Book Review: Eating Thai Food Guide
I was blown away by how thorough, in-depth and informative Mark Wien’s Eating Thai Food Guide is! Mark really does explain everything you need to know about Thai foods, how to order them and how to eat them.
That statement is coming from me – no beginner to Thai foods and customs. I speak Thai, order all my meals and drinks in Thai, and follow Thai eating customs. Over the years I’ve tried just about every Thai meal, fruit and dessert available. Or so I thought until I read Mark’s two guidebooks.
(I’ve been traveling around Thailand regularly since 1998, usually for a minimum of 1-2 months each trip. From 2004-2010 I spent 5-6 months there each year, literally half my life.)
Much to my surprise, Mark’s guide book introduced me to many Thai foods that I didn’t even know about. I suddenly realized that I had long ago settled on my favorite Thai dishes and then proceeded to live on those few favorites over the years. Clearly at some point I had stopped trying out new dishes.
That just goes to show how thorough Mark guidebook is.
The heart of this guidebook Mark calls his ‘Ultimate Thai Food Guide’. It’s a kind of glorified dictionary of Thai foods – 39 pages detailing 144 different Thai dishes, arranged by category. Categories include vegetables, duck, pork, beef, fish, eggs, chicken, seafood, noodles, curries, soup and adventurous foods.
For each and every one of these 144 dishes Mark provides a descriptive English name, Thai name, name in Thai script, ingredients, usual price, where to buy it and any special notes.
Stop and think about that for a minute: 144 different Thai dishes with names, photos and descriptions. That’s a lot of food to learn about and sample!
Although Mark refers to that section of the book as his Ultimate Thai Food Guide, it’s actually just a fraction of the foods he covers in the guidebook. In addition to the 144 dishes, he also shares:
13 Thai breakfasts
20 common drinks
68 Thai desserts
16 most popular Thai dishes
16 of Mark’s favorite dishes
16 common street stall foods
7 southern Thai dishes
8 types of noodles commonly served
18 meal combination suggestions for various genres of Thai food.
Each of these has the same thorough information as the Ultimate Thai Food Guide section: English name of food, Thai name, name in Thai script, photo and description.
All that info accompanied by photos makes it really easy to understand the various Thai foods and how to identify them, find them and order them.
But that’s still not the full guidebook! Mark also goes over the three main genres of Thai food, an explanation of various Thai noodles, Thai eating etiquette, how to order Thai food, main phrases needed to order meals and various cooking styles. He also recommends Bangkok’s 16 best street food areas and suggests specific restaurants by genre.
The guidebook comes in pdf format, which is easy to read on computers, eReaders and tablets. Mark was savvy enough to include a click-through table of contents, which makes navigating to any particular page very fast & easy.
And… get this… Eating Thai Food costs only $7 US. How could you possibly go wrong?
If you’re heading to Thailand and are ready to dive into some delicious Thai food, you’ll be very happy to have this guidebook on hand. But even if you’re not visiting Thailand and would like to learn Thai cooking or to eat at Thai restaurants in your home country, this guidebook will help you understand the diverse range of Thai foods, their ingredients and how to order Thai meals.
Mark has also written a second book about Thai food: Thai Vegetarian Guide. It’s just as thorough and in-depth as this guidebook. If you’re vegetarian and heading to Thailand, I highly recommend this book. You’ll need it to avoid getting common Thai ingredients, like fish sauce, oyster sauce and meat stock added to your food.
I’ll be reviewing Thai Vegetarian Guide soon. You can also check it out for yourself here.
About Mark Wiens:
Mark is a travel blogger who has been living overseas since childhood. He is now based in Bangkok.
Migrationology is his very interesting and informative travel blog.
He also runs a website dedicated entirely to Thai food named, not surprisingly, Eating Thai Food.