Like any good marriage, Thai food and drinking have a way of turning each other into better entities. Nights of overindulgence are enriched through Thai’s spectrum of spicy, fresh and funked-up flavors, which only develop in intensity after booze frees up the taste buds a little. Equally, consuming Thai without beer is akin to mediocre sex or sports that end in a tie. Unsatisfying.
Suffice it to say, Thailand’s bar snacks are in a league of their own. If you’ve ever attacked a plate of the fish sauce wings at a Pok Pok, you’ll have some idea of what we’re talking about. And now Pok Pok creator and chef Andy Ricker just released a new book the subject of Thai bar eats, in case you can’t make it to Bangkok this season.
Pok Pok The Drinking Food Of Thailand is a 272-page cookbook featuring 50 recipes, a majority from Pok Pok’s Whiskey Soda Lounge, following the rhythms of a laidback travelogue that provides insight into regional Thai drinking snacks and the techniques and ingredients that serve as its backbone. Ricker often relates how he first encountered the included dishes, bringing to life the country’s bar culture through colorful photos and zealous chef-pirate stories.
The recipes, typically pointing to Northern Thailand, are meant to be easier to pull off than those found in the first Pok Pok cookbook. So feel free to crack a beer before pulling out the sharp instruments.
Soon you’ll be pulling off party fare like fried pig ears and fried peanuts with kaffir lime, garlic and chilies. Or Thai fried chicken that will blow dates and dinner parties away. There are also pork ribs cooked "underwater" and a damnedly hot phat khii mao, essentially “stir-fry for drunks,” with intentions of replacing many a 3am bowl of microwaved ramen loaded with refrigerated miscellanea.
The book, published by 10-Speed Press, is currently available for about $21.95.