"The Chinatowns around the world are amazing communities," writes Martin Yan in his Chinatown Cooking
, "filled with history, culture, friendship, and of course food." Naturally, in this companion book to his public television series, Yan focuses on the food--a rich stew from the world's Chinatowns, including, exotically, those in Singapore, Sydney, and Macao. The 200 recipes included reflect a profoundly rich food culture (or cultures, as Chinese cuisine is regionally diverse). Some dishes, like Steamed Whole Fish with Ginger and Green Onions and Sweet-and-Spicy Garlic Shrimp, are beloved classics; others, including Hawaiian Lu'Au Stew, mirror adjustments to local ingredients or tastes; while still others, such as Crispy Seafood and Mango Packets and Steamed King Prawns with Chinese Pesto, are the innovations of modern chefs. But old or new, the dishes are endlessly tempting, and, because of Yan's knowledgeable yet relaxed approach and the clarity of his recipes, completely manageable.
Covering dishes from dim sum, appetizers, and soups, to meat and seafood specialties, rice, noodles, and even desserts like Lucky Treasure Rice Pudding, the book also profiles the Chinatowns, noting their unique qualities (Yokohama's is host to 18 million tourists a year!) while also offering restaurant and dish recommendations (at Macau's Restaurante Chan Chi Mei, order the hanging fish hot pot). Yan also provides illuminating cultural asides such as those about Hakka cuisine or Singapore's Sam Sui women, who were pivotal in the construction of that country's Chinatown. But it's the dishes that make the book a treasure. The book also contains comprehensive food and technique glossaries and color photos throughout. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
Taking the reader on a tour of the world's great Chinatowns, Yan (Martin Yan's Asian Favorites) intersperses the recipes with short histories and photos. He visits 11 Chinatowns in seven countries-including the five Chinatowns of Toronto, New York's 350,000-person Chinatown, and the old Chinatown of Melbourne-and intersperses panels on traditions and philosophies with discussions of the locales and recipes. The detailed and well-explained recipes are sandwiched between a full section on Equipment and Techniques and the Chinese Pantry, and are divided into chapters from Dim Sum, through Seafood and Poultry to Desserts. Yan often draws on inspiration from other well-known chefs such as Sam Choy, who provides several recipes, including the simple and flavorful Lu'au Stew. While some recipes are classics, such as Broccoli Beef and Kung Pao Chicken, others blend traditional dishes with local ingredients for true Asian fusion cooking (Macau's Minchee Minced Pork, is Portuguese-inspired). Helpfully, Yan also adds sidebars containing tips such as "Cracking Crabs" and "Toasting," and makes suggestions for combining "Chinese Food and Wine." The resulting book-glossy and attractively laid out with 200 full-color photos-is as beautiful to look at as it is instructional to the cook.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.