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photography by Georgia Glynn Smith

Quadrille, London; Whitecap, Canada, 2002

winner of the World Gourmand Cuisine Book Award
for Best Asian Cuisine Book in the World 2002

Dutch edition: Azie Nieuwe Stijl, Tirion Uitgevers, Baarn, 2002

Food habits, food fashions change quickly and change often, though once we've learned to enjoy a new food style we never quite lose it. Likewise, people who migrate to new homes never forget the foods and dishes of the place they started from. This book began as an enquiry into how Asian food traditions - Southeast Asian in particular - have been taken in recent years all over the globe, and especially to Australia, New Zealand, and the West Coast of North America. I've travelled widely through these countries and regions during the past twenty years as a researcher, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I travelled less as an anthropologist than as a chef and diner in five-star restaurants. The exciting ideas, after all, generally surface in fine-dining places in big cities, led by the examples of master chefs and restaurateurs. So I ate at quite a number of the best Asian-inspired restaurants around the Pacific Rim, and talked, often at great length and on several occasions, with their guiding spirits: Cheong Liew, Tetsuya Wakuda, Alice Waters, David Thompson, Peter Gordon, Christine Manfield, Jereme Leung, and many more. Many of them took me into their kitchens, showed me their signature dishes in preparation, gave me their recipes, and wished me well. They did this because they wanted more people to know how modern Asian food is being cooked, not just in posh restaurants but in private homes where good food is important, and where families want to make the most from ingredients and flavours that were once 'exotic' and are now available everywhere. Some of these you may regard as dinner-party dishes, if you like; but they can all be made quite quickly and easily for everyday eating - at the same time, making any meal an event.