About Me

My name is Leela Punyaratabandhu. I’m a writer. I have authored three books: Simple Thai Food (2014), Bangkok (2017), and Flavors of the Southeast Asian Grill (2020). You can find out more about me on my personal website.

From 2008 to 2018, I wrote about Thai cooking on, SheSimmers.com which was named the best Regional Cuisine blog by SAVEUR in 2012, the same year the Chicago Tribune named me one of the seven new food writers to know. My writing has appeared in CNN, Wall Street Journal, TASTE, Epicurious, Serious Eats, Food52, and Dill Magazine. In 2017, Epicurious named me of the 100 Greatest Home Cooks of All Time. In 2018, my book, Bangkok, won the Art of Eating Prize which is awarded to one single best food book of the year. In 2020, my What Can’t Fennel Do? was included among the notable pieces in The Best American Food Writing 2020.

I live near Chicago, but I also have a home in Bangkok, the city where I was born and raised. My work focuses on Thai food, but I’m also interested in linguistics, philology, intercultural communications, and culinary history.

I am currently writing my fourth cookbook, tentatively scheduled for early 2024.

About The Epestle

The Epestle—a portmanteau of “pestle” (as in “mortar and pestle,” the most important cooking tool in the Thai kitchen) and “epistle”—is where I write about all things related to Thai food and culture. Much of what you see here is too “niche” to be included in traditionally published cookbooks.

The majority of the posts are for paid subscribers only.

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Thai food in America and several long-considered but barely filtered thoughts on the subject (plus, of course, recipes)


Writer and illustrator; Author of Simple Thai Food, Bangkok, and Flavors of the Southeast Asian Grill. https://leelapunyaratabandhu.com/about/