Thai Food

by David Thompson

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Original Publisher
Pavilion Books
Date of publication

Recommended by

Michelle Peters-Jones

Food writer

This book, along with its companion, Thai Street Food, just does not get enough credit in North America, in my humble opinion. This is my personal secret weapon when it comes to cooking Thai food, a cuisine I have been obsessed with, ever since my adolescent backpacking around this gorgeous country. This in an uncompromising book, there are no shortcuts or 'quick' 'easy' recipes. It's obvious why Thompson is the doyenne of Thai cooking, his attention to detail and his careful sourcing and crediting of recipes is unparalleled. This book feeds my obsession with Thai cooking, but I also use it as a handy referencing guide when I do Thai cooking classes. I can't be without this book and it is a book that I am going to pass down to my daughter (as soon as I convince her that spice is not the enemy :))

Drew Smith

Author and editor

Probably the best book to cover Asian food as yet, compiled by a great cook himself. Thompson also researched the kind of historic recipes that were handed down in families from mother to daughter. Some magnificent dishes here and flavor combinations like crab and galingale, whelks and chilli in a sticky chicken broth show that Thai cooking deserves to be ranked among the best in the world on any stage. One warning: it is not a recipe book to dip into, rather it is an evolving philosophy so be prepared to cook Thai all week. One dish tends to lead into another. Endless pleasure.

Roopa Gulati

Chef, food writer and broadcaster

This is my one-stop guide to the Thai Kitchen. Thompson writes with passion, attention to detail, and is respectful of centuries-old traditions. Each recipe opens a window to the wide range of Thai culinary cultures and every time I open his book I learn something new. There’s no other author that can persuade me to cross London in search of Asian celery and kaffir lime leaves. Nothing tops his outstanding green curry paste for its big bold flavour - it’s definitely worth persevering with all the peeling and pounding. This book belongs both in my kitchen and by my bedside.

Brian Stewart

Podcast host

A classic staple for Thai home cooking, and an essential one in my cookbook collection since I first visited Thailand and fell hard for the country’s people and food. My Thai cooking collection is supplemented by other great works but I find myself turning back to Thompson’s recipes to cross-check an ingredient list or confirm my thinking.

Christopher Archambault


A bible. If you own only one book on Thai food, this is your purchase. A definitive compilation of meticulous research elevated to reference status. A culinary masterpiece of culture, history and of course, recipes. Many of Thompson’s dishes have become my ‘go to’ favourites for entertaining or buffets.

Annabel Langbein

Author and celebrity cook

David used to have a wonderful restaurant in Sydney and has devoted much of his life to discovering the rich traditions of the Thai kitchen in truly authentic tastes, with many traditional recipes from Thailand’s royal kitchens.

Paul Gayler


When you talk about great tasting Thai food throughout the world, the name that comes to mind is undoubtedly that of David Thompson — this book is an absolutely wonderful cookbook of the region, and an explosion of the senses.

MiMi Aye

Blogger and cookbook author

It's a classic for a reason - it's well-researched and delivers proper Thai food. I also enjoy seeing how many Northern Thai dishes overlap with Burmese ones. Its nifty ribbon dividers help you bookmark favourite recipes.

David Prior


Like Roden, Thompson is a cultural conduit. A fascinating, meticulously researched masterpiece that beautifully celebrates one of the world's most complex and captivating cuisines.

Kay Plunkett-Hogge

Food writer

This is the seminal book on Thai food. The sheer depth of research is astounding, and the recipes excellent. My copy is falling apart and spattered with stir-fry juices.

Daniel Newman

Food historian

A fascinating and encyclopedic culinary history of Thai cooking and everything one needs to know about its ingredients, with recipes from the various regional cuisines.

Chris J L Young


This is just such a comprehensive guide, led by someone who clearly has a broad, deep knowledge, understanding and passion for the food of his adopted home.

Mark Mardell


An erudite doorstopper in a vibrant pink cover, much stained now, teaches you the balance of Thai food. Worth simplifying some dishes but essential

Gizzi Erskine

Chef and food writer

I spent some of my childhood in Thailand. This was the first and remains the most comprehensive book on Thai food you will find. A true revelation.

Tom Parker Bowles

Restaurant Critic, Food Writer and Broadcaster

The greatest work on Thai food in the English language, this is filled with scholarship, wit, erudition and near exhaustive regional recipes.

PJ Kenny

General Manager, The Hoxton, London

My copy is covered in food as it spends most of the time on the work top with me (most days). It’s everyday-style cooking.

Karen Coates

Journalist & food blogger

A classic in Southeast Asian cooking, and the most spot-on, comprehensive Thai cookbook I've encountered.

Shane Osborn


David's love and passion for Thai culture makes this book a fascinating read .

Fred Smith

Beef at Flat Iron

A bible that changed the way I cook.

Beverly LeBlanc


The essential book for non-Thais.

Ed Smith

Food writer

A bible. I should use it more.

Andy Ricker

Chef/Owner Pok Pok Restaurants

The bible!

David Joachim

Food writer

Jane Tran

Executive Chef, Eat First

Peter Gilmore

Executive Chef, Quay Restaurant and Bennelong

Bruce Palling


CJ Jackson

Principal and Chief Executive, Billingsgate Seafood School

Vivek Singh

Executive Chef & CEO: The Cinnamon Club, Cinnamon Kitchen & Cinnamon Soho

Andrew Blake

Owner and chef, Blakes Feast

John Quilter

Broadcaster and chef

Atul Kochhar

Chef Patron of Benares

Chris Young

Co-founder of ChefSteps and author

Katrina Meynink

Food writer and author

Edward Behr

Editor, The Art of Eating

Annica Wainwright

Food industry consultant

Laura Cowan

Communications and PR

John Vincent

Co-founder of Leon

Dan Hong

Executive Chef, Mr. Wong, Ms G’s, Papi Chulo, El Loco

Jill Norman

Author and editor

Randolph Moon

Restaurant owner

Hamish Ingham

Executive Chef Bar H Surry Hills

Bob Granleese

Food Editor, Guardian Weekend

Olia Hercules

Author and food writer

Giorgio Locatelli

Chef and restaurateur

Amanda Hesser

CEO & co-founder, Food52

Lorenzo Cogo

Chef and owner of EL COQ restaurant – one Michelin Star in Italy

Nina Bauer

Food historian

Chris Stueart

Co-founder, FOOD-X

Martin Boetz

Cooks Co-op

Sri Owen

Food writer and cook

Linda Pelaccio

Culinary historian

Andrew Zimmern

Creator, executive producer and host of the Bizarre Foods franchise on Travel Channel

Anthony Power

Chef and author

Mark LaBrooy

Head Chef and Owner Three Blue Ducks (with co - Owner Darren Robertson)

Andrew McConnell

Executive Chef and Owner

Matthew Abergel

Co-Owner & Executive Chef of Yardbird, RŌNIN & Sunday’s Grocery

Urvashi Roe

Blogger, Owner of The Library Cafe

Anna Hansen

Founding Director, Modern Pantry

Ben Norum

Food and drink writer

Adam D’Sylva

Executive Chef