Far Eastern Odyssey is an epic culinary journey along rivers, through jungles and around coastlines. Along the way, Rick visits traditional family-run restaurants, street vendors, floating markets, night markets, fishing villages, and the local cinnamon and rice farmers to learn about the authentic food of the Far East, and to sample the delicious spectrum of exotic flavours.
In this tie-in cookery book to the series, Rick shares his new-found knowledge, recreating the tantalizing food of his travels and capturing on the plate the rich and varying cultures of the Far East.
With over 150 new recipes and breathtaking on-location photography, this book evokes the magic of bustling markets, exotic locations and exciting flavours.
“Lovely to look at, while Stein proves an amiable and enthusiastic guide”
Cambodia & Vietnam
Rick will take the viewer on an epic culinary journey by sea, down rivers and overland to explore the Far East’s most diverse food cultures which have soared to the heights of popularity the world over.
The odyssey begins in Cambodia – a country still recovering from the horrific regime of the Khmer Rouge. Nevertheless, tourists (and not just back-packing gap year students) are beginning to return to this land dotted with sugar palms, paddy fields and small villages. Rick discovers the joys of freshly caught swimmer crabs cooked with the green peppercorns from Kampot, once the king of pepper. He learns how to cook the most famous dish in the country, Fish Amok, made with lemongrass and coconut and he samples Lok Lak, an extremely popular and delicious dish made with stir-fried strips of marinated beef.
Like most people who come here he visits the awe-inspiring Angkor Wat temple – the very symbol of the country before joining a rice barge to take him down the mighty Mekong River to the border of Vietnam.
Vietnam & Thailand
Rick travels down the Mekong River to Vietnam where the food is light and fresh using abundance of herbs, lots of freshwater fish and flavoursome soups made with thin strips of beef with rice noodles. “It’s slimming food,” he says with some enthusiasm.
In Saigon he visits the old stomping ground of his hero Graham Greene and in Hanoi he meets up with a former employee who delights in the varied and delicious street food of Vietnam’s capital city. And for the ultimate in al fresco eating he tries the night food stalls in the heart of Bangkok.
Thailand & Malaysia
Rick continues his odyssey in Thailand where he meets up with one of his heroes, David Thompson, a man who has immersed his professional life into understanding Thai cuisine. He takes a train south to Phuket to learn the art of a hot and sour Tom Yum Goong, the culinary icon of Thailand. Finally he visits Melaka, once the heart of the spice trade, to enjoy the delights of Nyonya cuisine.
Malaysia & Sri Lanka
Rick is spoilt for choice as he explores the multi faceted food of Penang, an appealing mix of indigenous Malay, Indian and Chinese with a bit of British charm thrown in for good measure. He meets up with a vibrant food writer, Fay Khoo, to discover the exceptional popularity of fish head curry in the region. Across the Indian Ocean in Sri Lanka Rick continues his passion for seafood by visiting a bustling fishing village north of Colombo and takes part in a most unusual fishing expedition further south in Galle.
Sri Lanka & Bali
Rick Stein visits Sri Lanka and discovers a wealth of hot and spicy vegetable curries. In Colombo he meets Chef Publis, one the country’s most respected chefs and tastes an unforgettable chilli crab in a small Tamil eatery. Down in Galle he discovers the delights of tea plantations, buffalo curd and experiences first hand the secrets of making cinnamon. Back at home he creates a delicious cashew nut curry to savour the memories of his time in Sri Lanka. Then onto the volcanic island of Bali where food takes on a religious significance. He samples the best roast pork he’s ever tasted and having bought fish straight off the day boats, enjoys fresh BBQ’d fish on a beach. He ends his trip to Bali by taking part in a village ceremonial feast.
Rick ends his culinary tour in Bangladesh, the country that spawned thousands of Indian Restaurants in Britain years ago. With curry is at the top of his list, he starts his journey in Dhaka and discovers the intricacies of making a true biryani. With fish being central to most Bengali dishes, he is invited for lunch by a local family to sample the country’s traditional dish of Fish Dampokht. Heading north to Sylhet he explores the city’s close links to British curry houses and visits a Khasi village close to the Indian border for an unforgettable pork and black sesame seed curry. Back at home, he cooks fish steamed in banana leaves with mustard massala.