7 Best Thai Cookbooks of All Time

We evaluate Thai recipe book based on 4 criteria, namely, authenticity, ingredient, popularity and difficulty of recipes then we uncover the best Thai cookbooks.

Do You Need Thai Cookbooks?

Thai cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines in the United States and around the world. However, standard Thai food at home, street food, and food to facilitate drinking are quite expensive and hard to find in some areas when compared with Chinese food.

If you are an authentic Thai food and street food lover, grabbing the beautiful Thai food cookbook, learn classic Thai recipes and learn how to cook Thai food at home is a good alternative to dining in a Thai restaurant or going to cooking class. You can show your new skill to your friends and family and it's the fun-having amongst friends to cook Thai food using everyday recipes. Moreover, Thai food and Thai recipes are healthier too.

Inside a nutshell, Thai cuisine and Thai food culture are the crossroads between Indian food culture and Chinese food culture. Indian food has a very strong influence on most Thai curry dishes and Thai people adopt the stir fry technique from Chinese cuisine. Southeast Asian food like Malay or Indonesian also has a bit of presence in Thai food like satay and peanut sauce.

What makes Thai food and Thai recipes so unique is the combination of 4 tastes, namely, sourness, sweetness, saltiness, and spiciness. These tastes help to create the party in your mouth or savory taste.

Thai Cookbooks Ranking

We read lots of articles about Thai food cookbook suggestions on the internet. Then, we compile the list of all highly rated Thai food cookbooks. Duplicate and obsolete entries are deleted.

After that, we ask a team consists of both Thai and American experts to evaluate each Thai food cookbook or Thai recipe book based 4 on criteria, namely, authenticity, ingredient, the popularity of recipes and level of difficulty.

- Authenticity: we know for the fact that, sometimes, the Thai food cookbook is not written by Thai cook or expert in the field. The authors of Asian cookbooks are experts in Asian Cooking Techniques.

We can determine for sure what Thai food cookbooks are authentic by just looking at the photos. Lots of time, the dishes don't look like Thai cuisine at all. For example, Pad Thai doesn't look like a Thai dish.

Sometimes Thai food cookbooks contain lots of fusion versions of the Thai recipes, for example, "Meatballs in Curry Sauce", "Thai Crab Cakes" or "Soft Spring Rolls with Fresh Mint." These Thai recipes aren't recognized by Thai cooks anywhere in Thailand.

- Ingredient: since many Thai ingredients for everyday recipes are not available in the United States, the Thai food cookbook should explain how to substitute some ingredients and techniques to use or tell you where to find important ingredients like curry pastes and fish sauce or show you how to prepare some basic ingredients for popular Thai food by yourself.

- Popularity of Recipes: sometimes Thai food cookbook is too authentic and focuses heavily on regional cuisine, which is uncommon to the average Thai cooks too (quick and easy Thai home cooks prefer simple recipes.)

Another example is that some street food or night market delicious Thai food is popular but people don't usually cook at home.

- Level of Difficulty: sometimes Thai food cookbook focuses on royal recipes which contain difficult cooking ingredients and techniques to execute even for Thai cooks in Thailand.

Moreover, many recipes may require special equipment and tools that are not even common in the Thai kitchen.

In order to increase the diversity of Thai recipe book we are going to present, we remove some Thai recipe books from the same author. For example, Andy Ricker wrote 2 Thai recipe books, namely, Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand and Pok Pok The Drinking Food of Thailand the Cookbook, then, we only choose one Thai recipe book.

Finally, we make the final cut based on our opinion and feedback we get from Amazon.com. The good point of each Thai recipe book will be provided in the brackets.

The links below are #paid links.

Best Thai Cookbooks are as below:

  1. Simple Thai Food: Classic Recipes from the Thai Home Kitchen by Leela Punyaratabandhu (Very authentic home cooking recipes)

  2. Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand by Andy Ricker (The mixed of home cooking recipes and regional recipes)

  3. Thai Street Food: Authentic Recipes, Vibrant Traditions by David Thompson (Authentic street food recipes)

  4. Hot Thai Kitchen: Demystifying Thai Cuisine with Authentic Recipes to Make at Home by Pailin Chongchitnant  (Extensive info about Thai food culture/ingredients with restaurant-quality recipes)

  5. True Thai: Real Flavors for Every Table by Hong Thaimee (Recipes are categorized by regions)

  6. Nong's Thai Kitchen: 84 Classic Recipes that are Quick, Healthy and Delicious by Nongkran Daks and Alexandra Greeley (Each recipe comes with the photo of the finished dish)

  7. 49 Classic Thai Stir Fry Dishes: 49 Kitchen Tested Recipes You Can Cook at Home by Hanuman Aspler (Extensive collection of one-dish meal recipes - Ahan Jan Diew)

What are your favorite Thai cookbooks and why?

- Sunanta, Sirijit. "The globalization of Thai cuisine." Canadian Council for Southeast Asian Studies Conference, York University, Toronto. 2005.

- Salee, Marin, and Pongsak Shongpranam. "Development of standard recipes of Thai food used in traditional functions." 18. Rajamangala Institute of Technology Conference, Pathum Thani (Thailand), 15-17 Feb 2001. 2001.

Books We Recommend:

Japanese Cookbooks

Chinese Cookbooks

Last review and update: October 29, 2019
About the Editor
Ben Benjabutr is the editor of Book Worm 4 Life. He holds a Master's Degree in business with 10+ years of work experience and 8+ years of experience in blogging and online content production. He enjoys reading books about business, lifestyle and literature and he loves to share what he learns from books. You can connect with him via Quora or drop him a line via e-mail.