... of the original Laotian Cuisine.
Traditional Recipes of Laos - being the manuscript recipe book of the late Phia Sing from the Royal Palace at Luang Prabang, reproduced in facsimile and furnisched with an English translation.
Right on the first page of the book we see - Phia Sing, drawn by Soun Vannithone from a photograph.
Phia Sing was the Master of Ceremonies and Chef at the royal palace of Luang Prabang. He died in 1967. Phia Sing's notebooks containing these recipes were loaned to Alan Davidson, British ambassador in Vientiane in the early l970s, by the Crown Prince of Laos. Alan Davidson arranged for their translation and added much useful material explaining Lao foods and cookery.
The text is ornamented by drawings, almost all of them by the Lao artist Soun Vannithone.
In the introduction mr Alan Davidson explains the motives for translating and publicating the notebooks of the late Chéf de Cuisine of the Monarchs of Laos.
We will learn how the books came into the hands of Mr Davidson and his contacts with the Court of Luang Prabang and later on with the widow of Phia Sing.
Then the Pathet Lao Forces took over, Mr Davidson ended his tour of duty and used the notebook's xerox copies to publish this original cookbook.
The revenues from this book go since then to the British Council for Aid to Refugees - especially to the Lao ones who had to flee the Communists.
In this very detailed book we will learn about Phia Sing, will be introduced to Lao Eating Habits, the Atitudes to Food, to Lao Culinary terms and the Equipment for cooking properly the Lao way.
Then there are the details of the ingredients, meat, fish, salads, onions, chillies, mushrooms, herbs and vegetables - the more the better, and every species finely drawn by Soun Vannitone, too.
Lao measures traduced into English and Metric facilitate to mix the right amound of the components of the recipes.
From page 51 to 186 the interested reader will find all varieties of Lao dishes.
Nowadays the ingredients are mostly available in Southeast Asian foodstores all around the globe. There are 124 recipes. Some of them also figure in "Fish and Fish Dishes of Laos", but their range encompasses every aspect of cooking, not merely the fishy bit.
The recipes - very precise and with clearly presented instructions - contain also helpful comments about the cooking techniques and the manner in which the dishes should be served.
Mr Alan Davidson - yet a great contributor to the Lao Cuisine with his book Fish and Fish Dishes of Laos - has done a great work!
Compliments and many many thanks to him and his assistents!
And with very much delight I have discovered that there will be a new edition in 2013!