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Traditional Recipes of Laos
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Prospect Books first published this manuscript (from notebooks compiled by the late Master of Ceremonies and Chef at the Royal Palace at Luang Prabang) in 1981. The first edition was a parallel text: Lao on the left, English translation on the right-hand page. Later editions (after 1994) were in English only. This version reestablishes the Lao text and prints the English unchanged from previous editions. The notebooks are a precious resource for those wishing to cook Lao food: the 124 recipes were compiled to give a balanced view of the cuisine (albeit from quite a high-ranking perspective). In the thirty years since its first appearance, materials and ingredients have become easier to source, and the cooking techniques and styles more familiar to us. The dishes, therefore, are very cookable. There is a long prefatory section, written by the late Alan Davidson and his daughter Jennifer, which explains much about Lao cookery, ingredients and equipment. The whole book is plentifully illustrated with drawings done from life by Soun Vannithone and other Lao artists. The introduction is 50 pages long and covers the life of Phia Sing; Lao eating habits and attitudes to food; Lao culinary terms and culinary equipment; and Lao ingredients. The recipes occupy 250 pages and there is a supplement of 10 pages with recipes for Lao desserts (which were not covered by Phia Sing's notebooks).
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About the Author

Phia Sing (d. 1967) was Master of Ceremonies and Chef at the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang. The late Alan Davidson was British ambassador to Laos in the 1960s and after a distinguished career in the diplomatic service, turned to writing and publishing on food and cookery. His masterpiece is The Oxford Companion to Food. He was the founder of Prospect Books.

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