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Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

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Notes about this book

  • Eat Your Books

    2001 James Beard Award (Cookbook of the Year), International Association of Culinary Professionals Award Winner

  • nomadchowwoman on January 07, 2010

    Gorgeous book, somehat intimidating, but the recipes I've tried have been delicious.

  • crjoburke on December 26, 2009

    Presents useful information about Asian culture and regions. A serious reference book with recipes you will not find elsewhere.

Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Home-style pork soup with vegetables (Rouding fanqie tang)

    • twoyolks on February 22, 2013

      The broth ended up very spicy. I'd cut back on the chili in the future. I'd also cut the pork into bite sized pieces b

  • Simple cucumber salad (Huanggua liangban)

    • twoyolks on July 31, 2017

      The flavor of the black vinegar made this inedible to me.

  • Pomelo salad (Nyoom kroit t'long)

    • hillsboroks on August 27, 2014

      The combination of ingredients in this salad sound crazy and weird but it is oh so delicious! I have made it many times and served it to family and friends who clean out the salad bowl in nothing flat. Pomelos are not always easy to come by so I usually substitute grapefruit and it tastes great.

  • Vietnamese green papaya salad (Goi du du)

    • tracyfox on January 27, 2015

      Delicious even without the starfruit garnish. Holds its texture beautifully for a few days as well.

  • Som tam with yard-long beans (Som tam to yai)

    • mcvl on January 30, 2015

      Dead easy (my local supermarket has long beans already sorted and cut, bless them) and so delicious. I don't chop the peanuts, just serve them in a little bowl on the table, so they don't get soggy.

  • Spicy cucumber salad (Layou huanggua)

    • tekobo on March 27, 2017

      Good way to jazz up cucumbers.

  • Rice soup, Khmer style (Babah)

    • mcvl on July 22, 2014

      Excellent -- alas without the rice, since my husband is still doing low-carb. I recommend Phú Qu?c fish sauce -- the quality really makes a difference.

    • twoyolks on January 04, 2014

      This is closer to a porridge in consistency than a soup. The broth and rice are only very mildly flavored. The toppings and condiments tend to overpower the other flavors.

  • Shrimp and rice soup (Chao tom)

    • mirage on January 16, 2010

      Love this soup!

  • Thai fried rice (Khao pad)

    • twoyolks on November 20, 2015

      Despite a simple ingredient list, this was really flavorful and tasty. I made it without the optional ingredients. This particularly nice because the ingredients are ones I typically have on hand.

  • Our favorite noodles with greens and gravy (Guaytio ladna)

    • twoyolks on April 06, 2013

      I made the fresh rice noodles and they ended up sticking together during stir frying. They also started to fall apart. The end result was a bit too sour but adding some roasted chili powder brought it back into balance. I substituted pork tenderloin for pork shoulder and it worked well.

  • Pad Thai classic stir-fried noodles (Pad thai)

    • twoyolks on January 22, 2013

      This much pad Thai is probably too much for a home wok. I'd recommend a half recipe. Also, I think marinating the meat and tofu would go well. In the future, I'd probably use chicken over pork.

  • Hearty Vietnamese beef noodle soup (Pho bo)

    • JKDLady on January 25, 2016

      I absolutely loved this. The rest of my family liked it, but didn't love it. I thought the flavors were excellent. I used 4 T of fish sauce instead of 5. The only change I would make is not to throw the beef short rib meat away. I would simply put the stewing beef in the broth earlier and use both of the meats for the soup or something else. I was confused with what to do with the Lime Juice Yin-Yang (separate recipe, but an accompaniment). I would rather just squeeze lime into the soup.

  • Lime juice yin-yang

    • JKDLady on January 25, 2016

      I'm not sure what the point of this is. I understand you mix salt, pepper, and lime juice, but are you then supposed to pour it into the soup? I would rather just squeeze the lime into the soup.

  • Shan salad with cellophane noodles and ginger (Neen)

    • tracyfox on January 27, 2015

      Texture of the salad was interesting with the cabbage adding cruch to the slippery noodles. I made the variation with mushrooms and felt like the dressing completely overpowered the beautiful grilled oysters I added. I'm just not a fan of cellophane noodles, but this was the closest I've come to producing something I liked with them.

  • Classic mixed vegetable stir-fry (Pad pak)

    • tracyfox on January 27, 2015

      Made with fish sauce and Korean doenjang soybean paste, this was simple but tasty. Finished sauce had a nice consistency over cabbage, carrots, celery and assorted mushrooms.

  • Yunnan greens (Sunni cai)

    • twoyolks on September 19, 2013

      I made this with Choy sum instead of bok Choy. This was just too mild. There's not enough ginger or chili pepper to add any appreciable flavor.

    • lkgrover on May 26, 2017

      I made this as a side dish, with bok choy and one jalapeno pepper. (I sauteed the pepper in oil, along with the bok choy, but removed the pepper before eating as instructed.) The broth and cornstarch made a thicker sauce; a nice change from my normal plain sauteed greens. I enjoyed it, but it was spicy. (For a variation, see Stir-fried stem lettuce Lhasa-style in Alford & Duguid's Beyond the Great Wall.)

  • Stir-fried cabbage with dried chiles and ginger (Lajiao baicai)

    • tekobo on April 01, 2017

      Really simple to make. Used chinese sausage in place of pork butt.

  • Quick and tasty Yunnanese potatoes (Jiaxiang tudou)

    • tekobo on March 17, 2017

      Quick is a relative term, when you have to boil potatoes in their skin, peel them individually and chop up a load of spring onions. I dropped the hot potatoes individually into an ice bath to make them easier to peel. Also, be aware that pre-frying the dried chillies can have a big impact on your ability to breath! I will either leave that out or only fry at a lower temperature and very briefly. All that said, the result was delicious.

  • Smoked fish and green mango

    • lkgrover on January 22, 2017

      I made this for lunch, using fresh trout fillet (sauted in peanut oil) and mint. I liked the sweet and sour contrast. It makes an excellent, light lunch course with some greens on the side.

  • Minced chicken with fresh herbs (Laab gai)

    • twoyolks on August 08, 2015

      The sour flavor was too strong. The flavor was out of balance.

    • mziech on May 30, 2015

      Easy recipe. I used a combination of Vietnamese coriander, sawtooth herb and cilantro.

  • Vietnamese chicken salad with rau ram (Ga xe phai)

    • mziech on November 11, 2015

      Loved it. Very fresh crispy salad. Easy recipe.

  • Grilled chicken with hot and sweet dipping sauce (Gai yang / Ping gai)

    • twoyolks on August 09, 2013

      The ingredient list specifies chicken breasts but any form of bone-in chicken works. Also, the cilantro listed is actually cilantro root.

  • Stir-fried chicken with holy basil (Gai pad bak gaprow)

    • twoyolks on August 28, 2016

      This was pretty easy to make but it didn't really have a lot of flavor to it. It tasted like a mediocre Thai stir fry.

  • Quick red chicken curry (gang ped gai)

    • sherrib on August 13, 2014

      Quick Red Chicken Curry p.210 I made this after I finally finished making the Red Curry Paste (on the same page.) This dish was definitely quick, easy and delicious. Everyone in the family loved it (even though the red curry paste turned out too spicy for our tastes.) I omitted the kaffir lime leaves and the fresh chiles because I didn't have those. Also, my fresh red curry paste was missing shrimp paste so I added a tablespoon of tamari soy sauce to the curry to make up for the missing umami flavor. All in all, once you have the ingredients at hand, this is a very easy and delicious dish to put together in a very short amount of time.

    • twoyolks on March 12, 2015

      I found the curry sauce to only taste of chiles and coconut milk. There were not the complexity that I expect from a Thai curry. This also was rather soupy.

  • Red curry paste (Krung gaeng deng)

    • sherrib on August 13, 2014

      I had all of the ingredients for this except for the kaffir lime - I substituted regular lime zest. Also, I omitted shrimp paste (this probably made a big difference to my final dish (quick chicken with red curry on the same page)) so to make up for the umami flavor, I added a bit of soy sauce to my final dish - NOT to the paste - just to my dish.) Also, instead of soaking the dried chiles, I deseeded them and then put them in my toaster oven for a bit on 200 degrees. They dried out and were super easy to grind in the mortar and pestle. The final paste was delicious but too spicy for us. Either soaking the chiles would have reduced some of the spiciness, or I will want to use less of them next time. The quick chicken curry was delicious as a result of investing much time and effort in aquiring, processing and, finally, manually processing the ingredients in a mortar and pestle.

  • Hui beef stew with chick-peas and anise (Niu rou fang zang)

    • westminstr on December 17, 2013

      I made this on Sunday for us to eat during the week. On Sunday night when the stew was freshly made I loved it. I was worried the star anise would dominate but it didn't. I started from dried chickpeas and they held up well in the long cooking time -- their broth was delicious and the texture good as well. Unfortunately, when I reheated the stew for dinner on Monday, the flavors had become a bit stodgy to my palate, or maybe I was already tired of it after being exposed to the aroma for a long period of time

  • Quick Khmer pork with green beans (Cha sangdek khoua)

    • mziech on July 07, 2015

      really easy and very quick recipe, perfect for weekdays. Simple flavors. I cooked the green beans separately to prevent the pork from overcooking.

  • Jungle curry (Gaeng pa moo)

    • okcook on August 24, 2012

      Very ordinary. The taste is a little 'muddy'.

  • Aromatic minced pork, Shan style (Laab moo tai yai)

    • TrishaCP on December 17, 2016

      We also really loved this- the fresh herbs were really nice. We only used four chiles and that was plenty for us. I subbed ginger for galangal since I couldn't get fresh galangal- I'm sure it's even better without the sub that I made. Served with white rice, lettuce, and pickled carrots.

    • twoyolks on October 22, 2014

      Very flavorful, even cutting back on the chiless a bit - almost as good as the laab at our local Thai place. We served with butter lettuce, the recommended steamed veggies (used carrots and delicotta squash), and white rice.

  • Green-wrapped flavor bundles (Miang lao)

    • mirage on January 16, 2010

      Excellent party food!

  • Sweet corn fritters (Taozhe yu mi)

    • Barb_N on September 08, 2014

      I made these with fresh corn to accompany tomato soup. They were easy and very quick; a nice taste although I would probably spice them up a bit next time.

  • Bananas in coconut cream (Gluay bua chi)

    • Ndesousa on March 10, 2017

      All I can say is wow this is really good! If the bananas are very ripe cut down on the sugar. Don't skip the sesame seeds or peanut garnish because that just adds a great finish.

  • Classic banana shake

    • twoyolks on August 09, 2013

      I would err on the side of too many bananas instead of too few. This is very easy and fast to make and is quite tasty. This could easily be adapted to many other types of fruit.

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Reviews about Recipes in this Book

  • ISBN 10 1579651143
  • ISBN 13 9781579651145
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Oct 27 2000
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 346
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Artisan
  • Imprint Artisan Division of Workman Publishing

Publishers Text

The culinary map of Southeast Asia is about to change if award-winning authors Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid have anything to do with it. Recognizing that the wonderful flavors of Southeast Asia spill over national borders, Alford and Duguid set out to eat their way through the region's towns and villages, large and small, all the while collecting recipes, cooking techniques, stores and photographs.


This book is the glorious result of their travels through the Mekong region of Southeast Asia, a fascinating area that extends south from China, through Laos and Thailand, to Cambodia and Vietnam. 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.


Through the course of their travels in the Mekong region, Alford and Duguid came to realize that the local cuisines just like those of the Mediterranean share a common creative genius in the kitchen, a distinctive palate. This shared culinary approach emerges as the book unfolds. In each chapter, from Salsas to Street Food, 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; Khmer Stir-Fried Pork with Green Beans pairs well with Grilled Tomato Salsa from China and Thai jasmine rice; Thai Grilled Chicken with Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce goes beautifully with Vietnamese Green Papaya Salad and Lao sticky rice.


At last, the incredible flavors of this great culinary region are celebrated with all the passion, color and life that they deserve.



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