• Acclaimed bestseller that explains the perplexing charms of Thai life.

• Definitive source on Thai pop, trusted by locals, experts, media, students and visitors.

• Iconic style book for designers, authors, artists and curators.


This pioneering celebration of Thai pop and streetlife has been totally revised to reflect the dramatic changes in Thailand. With a contemporary eye and two decades” experience, the author delves beyond the Thai clichés to reveal the casual, everyday expressions of Thainess that so delight and puzzle, from floral truck bolts and taxi altars to buffalo cart furniture and drinks in a bags. Full of savvy insights into the impromptu creativity behind the exotic image of Thainess. Like no other book, Very Thai captures the quirky vigour of the Thai street.



70 Chapters • 320 pages • 591 Colour Photographs

Foreword by Alex Kerr • Afterword by Pracha Suveeranont

Very Thai Blog
October 9, 2018

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October 4, 2018

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October 4, 2018

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    September 6, 2017

    Thai Pop Icons: Mysteries & Masterkeys

    BNH Hospital, Bangkok

    VT Talk BNH Thai Cliches 13-0205 title

    Keynote talk by Philip Cornwel-Smith on ‘Thai Pop Icons: Mysteries & Masterkeys’ to an audience of new arrival expatriates in Bangkok. The event is hosted by BNH and held in BNH Hospital.

    Posted in: Blog, Events,

    Tags: #culture #events #expatriates #medical tourism #popularculture #streetlife #talks #Thailand 

    August 29, 2017

    Thai Pop Icons: Mysteries & Masterkeys

    BNH Hospital, Bangkok

    VT Talk BNH Thai Cliches 13-0205 title

    Keynote talk by Philip Cornwel-Smith on ‘Thai Pop Icons: Mysteries & Masterkeys’ to an audience of new arrival expatriates in Bangkok. The event is hosted by BNH and held in BNH Hospital.

    Posted in: Blog, Events,

    Tags: #culture #events #expatriates #medical tourism #popularculture #streetlife #talks #Thailand 

    May 17, 2017

    Bangkok’s Street Food Future

    Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand

    Panel discussion on the future of streetfood in Bangok, after the city authorities start moving it out of some parts of the city

    7pm, Wednesday 17th May 2017

    An apparently misreported comment from a Bangkok city government official set off a storm of protest recently, when he was quote as saying all street food would be banned in the capital. The government has rushed to reassure roadside gourmands that this is not true – Bangkok is in fact planning an international street food festival. But street food vendors have been moved from some city centre areas, and the authorities say they will enforce stricter hygiene, and try to clear pavements where they are blocked, leaving lingering anxiety over the future of the quintessentially Bangkok cuisine.

    The need to clear pavements and ensure food safety are legitimate concerns – but the BMA’s record of cultural sensitivity and flexibiity in enforcing its edicts is not encouraging. There are disagreements too over what defines ‘street food’ – some of the finest examples are produced in shophouses, open to the street.

    Chawadee Nualkhair is the author of “Thailand’s Best Street Food” and writes the blog Bangkok Glutton.

    Piyaluck Nakayodhin is the publisher of “Street Food: 39 Great Places Under 100 Bahts”.

    Philip Cornwel-Smith, a freelance writer and editor specializing in culture and travel, is the author of “Very Thai. Everyday Popular Culture”.

    David Thompson is a celebrity chef who has run several successful restaurants in Australia, UK and Thailand, including the Nahm restaurant in Bangkok, and is the author of “Thai Street Food”, a collection of this favorite 100 recipes of the street.

    Join us for what promises to be an invigorating discussion with some of the city’s greatest street food afficionados.

    Members: free, Non-members 450thb, Thai journalists and Students with VALID ID: 150thb

    Posted in: Blog, Events, Media,

    Tags: #Bangkok #culture #events #FCCT #food #streetlife #Thailand #tourism #tradition 

    April 16, 2017

    Very Thai is #1 in blog’s list of “10 Thailand Souvenirs that Don’t Suck”


    The book Very Thai has been named by the blog Rice/Potato as the #1 item in a list of “10 Thailand Souvenirs that Don’t Suck’!

    1: ‘Very Thai’ book

    Ever wondered about the meaning of taxi talismans, the life of Bangkok’s ‘hi-so’ crowd, or why drinks are often served in plastic bags? Philip Cornwel-Smith’s Very Thai gives a fascinating insight into the colorful everyday life of Thailand’s residents and shines a light on aspects of everyday pop culture, Thai design, and ancient traditions. This book is essential for anyone who wants to take a deeper dive into contemporary Thai culture. A lot of ‘Ah, that’s why!’ moments guaranteed.

    Where to find it:
    Available at most branches of Asia Books. (THB 995,-)

    10 Thailand souvenirs that don’t suck




    Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

    Tags: #blogs #book #endorsements #reviews 

    January 5, 2017

    Very Thai book updated for 2017


    A lot has happened in Thailand since the 2nd edition of Very Thai was launched. King Bhumbol passed away on 13 October 2016, beginning the reign of King Vachiralongkorn. The Bangkok Shutdown protests, the coup of 2014 and the subsequent junta regime have changed many things about the country’s popular culture, especially in the capital.

    In particular the junta and BMA have targeted the informal economy, evicting communities, closing famous markets, banishing streetfood and vendors from most of downtown, reorganising motorcycle taxis and car taxis, buses, boats and other streetlife. They have also affected nightlife, media, entertainments, and the river, among many other things. Meanwhile, movements like new curated markets have made a big splash. In addition, the world has shifted ever more into the digital realm, with apps becoming a major feature of Bangkok life.

    This update has kept the structure of the book the same, but affected most chapters in some way.

    Posted in: about the book, Blog,

    Tags: #Bangkok #blogs #book #Thailand 

    January 1, 2017

    Thailand Expat Writers List

    by Paul Dorsey

    Philip Cornwel-Smith and ‘Very Thai’ feature on this comprehensive Facebook list of all books about Thailand by expatriate authors.


    Posted in: Blog, Reviews,

    Tags: #academic #Bangkok #blogs #book #reviews #Thailand #website 

    December 23, 2016

    Smiling Albino

    Very Thai Thai: How Pop Became Heritage:

    Philip gave a talk to the guides and staff of tailored travel agency Smiling Albino at their Ramkhamhaeng HQ in Bangkok. The monochrome theme marked the mourning period for King Bhumibol.

    Posted in: Blog,

    Tags: #popularculture #streetlife #talks #Thai language #Thailand #tradition