Thursday, October 3, 2013

5 Questions with Tom Vandenberghe, author of Bangkok Street Food

What inspired this book?

I lived in Thailand for a while (2 years) when organizing culinary trips for a travel agency in Belgium. It struck me how Thai people are obsessed with food and how much this is a part of their social life and behaviour. Food and especially hawker food is plenty full in Thailand, you could say it's the heart and soul of Thai cooking. As a first time visitor it is hard to find your way trough the maze of street food stalls. In writing the "Bangkok street food" book, I tried to help the reader how to recognize certain food stalls and their typical dishes. The book is as much a guide book as a cooking book. Out of a passion of street food and the culture of eating out in the streets which I wanted to share with other people with the same interest.

What's special about Bangkok street food?

We managed to do all photography on the field, no studio work in this book, this helps to identify the dishes at the food stalls and is quite exceptional for a cooking book. The book is as much a guide book as a cooking book.

What are the people like in Bangkok?

People in Thailand are generally open and friendly toward tourist. Thai people like to help and please people. In Bangkok, like in many cities around the world the hasty and busy life of a city reflects itself in the social behaviour, but even then Bangkokians and Thai are still people that like to enjoy eating and life in itself?

There are many beautiful images in the book, anyone stand out to you as the best?

The picture on the front page where the girl is cooking and launching at the same time. Not only because I ate probable hundreds of times at her food stall but it reflect the posting attitude towards life and the passion for cooking.

What's your favorite dish?

Tom yam kung, probably Thailand's most famous dish. The sourness of the lemongrass, galanga ginger, Kaffir lime leaves and spiceness of the chillies make this dish a taste and experience that you will never forget.

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