The Best Chinese Cookbooks

The Books I Picked & Why

The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking: Including an Unorthodox Chapter on East-West Desserts and a Provocative Essay on Wine

By Barbara Tropp

The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking: Including an Unorthodox Chapter on East-West Desserts and a Provocative Essay on Wine

Why this book?

An authoritative overview of Chinese techniques, ingredients, and tools, and an exemplary selection of recipes, written by an American who studied in China and fell in love with the cuisine. Tropp brings an outsider’s perspective and an academic’s rigor to the study and teaching of Chinese cuisine. The recipes are meticulous and detailed, and the introductions and technique notes are informative and personal.


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The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore

By Grace Young, Alan Richardson

The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore

Why this book?

An intimate and unique celebration of Chinese culture and food, expounded through an in-depth contemplation of the wok, one of the world’s most versatile cooking tools. Young teaches us how to choose a wok, how to care for it, and how to use it in myriad ways, not just for stir fry.


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Chinese Technique: An Illustrated Guide to the Fundamental Techniques of Chinese Cooking

By Ken Hom, Willie Kee, Harvey Steiman

Chinese Technique: An Illustrated Guide to the Fundamental Techniques of Chinese Cooking

Why this book?

An excellent primer in the ingredients and techniques of Chinese cooking, with very instructive step by step photos from the pre youtube era by an experienced, knowledgeable and encouraging teacher. This book was one of the first Chinese cookbooks I acquired many years ago, and I still refer to it often.


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The Chinese Kitchen: Recipes, Techniques, Ingredients, History, And Memories From America's Leading Authority On Chinese Cooking

By Eileen Yin-Fei Lo

The Chinese Kitchen: Recipes, Techniques, Ingredients, History, And Memories From America's Leading Authority On Chinese Cooking

Why this book?

It is difficult to choose just one of Eileen Yin-Fei Lo’s many books to recommend, but “Chinese Kitchen” is a great overview of Chinese cooking and food culture, with an excellent guide to ingredients, helpful photographs, and a well chosen array of recipes, ranging from simple home cooking to elaborate banquet dishes.


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Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking

By Fuchsia Dunlop

Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking

Why this book?

Written by another westerner who studied in China and fell in love with the food, in this case the distinctive food of Szechuan. Once again an outsider’s perspective allows for a clear step-by-step introduction to the flavors and recipes of a complex and delicious cuisine.


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