Dishes from Southeast Asia have become more prevalent on American restaurant menus and, increasingly, in Americans’ cookbook collections. Thai and Vietnamese cuisine have garnered the most attention, and Ten Speed has been a standout in this area, with recent successes such as Pok Pok by Andy Ricker with J.J. Goode (2013; 51,000 print copies sold, per BookScan) and Vietnamese Home Cooking by Charles Fan (2012; 34,000 print units sold).
In March, the publisher is turning to a different Southeast Asian nation, with Burma Superstar by Desmond Tan, owner of three Bay Area restaurants of the same name, and food writer Kate Leahy. “Myanmar [formerly Burma] is a fascinating country with an extremely diverse cuisine,” says Jenny Wapner, executive editor at Ten Speed. Because the food is informed by neighboring China, India, and Thailand, and the country’s former British colonial rule, it’s “truly a melting pot of culinary traditions.” Tan includes, among the 80 recipes, restaurant favorites such as tea leaf salad and samosa soup and visits the home kitchens of Burmese cooks.
Malaysian cuisine, too, incorporates an array of Asian and European influences, which Houghton Mifflin Harcourt editor Stephanie Fletcher believes gives it broad appeal. “If you’re already a fan of other cuisines that feature these flavors, then Malaysian food will feel familiar,” she says. “Bold international flavors naturally become assimilated into our food culture over time.” Christina Arokiasamy’s The Malaysian Kitchen (HMH, Mar.) harnesses those flavors for the home cook, drawing on her Kuala Lumpur upbringing, the cooking classes she teaches in Seattle and the surrounding area, and the culinary tours of Southeast Asia she leads.
In April, Weldon Owen will release Malaysia by Ping Coombes, 2014 winner of the U.K. cooking competition television show MasterChef. The author takes inspiration from her hometown of Ipoh, sharing descriptions of the “bustling night-market food scene and stories of her mom’s curries and soups simmering all day to await her homecoming from school,” says Amy Marr, associate publisher at Weldon Owen.
Below, other forthcoming cookbooks that invite readers into the home kitchens, street stalls, and restaurants that serve up Southeast Asian cuisine.
Adventures in Starry Kitchen by Nguyen Tran (HarperOne, June). Tran and his wife launched Starry Kitchen as an underground pop-up in their studio apartment, and now helm the kitchen at Los Angeles arcade/bar Button Mash, where dishes inspired by Tran’s Vietnamese heritage include cha gio (Vietnamese egg rolls) and bun cha Hanoi (pork in fish sauce with rice noodles).
Amazing Malaysian by Norman Musa (Square Peg, dist. by IPG; June). The Penang-born cofounder of Ning restaurant and cooking school in Manchester, England, shares recipes for popular dishes such as nasi lemak (coconut rice) and roti canai (Malaysian flatbread) as well as the more idiosyncratic “My Dad’s Noodles” and “My Mum’s Chicken Rendang.”
Bangkok by Leela Punyaratabandhu (Ten Speed, May). In an ode to Thailand’s capital city, Punyaratabandhu, author of 2014’s Simple Thai Food, covers home-style family dishes, casual street snacks, and restaurant classics. Our starred review called it “a remarkable collection of cleverly selected recipes.”
Luke Nguyen’s Street Food Asia by Luke Nguyen (Hardie Grant, Mar.). In Nguyen’s seventh book, he translates the hawker stall dishes of Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, and Saigon for the home cook.
Made in Vietnam by Tracey Lister and Andreas Pohl (Hardie Grant, Aug.). Lister, who runs a cooking school in Hanoi, and her husband take a culinary voyage across Vietnam, covering the hearty food of the north, the imperial cuisine of the capital region, and the spicy tastes of the tropical south.