Thai Cuisine

Hot, Sweet, Salty, Sour and Bitter
Variety in Flavor, Ingredients, Color

“Food is eaten not just for nourishment. For a Thai, it is an art, a topic of conversation, a source of pleasure.” — Kreesnee Ruangkritya [1]

Deva sculpture, Thailand 15th century

Deva, Thailand, 15th cent.

The core concepts of Thai cooking are hot, sweet, salty, sour and bitter.  A well-designed meal offers a variety in flavors, preparation methods, ingredients, and color.

So if a Red Curry is the main dish, the cook woul Continue reading

Indonesian Cuisine

A Nation of Islands
Rijsttafel, Sate, and Sambals

“Indonesia isn’t a country, it’s a happening.” — Christopher Lucas [1]

Garjda, Indonesia 14th cent.

Garuda, Indonesia, 14th cent.

Indonesia stretches from the Asian mainland towards Australia, like a jade necklace across the southern ocean.  The nation contains more than 17,000 islands, and its people represent several hundred ethnic groups, speaking many different languages.

Indonesia is an ancient country and its Continue reading

Cambodian Cuisine

Rice, Fish and Edible Flowers
An Ancient Civilization, a Noble Cuisine

Angkor Wat

“The Cambodians have some two hundred different ways of describing rice of various kinds.” — Christopher Pym [1]

Cambodian cuisine, descended from the ancient Khmer society, is one of the world’s oldest cuisines. [2]

It is now in a period of revival and Continue reading

Indonesian Hot Sauce Sambal Oelek

Mortar-Ground Intense Hot Sauce
Rice Table Essential

cooking with Indonesian hot sauce Sambal Oelek

Sambal Oelek

A spicy hot red sauce called Sambal Oelek may be the most popular of the hundreds of varieties of Sambals in Indonesian cuisine.

The name Sambal Oelek means a mortar-ground Sambal or savory sauce, because it is typically ground in a stone mortar.

Sambal Oelek is probably the most familiar hot sauce served to accompany Indonesian food.It’s probably essential for a Rice Table or Rijsttafel meal. Continue reading


Essential to Any Indonesian Dinner
Another Tamil Traveler

“A most essential part of any respectable Indonesian dinner.” — Alec Robeau [1]

“In the realm of condiments, the unbridled Indonesian imagination runs wild.” — Agnes de Keijzer Brackman [2]

Indonesian sambal

Sambal Istimewa, one of many Indonesian sambals

The Indonesian food group called Sambals is sometimes translated as pickles or relish or condiments.  It is commonly described as chili based, although this may not always  be the case.

Sambal is normally used to mean a condiment that has a chile based sauce.

Sambals are popular in the cooking of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, Continue reading

Jean-Georges Vongerichten


The Most Famous Fusion Chef
Hooked on Kimchi

“No single chef has made more influence on the way…other chefs cook and other restaurants look.” — New York Magazine



You have probably noticed an explosion of Thai-inspired restaurants run by Westerner chefs. You will find them in many places, even in Bangkok.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten, the Alsatian-born French chef, may be the single person most responsible for this phenomenon. Continue reading