Hot Sour Salty Sweet
Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia By Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, Artisan, 2000. Hardcover. $45; 346 pages
While writing together, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid were the world's greatest explainers and explorers of regional cuisines. They produced marvelous books, scholarly and gorgeous at once; this, probably their best, is saturated with the history, geography, faces, and food of an amazingly diverse region.
They are most interested in the culinary threads that run across national borders. As they traveled, their "culinary map of Southeast Asia slowly changed, no longer grouping Thailand together with Malaysia and Indonesia, as is traditionally done, but seeing it as a close cousin to parts of southwest China (Yunnan) and to the Shan State in Burma, as well as to Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam."