China come to life in photographs, recipes, and stories. As in their last three books, studio photography is by gifted photographer Richard Jung. 

Jeffrey and Naomi are contributing editors for Saveur magazine and their work has appeared in many food magazines, including Saveur, Food & Wine, Food Arts, Gourmet, and others.  They were the recently the subject of an award winning one-hour documentary film by Jacques Menard “The Recipe Diaries”.  They were part of the PBS series “Baking with Julia” and contributed to the book of the same name; they also appeared in the Television Food Network series “Baker’s Dozen”.  They guest-teach at a number of cooking schools and frequently give slide show-lectures about food traditions around the world.  Their stock photo library Asia Access specializes in images of food, agriculture, and traditional cultures.

They live in downtown Toronto.

INDIVIDUAL  BIONOTES

JEFFREY ALFORD:

Jeffrey is the co-author, with Naomi Duguid, of six cookbooks: Flatbreads and Flavors:  A Baker’s Atlas (William Morrow, 1995); Seductions of Rice (Artisan, 1998); Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey through Southeast Asia (Artisan, 2000); HomeBaking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition Around the World (Artisan 2003); Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent; and Beyond the Great Wall: Recipes and Travels in the Other China.  Both Flatbreads and Hot Sour Salty Sweet won the James Beard Award for best Cookbook of the Year.

He first travelled to Asia for eighteen months in 1977-78, eating his way across west Asia, India, and Thailand, and he’s been travelling regularly back ever since.

Jeffrey met partner Naomi Duguid while on a bicycle trip across the Himalaya, from Lhasa to Kathmandu, in 1985.  The following year they bicycled together from western China to northern Pakistan, and a year later, from western Tibet into Xinjiang.  Along the way they talked about food a lot.

NAOMI DUGUID:

Traveller, writer, photographer, and cook Naomi Duguid is the co-author, with Jeffrey Alford, of six cookbooks: Flatbreads and Flavors; Seductions of Rice; Hot Sour Salty Sweet; HomeBaking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition Around the World (Artisan, 2003); Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent (Artisan, 2005); and Beyond the Great Wall: Recipes and Travels in the Other China (Artisan, 2008).  Each book explores everyday foods in a cultural context, with stories and photographs, as well as recipes. Both Flatbreads and Hot Sour Salty Sweet won the James Beard Award for best Cookbook of the Year.

Naomi has travelled widely in Asia, the Mediterranean, and Europe, and has also spent time in parts of Africa and South America, photographing, talking to people, and eating. (http://www.hotsoursaltysweet.com/)

Cookbooks by Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid


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