All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China

All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China

A comprehensive, contemporary portrait of China's culinary landscape and the geography and history that has shaped it, with more than 300 recipes. Vaulting from ancient taverns near the Yangtze River to banquet halls in modern Taipei, All Under Heaven is the first cookbook in English to examine all 35 cuisines of China. Drawing on centuries' worth of culinary texts, as wel...

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Title:All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China
Author:Carolyn Phillips
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Edition Language:English

All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China Reviews

  • Julie Davis

    Was given a print copy (huzzah!) for my birthday so am rereading. I originally read a NetGalley version on my Kindle. The bonus here, aside from clear presentation of the writing, is that there are a lot of illustrations (occasionally whimsical) which really enhance the book. My favorite so far - a picture of a cow, with all the offal labeled, and a sound bubble coming from its mouth saying "Moo" (I assume) in Chinese characters. Original review is below.

    =========

    I was 12% into this book when I

    Was given a print copy (huzzah!) for my birthday so am rereading. I originally read a NetGalley version on my Kindle. The bonus here, aside from clear presentation of the writing, is that there are a lot of illustrations (occasionally whimsical) which really enhance the book. My favorite so far - a picture of a cow, with all the offal labeled, and a sound bubble coming from its mouth saying "Moo" (I assume) in Chinese characters. Original review is below.

    =========

    I was 12% into this book when I knew I wanted a copy for myself. I was 20% into it when I realized I needed to preorder multiple copies for everyone I know who cooks Chinese food.

    I've got several Chinese cookbooks and had sworn off ever buying any more. My favorite,

    by Irene Kuo, never lets me down and has a lot of variety packed into it.

    However,

    was written with the same sort of clear instructions and approachable style. Additionally, it looked at the usual Chinese regional cuisine divisions (Sichuan, Hunan, Cantonese, etc.) more closely than I'd ever seen.

    This means than you don't just read about Cantonese or Southern Chinese cooking, but also get to try typical Hakka dishes or try that of Taiwan's military families who came from different provinces and then gave everything a big stir to create their own distinctive cuisine. Some of the dishes sound like a familiar twist on our favorites like Silk Road Fajitas, until you realize that this is a traditional Northwestern Chinese dish. Some have a technique that I can't wait to try, like Shaved Noodles with Meat Sauce where you use an ultra-sharp knife to shave noodles off a block of pasta dough.

    I loved Carolyn Phillips' writing, especially the accessible headnotes to each recipe. Her explanation of the different regions was always personalized at the end so that we got to share a little of her life in China too.

    This book was provided in a terrible Kindle version by NetGalley. I assume the garbling of the recipes is because of NetGalley's conversion. My review is my own.

  • Robert Durough, Jr.

    by Carolyn Phillips is the most comprehensive cookbook of Chinese cuisine I’ve ever seen, and I’ve looked through many in both the US and China. There are certainly others that go into greater detail on a specific type of cuisine (e.g., I have one just for dumplings), but this is the first that covers such a broad range of local cuisines with such depth and intentionality. If you only have one Chinese cookbook, this is indeed the one to hav

    by Carolyn Phillips is the most comprehensive cookbook of Chinese cuisine I’ve ever seen, and I’ve looked through many in both the US and China. There are certainly others that go into greater detail on a specific type of cuisine (e.g., I have one just for dumplings), but this is the first that covers such a broad range of local cuisines with such depth and intentionality. If you only have one Chinese cookbook, this is indeed the one to have.

    Phillips divides the cuisines into five regions with several subcategories:

    a. Shandong

    b. Beijing

    c. Tianjin

    d. Hebei

    e. The Northeast

    a. Huai Yang

    b. Jiangsu

    c. Shangjai

    d. Zhejiang

    e. Northern Fujian

    f. Anhui

    g. Henan

    h. Jiangxi

    a. The Kakka

    b. Chaozhou

    c. Southern Fujian

    d. Taiwan

    e. Taiwan’s Military Families

    f. Hainan

    g. Guangdon and Southern Guangxi

    h. Pearl River Delta

    i. Macau

    j. Hong Kong

    a. Sichuan

    b. Hunan

    c. Yunnan

    d. Guizhou

    e. Northern Guangxi

    a. Shaanxi

    b. Shanxi

    c. Gansu

    d. The Northwest

    e. Inner Mongolia

    f. Tibet

    Each section begins with a couple pages about the region and a short paragraph or two on each subcategory, followed by a plethora of recipes organized by appetizers & small plates, soups, entrées, side dishes, starches & street food, sweets, and beverages. Therefore, the recipes are not organized according to subcategories, though each recipe is labeled accordingly. Over 300 recipes are provided, and I can personally vouch for the authenticity of many. This is a rather large tome (514 pages and 8.3 x 1.9 x 10.2 inches!), and there are, of course, decisions to be made as to the inclusion and exclusion of certain regional dishes. Given the wide variety found herein, including both simple and complex, as well as the aforementioned street food, it is obvious that this is not merely a set of recipes of fine Chinese restaurants. So, I am not quite sure why Phillips would leave out something as nationally recognized as Yangzhou fried rice or the Tibetan dietary staple of barley with yak milk, but the recipes that are provided are indeed authentic to their regions. Perhaps “fried rice is fried rice is fried rice” to some, so a simpler recipe found in the book would perceivably suffice, and it is not likely that many will find yak milk at their local grocers nor online; thus the recipes may have been chosen based on both authenticity and accessibility, for which I have no complaints. Again, it is a treasure as is!

    The last 120 pages (The Fundamentals) include basic recipes and techniques for things found throughout the book, especially for those who wish to make rather than purchase certain ingredients and/or specific preparations thereof. A glossary and buying guide is organized alphabetically according it English name or transliteration with both their Chinese character and pinyin translations—both helpful and important when shopping in ethnic stores, as one should! Finally, included are recommended menus for each region according to mealtime and number of people served.

    The book itself is beautifully and simply designed with black and red text (very Chinese) and hand-sketched pictures indicative of traditional art and cookbooks—none of the gorgeous photography of cookbooks I normally review, but beautiful all the same. Those who can read Chinese may find an intentional comedic moment or two therein.

    I highly recommend this book to those looking for a wide variety of China’s distinct and authentic cuisines, as well as those who only eat at Chinese-American fast food restaurants and don’t know what they’re missing by buying cookbooks that cater to those tastes! I imagine this will quickly become a staple work in culinary endeavors.

    *I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

  • Tonstant Weader

    All Under Heaven is a comprehensive guide to the cuisines of China, all 35 of them. Did you even know there were 35 Chinese cuisines? Cynthia Phillips does and she wrote the book. The cuisines are organized geographically, starting with the North, and the Manchurian Northeast, down the Yangtze River and Environs, down to the Coastal Southeast, across the Central Highlands and off to the Arid Lands of the West. There is also a huge section on the fundamentals of Chinese cuisine. There’s also valu

    All Under Heaven is a comprehensive guide to the cuisines of China, all 35 of them. Did you even know there were 35 Chinese cuisines? Cynthia Phillips does and she wrote the book. The cuisines are organized geographically, starting with the North, and the Manchurian Northeast, down the Yangtze River and Environs, down to the Coastal Southeast, across the Central Highlands and off to the Arid Lands of the West. There is also a huge section on the fundamentals of Chinese cuisine. There’s also valuable tips you won’t find everywhere, such as removing boar bristles and pinfeathers or how to fold a chopstick wrapper into a chopstick holder three different ways.

    This book would be worth it, just for the Basic Recipes section. This is a great reference book, with an extensive glossary and great tips. With all the other sections, though, it is a huge book, with more than 350 recipes and so heavy, I rested it on a pillow on my lap to read because it is too heavy to hold for long.

    It would be nice to have a few color photos, but the illustrative sketches are superior to photos for the technique and tips. Photos can have too much information, simple line drawings show only the relevant and important elements.

    This is an outstanding cookbook, one of those that will be a classic that anyone serious about learning Chinese cooking will invest in. It is written with authority. The variety of recipes is vast and vegan and vegetarian recipes are noted in the sectional recipe lists, making it easier to select what you like. Phillips also notes when you can substitute pork for chicken, for example. This is important because cooks need to know they can stray from the recipes. Good cooks learn best from cookbooks that are not too prescriptive, but allow for options.

    As outstanding as it is, I have to point out to one flaw that irked me. There are frequent historical and cultural notes, some of the most important elements in the book, and they are in red print and small san serif text. I really wish the folks who design books would spare a thought for people who struggle with really fine print. I would prefer darker ink, so the contrast is more stark, making it easy to read.

    I received a copy of All Under Heaven from Ten Speed Press through Blogging For Books.

  • Amanda Rogozinski

    All Under Heaven by Carolyn Phillips takes a comprehensive look at Chinese cuisine, and by comprehensive I mean over 500 pages containing over 300 recipes, and weighing approximately 4 pounds!

    This woman is serious about her cooking, and as authentic as you can get. All 35 different cuisines of China are represented, divided into five different regions. Each section of this volume relays a fascinating and well-researched food history of the region it represents. If you don't know where a recipe t

    All Under Heaven by Carolyn Phillips takes a comprehensive look at Chinese cuisine, and by comprehensive I mean over 500 pages containing over 300 recipes, and weighing approximately 4 pounds!

    This woman is serious about her cooking, and as authentic as you can get. All 35 different cuisines of China are represented, divided into five different regions. Each section of this volume relays a fascinating and well-researched food history of the region it represents. If you don't know where a recipe title like "Ignored by the Dog" came, from Phillips will tell you--along with many other crazy tidbits.

    Over 100 pages of "fundamentals" in the back provide essential know-how, like a basic Chinese flour recipe for stickier baked goods results. A thorough glossary explains what the different ingredients mentioned throughout the book are and where to find them. Very detailed technique descriptions, as well as helpful tips on almost every page enable cooks of any level to enter into this whole new culinary world. One of my favorite parts is the sample menu ideas in the back for pairing recipes.

    Phillips writes with a love for food and for culture that is contagious. My mouth is watering for some battered and caramelized apples or Drunken Chicken. This book is an education all right, and an invitation to the adventurous!

    *Review copy courtesy of BloggingforBooks*

  • Jocelyn Eikenburg

    If I was exiled to a desert island and forced to bring only one Chinese cookbook with me, it would have to be All Under Heaven by Carolyn Phillips.

    For years, I’ve longed for an ultimate Chinese cookbook. An encyclopedic guide to the finest culinary pleasures of China without prejudice to one particular region. A book that would honor the foods of Zhejiang and Shaanxi and Xinjiang as much as the flavors of Sichuan, Hunan and the Cantonese region.

    Thanks to Carolyn, that cookbook (All Under Heaven)

    If I was exiled to a desert island and forced to bring only one Chinese cookbook with me, it would have to be All Under Heaven by Carolyn Phillips.

    For years, I’ve longed for an ultimate Chinese cookbook. An encyclopedic guide to the finest culinary pleasures of China without prejudice to one particular region. A book that would honor the foods of Zhejiang and Shaanxi and Xinjiang as much as the flavors of Sichuan, Hunan and the Cantonese region.

    Thanks to Carolyn, that cookbook (All Under Heaven) is a reality – and it’s a must-buy for anyone serious about Chinese cuisine.

    All Under Heaven is over 500 pages of the greatest recipes from all over the Middle Kingdom.

    It was such a thrill to see every single province and region included (along with an in-depth introduction to each), which I’ve yet to find in any other Chinese cookbook. Carolyn writes with such passion about Chinese food – whether it’s in the introductions to the regions, peppered with her own culinary experiences, or the recipes themselves – that you can’t help but feel excited every time you open this book. The recipes are also easy to follow and span everything from elegant banquet dishes to simple everyday stir-fries to even those magical essentials for great Chinese food (like dough and breads and sauces and oils). And if you’re a vegan like me, you’ll appreciate the many vegetarian options scattered throughout the pages.

    All Under Heaven is so comprehensive that you might never need another Chinese cookbook again.

  • Lili

    I received this book as an advance reader copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

    The Chinese cookbook that sees the most action in my kitchen is a 1975 hardcover edition of

    ’s

    , which is so old and well used that it is falling apart. I have perused/purchased/experimented with other Chinese cookbooks over the years, but none have captured my heart like the battered blue book. So I was definitely excited to learn that I got approved f

    I received this book as an advance reader copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

    The Chinese cookbook that sees the most action in my kitchen is a 1975 hardcover edition of

    ’s

    , which is so old and well used that it is falling apart. I have perused/purchased/experimented with other Chinese cookbooks over the years, but none have captured my heart like the battered blue book. So I was definitely excited to learn that I got approved for an advanced reader copy of a brand new comprehensive Chinese cookbook, with almost two months to cook from it.

    All Under Heaven is divided into chapters according to regional cuisine, with the basic recipes coming after the regional chapters. Each regional cuisine chapter then begins with a brief (four or so page) overview of the linguistic, cultural and historical influences on the regional cuisine, as well as some of its main ingredients and characteristics. These overviews are very well written: informative, yet personal and interesting. After the overview comes the table of recipes for the region, organized by course. Each recipe indicates the specific cuisine it represents within the region and has a brief introduction that explains either the background of the recipe or the finer points of the recipe. In many ways, this book is an homage to the author’s mother-in-law, whose food preferences and personal history are referenced in many of the recipe introductions in the North and Manchurian Northeast section, and to the author’s father-in-law, whose cooking is referenced in many of the recipe introductions in the Coastal Southeast section. The recipe steps are clearly explained, and with good humor. For example, oil bubbled “merrily” in at least one recipe, mixtures bubbled “furiously” in a few others, browned fish were “happy to swim about in the sauce” in another recipe, and chopped meat felt “light and airy” in still others. One recipe even included a step that directed you to “turn off your phone and clear the kitchen of children and pets and anyone else who will get in your way,” and another recipe included a similar step. I really appreciate that, most times when necessary, the author gives you a good idea of how far in advance of serving you should start the recipe. That is usually the first line of the recipe. Most recipes have tips after them that further simplify shopping for ingredients and preparing the recipes. The recipes vary in complexity – from the very simple three step half page recipes to the more complex three page recipes. Occasionally, there are full-page or half-page diagrams with captions to illustrate the more complex activities. The set up for a homemade chicken smoker from an old wok was a gem. The author illustrated several different setups for steamers, with a very interesting trick with pennies in the water. Nearly every recipe that required shaping, filling, or forming something was accompanied by a captioned graphic panel. For example, the pages for rolling out and filling jiaozi (dumplings) and baozi (steamed buns) were very well done and informative. And the graphic for wrapping a spring roll made it seem very easy to achieve the perfect spring roll shape – something that I have yet to be able to master! Curiously enough, there is even a pretty good captioned graphic illustrating how to make crepes.

    The selection of recipes was interesting. From the introductory notes to the recipes, a lot of the recipes sounded like they were things that the author liked to eat while she was in Taipei. Absent was Peking Duck, as the author opted for a more exotic Yellow Braised Duck from Shandong instead. Potstickers made the cut, with a recipe for homemade wrappers. Scallion pancakes and drunken chicken, more of my favorites, also made the cut. There is a fascinating recipe for Gold and Silver Fried Rice, which features cashews, nori, and egg (although a text box on the next page gives pretty decent instructions on do-it-yourself fried rice). Happily Char Siu pork makes an appearance, although the recipe doesn’t call for a crock-pot. Sesame Noodles, which is classified as a recipe of Taiwanese Military Families and Beijing, seems to be the closest to what restaurants in my area would call Sichuan peanut sauce. There is a recipe for Bubble Tea, which apparently was invented in Taiwan. Kung Pao Scallops is offered instead of Kung Pao Chicken, because the author believes that chicken is too bland to match the vibrancy of the recipe. At first glance, the Moo Shu Pork recipe seemed to have some very odd ingredients to it, but on further reading there were more commonplace substitutions that brings it more in line with what I’m used to. Of course, a number of my favorite Chinese take out dishes failed to make the cut: hot and sour soup, crab rangoon, General Tsao chicken, chicken with cashews, to name a few.

    Curiously enough, the author saves her best sections for the end of the book. The last two sections of the book are Chinese cooking techniques and a glossary of ingredients. I found these absolutely essential for understanding the recipes. I understand the logic of putting these chapters last in order to emphasize the Chinese cultural aspect of the cookbook, but I really would have preferred to see them up front. The Chinese cooking techniques section covers everything from selecting vegetables at the Chinese market to etiquette when dining with Chinese. There is a listing of basic kitchen equipment and a subsection troubleshooting the problems of stir frying on a “wimpy” electric stove. Like the recipes, this section is liberally illustrated with captioned graphics that demonstrate key points, including how to toss ingredients in a wok, how to chop up a whole bird and how to distinguish between types of Chinese knives. The Glossary and Buying Guide is an alphabetical (English) listing of the more exotic ingredients used in the recipes, with the Chinese characters and transliteration after the English name so that you can show someone at a Chinese market what you are looking for. Each entry describes the ingredient, gives some tips on what to look for when buying it, gives some ideas on where to buy it, talks about how to prepare and store it, and sometimes references the recipes that use it.

    I definitely do not recommend reading All Under Heaven from cover to cover like I did. It is a chore, because All Under Heaven is such a treasure trove of information. There is a lot of information in the regional overviews, as well as shorter informative blurbs sprinkled randomly throughout the text. There is very little white space in the book because all the space is taken up by recipes, informative blurbs, diagrams or other illustrations. Some of the introductory notes to the recipes can also be quite dense, whereas others are very light and breezy. Each recipe is written slightly differently, so working through all of them from front to back is slow going. Unfortunately, the Table of Contents in this book is no good at helping one find a recipe because it just gives the page numbers for the regional sections. Within each regional section is a second table of contents listing the recipes for that region. So what I do recommend is first reading the Chinese cooking techniques section in its entirety to give yourself a flavor for the methods used and for the author’s voice. Then I recommend using the suggested menus in the back (which are very good) or using the index (which is not available in the ARC) to formulate your own menu, and then reading the recipes and diagrams that correspond to your desired dishes. The recipes themselves have a lot of cross-referencing to basic recipes, the glossary of ingredients, and other notes, tips, diagrams, etc, so all that additional information can be time consuming to track down. After you’ve read the recipes, but before you start preparing them, read the regional overview for the section that the recipe hails from so that you know something about the background of the recipe, which may enlighten why it is prepared the way that it is. Then I say, cook away!

    Will All Under Heaven replace my copy of Thousand Chinese Recipes? Probably not, but that’s only because Gloria has too many fond memories. And there is undoubtedly room in my kitchen for the two to co-exist peacefully together. Will some of the chefs in my life find copies of All Under Heaven under their Christmas trees this year? Most definitely.

    Unfortunately, my advance reader copy expired before I had the time to round up some of the more exotic ingredients to make the recipes that I wanted to try. So my review is based on not having cooked any of the recipes from this book.

  • Rebecca

    A really comprehensive journey through China's many regional cuisines, with a good balance of food history and personal recollection to contextualise the recipes - with such a big collection there was a risk that it could become quite dry, but luckily this doesn't happen. There were really helpful diagrams to illustrate all kinds of intricate techniques. The one thing that could've improved the recipes for me would be giving metric conversions alongside the imperial.

    Thanks to Netgalley for the c

    A really comprehensive journey through China's many regional cuisines, with a good balance of food history and personal recollection to contextualise the recipes - with such a big collection there was a risk that it could become quite dry, but luckily this doesn't happen. There were really helpful diagrams to illustrate all kinds of intricate techniques. The one thing that could've improved the recipes for me would be giving metric conversions alongside the imperial.

    Thanks to Netgalley for the chance to read & review this.

  • Janis Hill

    I would like to thank Ten Speed Press for allowing me to read an ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

    Wow, what an amazing source of knowledge, history and simply yummy recipes. I may not be Chinese, but I grew up in Darwin and was heavily influenced by parts of the Chinese culture (food mostly) in my youth. Because of this, there are certain (mostly Cantonese/ Hong Kongese) meals that are still comfort foods for me today. Some are your mainstream, typical ‘

    I would like to thank Ten Speed Press for allowing me to read an ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

    Wow, what an amazing source of knowledge, history and simply yummy recipes. I may not be Chinese, but I grew up in Darwin and was heavily influenced by parts of the Chinese culture (food mostly) in my youth. Because of this, there are certain (mostly Cantonese/ Hong Kongese) meals that are still comfort foods for me today. Some are your mainstream, typical ‘white man’s Chinese’ as we call it, but some aren’t. Treats my children have no learnt to enjoy are haw fruit in many forms, sugared tamarinds, preserved white and black plum and so on.

    So! I might not be of this ethnic background, but I sure do have a connection to their food and I LOVE it. The more traditional and less ‘white man’ commercial the better! Which is why I simply adored ‘All Under Heaven’.

    I will warn readers now that the style of ‘All Under Heaven’ won’t be to everyone’s tastes. Not due to the contents, but from the formatting. Those who prefer big colour, glossy pictures of the foods being made or as high end presentation pieces will be disappointed. This is a more traditional ‘old style’ cook book (which I happen to love too by the way) and so instead gives gorgeous introductions to the dish – to give the reader a connection to it – and then goes through some very plainly written and simple to follow ingredients and methods. Occasionally there is a hand drawn image to match the meal or meaning, and there are some great step by step graphics for some of the trickier methods of steaming, preparing, stuffing of dumplings, etc. Actually, quite a traditional Chinese style cook book, as many of the more traditional cook books from China (in English) that I own as set out in this manner.

    Personally, I have no issues with the format. Clear to understand, well set out and in that nice neat uniform manner I like while being filled with the history of places and the dishes to truly give the reader and maker some idea of what it is the recipes are all about. I didn’t need tonnes of big, glossy photos to enjoy this book. But those who DO need said pictures, this book might not before you. Which is a shame, as you’re missing out on some amazing stuff!

    And thank you for The Fundamentals section at the back! As I really am still a Gweilo when it comes to cooking the more traditional dishes and sourcing the ingredients/ prepping them – no matter how much I strive to learn – and so was very thankful for that section. :-)

    Being a lover of Chinese pastries, moon cakes and steamed buns (lotus filled my fav for the last two) and so on, I can see myself having hours of fun working my way through the pastries. For someone with a wheat protein intolerance, I do have an affinity to wheat and what it makes. Go figure!

    The only reason I didn’t give the full 5 out of 5 stars is my usual nit-picky manner that it is a book set out in imperial measurements only. I know, I know, that is mean of me as I KNOW Ten Speed Press is a North American publishing house and so caters for the North American audience and so metric isn’t required. And I know I’m clever and can convert things no problems… but I do like my modern cook books to be a bit more universal in their measurements. Sorry.

    Would I recommend this book to others?

    Yes I would. But I would warn them that these are PROPER Chinese dishes and not the stuff they would tend to see at the local take away. I found the book good for all skill levels, from beginner to expert and felt it really did cover all aspects of the foods on show. I also loved the history and culture lessons that came with the different regions to help explain why the dishes were so diverse. So for lovers of authentic and traditional Chinese cuisine, highly recommend.

    Would I buy this book for myself?

    Most definitely. Loved it. Yes there are some dishes I can’t make (anything seafood) and yes there are some I would need to adapt due to other food intolerances I have… but I am yet to find a cookbook that can offer me a 100% success rate on things I can make from it. So, no big deal. The dishes I can make from ‘All Under Heaven’ far out-weigh the ones I can’t. It is a book that is reminiscent of one of the local cooking heroes from where I grew up – Charmaine Solomon – and so I can easily see ‘All Under Heaven’ sitting side by side with her fantastic tomes.

    In summary: A great cook book to help anyone (even we Gweilo ;-) ) make some tasty, traditional Chinese dishes from all over that amazingly creative country. I highly recommend.

  • Lara

    This is a marvelous cookbook that covers the breadth and depth of China's geography, peoples, and cuisines. The author has lived in China and traveled a great deal. The book is divided up by region, and each section starts with an introduction to the region's geography, history and people. Due to China's large size, there are many different cultures and a complex history. In the US we tend to mostly know food from one or two regions, but there is so much more. Each section of the book has appeti

    This is a marvelous cookbook that covers the breadth and depth of China's geography, peoples, and cuisines. The author has lived in China and traveled a great deal. The book is divided up by region, and each section starts with an introduction to the region's geography, history and people. Due to China's large size, there are many different cultures and a complex history. In the US we tend to mostly know food from one or two regions, but there is so much more. Each section of the book has appetizers, soups, entrees, side dishes, desserts, beverages, and more that are typical of that region. This means that there are a LOT of recipes as the country is broken into 4 main regions and there are a number of recipes for fundamental foods as well.

    The book does not have photos, and has only some line drawings. Each recipe is introduced by a narrative about its popularity or some way the author likes to make it. The ingredient lists are clear with reference to other locations in the book for unusual items (to the Western world). The instructions are well written, and the food tasty. Recipes frequently call for typical Chinese cookware, such as a wok, as well as ingredients that are not readily found the US outside of an Asian grocery store. There is a glossary that describes the different ingredients that can help if you want to figure out how to substitute an item without losing too much of the recipe's authenticity. However, the author's substitution recommendations are typically for even more unusual items that are available in China but less likely to be seen in most Western cities.

    I made a number of recipes, primarily from two regions: the Yangtze River area and the Coastal Southeast. Recipes from the first region included Hunan Chicken and Rice and Crusty Vegetable Rice. All of these took a bit of time to prepare, but turned out very flavorful and delicious. The Hunan Chicken is made in a way that I think I'll have to use again, as it is a poached whole chicken that cooks pretty quickly and is simple and very juicy. The vegetable rice was a variation on fried rice that was delicious, with ham and bok choy. It was flavorful and made wonderful leftovers.

    From the second region I made African Chicken, Diced Braised Pork over Rice, the Crispy Basil Omelet, and Ginger Milk Pudding. The chicken was tender and very flavorful and made great leftovers. The pork was very good, though not as flavorful as the other dishes I made. The omelet was good and had a lovely basil flavor. The pudding was delicious and reminded me of ginger ice cream I used to buy at a New England small town ice cream parlor in its flavor. It had a clean ginger flavor but the heat was toned down by the milk and the pudding was light and smooth.

    I recommend this book to cooks who are adventurous (don't need photos) and want to learn more about the wide variation of cuisines in China. The list of recipes I'd like to make was long, but I found myself limited by the ease of buying ingredients in my mid-sized city. I was able to find most, but it was not convenient. Some of the special vegetables and fish would be even less available.

    I received a copy for review from the publisher through NetGalley.

  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*

    This book is way more than a simple cookbook. The author tells the history of China and it's foods by breaking the country into sections. It's a history lesson/foodie dream come true.

    She does the book in a way that a clueless (raises hand) Chinese food rookie can not feel overwhelmed. A majority of the food can be done by even me. There is of course, some that is way over my head. But who knows? One day I may actually decide to tackle some of them.

    Some people may miss the glamorous foodie p

    This book is way more than a simple cookbook. The author tells the history of China and it's foods by breaking the country into sections. It's a history lesson/foodie dream come true.

    She does the book in a way that a clueless (raises hand) Chinese food rookie can not feel overwhelmed. A majority of the food can be done by even me. There is of course, some that is way over my head. But who knows? One day I may actually decide to tackle some of them.

    Some people may miss the glamorous foodie pics that usually accompany cookbooks now but for some reason this cookbook with it's hand drawn images just appealed to me. It just fit in with the type of book that it is.

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