Hawker Fare: Stories & Recipes from a Refugee Chef's Isan Thai & Lao Roots
James W. Shyabout & J. Birdsall
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Chef James Syhabout came to the US as a small child with his family as a refugee from the "secret war" in Laos. His family settled in northern California where the foods of Laotian refugees blended into the increasingly-popular broad label of Thai food. After traveling full-circle through the culinary profession, Syhabout now tells his story; the story of an Isan Thai-Laotian-American Michelin-starred chef's cultural and culinary roots through recipes and recollections of his family, community, and journeys to his familial homeland.
With his highly-acclaimed Hawker Fare in San Francisco, Syhabout brought Lao-Isan Thai cuisine to the forefront—giving expression to its more umami-rich, savory flavors (less sweet than its Americanized relatives), including staples such as sticky rice, traditional green papaya salad, and the seasoning padaek—a style of fish sauce that plays a huge role in the cuisine of Laos.
The recipes in the book are simple and straight forward, even if the ingredients may be new or challenging for some. Each has a great story and clear instructions to inspire you through the cooking adventure. There are also sections on using a mortar and pestle, building a Laotian meal, and a description of the Lao and Isan pantry of ingredients.
Recipes include: fried chicken with charred chili jam; rice congee with pork meatballs and fried garlic oil; tart and aromatic fish salad; banana & coconut milk rice pudding steamed in banana leaves; and many popular condiments and sauces.
Hardcover. Rich, vibrant color photography throughout.
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