The Wei-Chuan Publishing Company (apparently connected with the Taiwanese Wei-Chuan Cooking School), has produced a good number of Cookbooks, mostly dealing with Chinese cookery but also coveing other Asian cuisines as well. I own over a dozen of these now and I like all of them. More importantly, I like all of these books for tmuch he same reasons and, accordingly, I have decided to do a general review that applies to each of them and then provide a few individualized comments where appropriate.
Basically, the Wei-Chuan publications are authored/editored by several different persons but the format is largely the same. Each book is divided into logical sections (Meats, Vegetables, Appetizers, etc.) and nearly every recipe is accompanied by a good photograph of the result with some recipes having additional pictures of the preparation as well. This feature alone makes these books well worth the purchase. Another feature of this cuilinary series is that the books are written in China and, at least as far as the books on Chinese cuisine is concerned, the reader need have no issues with 'authenticity'. I personally also like the fact that all of the books are written in Chinese characters and then translated into English. This has has an added bonus of occasionally providing some unintentional amusement due to a particularly 'unfortunate' translation but I specially like it as I am teaching myself Mandarin and these books are excellent learning tools. I often take one on the plane with me when I travel (along with dictionaries) and can spend hours happily translating passages. It is amazing how often the actual translation of a recipe title bears little resemblance to the English title provided.
Finally, I have to say that the recipes in all of these books are interesting and he ones that I have tried to reproduce have worked out well. Mainly though, I just like reading through these books for inspiration and enjoyment. The money I have spent has been repaid many times over.
The We-Chuan books I currently own are as follows:Chinese Cuisine
- Very good introductory section. Recipes range from simple everyday dishes to exotic banquet style delicacies.Chinese Dim Sum: Wel-Chuan Cultural and Educational Foundation
- Great 'step-by-step' pictures for many recipes. Bit too much emphasis on sweet rather than savoury for my personal taste.Chinese Snacks
- More of the same as in the Dim Sum book. No 'step-by-step' pictures but I actually like this book better.Chinese Appetizers and Garnishes
- I haven't attempted much from this book but I am thankful for the great 'step-by-step' pictures provided.Favorite Home Dishes Chinese Cooking
- As the name suggests, most of the recipes are simple and, thus, easy to prepare.Chinese Cuisine Beijing Style
- Lots of Imperial Banquet dishes and many exotic foreign influenced meals that have been 'Chinesified'.Chinese Cuisine: Cantonese Style
- 75 Cantonese recipes. Good recipes with nice pictures but a sparse introduction.Chinese Cuisine Shanghai Style
- Typically good Wei-Chuan quality but probably my least favorite of the 'regional' Chinese cookbooks.Chinese Cuisine-Taiwanese Style
- Excellent Book. Some truly unique recipes I have never seen elsewhere. I love to browse this volume.
Chinese Cuisine: Szechuan Style - I love Szechuan food especially but I would still treat this book as a favorite anyway.
Indian Cuisine - A nice book but be aware that the recipes Indian dishes for the Chinese palate, not Indian.
Vietnamese Cuisine - Great recipes.
Japanese Cuisine - Nearly as good as many books I have that are written by Japanese chefs.
Korean Cuisine - My favorite of the We-Chuan non-Chinese cookbooks so far,
Singaporean, Malaysian & Indonesian Cuisine - My least favorite Wei-Chuan book so far. Somewhat interesting but I don't look at it much.
Finally, I have a new Wei-Chuan book on order and will continue to buy from time to time. I will review separately as I read these new books.