100 books like From Canton Restaurant to Panda Express

By Haiming Liu,

Here are 100 books that From Canton Restaurant to Panda Express fans have personally recommended if you like From Canton Restaurant to Panda Express. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China

Derek Sandhaus Author Of Drunk in China: Baijiu and the World's Oldest Drinking Culture

From my list on Chinese alcohol and drinking culture.

Who am I?

Derek Sandhaus is an award-winning American author of several books on Chinese history and culture. He worked as an editor, publisher, and tour guide in Shanghai, then moved to Chengdu and turned to drink. In 2018 he co-founded Ming River Sichuan Baijiu with China’s oldest distillery, and now spends most of his time talking about Chinese alcohol to anyone who will listen. He currently lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and a very well-traveled dog.

Derek's book list on Chinese alcohol and drinking culture

Derek Sandhaus Why did Derek love this book?

In China there’s an expression that roughly translates, “It’s not a meal without alcohol.” The converse is equally true: Chinese alcohol yearns to be paired with food. This list would thus be incomplete without a book that seriously delves into Chinese food culture. And in many ways, my own journey into Chinese spirits was an unintentional compliment to Dunlop’s earlier book. We both learned from local experts, followed our respective passions around China, and spent the bulk of our time in the idyllic Sichuanese capital of Chengdu. I especially appreciate Dunlop’s willingness to explore uncomfortable cultural dissonances, and the compelling and poignant case she makes for overcoming them.

By Fuchsia Dunlop,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Award-winning food writer Fuchsia Dunlop went to live in China as a student in 1994, and from the very beginning she vowed to eat everything she was offered, no matter how alien and bizarre it seemed. In this extraordinary memoir, Fuchsia recalls her evolving relationship with China and its food, from her first rapturous encounter with the delicious cuisine of Sichuan Province to brushes with corruption, environmental degradation, and greed. In the course of her fascinating journey, Fuchsia undergoes an apprenticeship at China's premier Sichuan cooking school, where she is the only foreign student in a class of nearly fifty…


Book cover of The Banquet Bug

Jonathan Clements Author Of The Emperor's Feast: A History of China in Twelve Meals

From my list on Chinese food.

Who am I?

Jonathan Clements is a historian specialising in East Asia, and the author of A Brief History of China, The Art of War: A New Translation, and Confucius: A Biography. Several of his books have been translated and published in Chinese. He has presented three seasons of Route Awakening (National Geographic), an award-winning TV series about icons of Chinese culture. From 2013-2019, he was a visiting professor at Xi’an Jiaotong University, China.

Jonathan's book list on Chinese food

Jonathan Clements Why did Jonathan love this book?

Released in my native Britain as The Uninvited, Yan’s novel offers an unexpected angle on Chinese food by presenting the banquet as the place in China where alliances are forged, deals are done, and palms are greased. Her hero is a member of the Beijing underclass who somehow finds himself gate-crashing big society feasts. Pretending to be a journalist ready to be “entertained”, he discovers food he never dreamed of, but also comes to develop a sense of social responsibility. He starts to inhabit the part he is playing, and becomes not an uninvited guest, but a crusader on the behalf of the downtrodden. Or does he…?

By Geling Yan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Banquet Bug as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Geling Yan captivates readers once more in her breakthrough novel. This is the fantastical tale of Dan Dong, an unemployed factory worker whose life takes a series of unexpected twists after he discovers that, by posing as a journalist, he can eat exquisite gourmet meals for free at state-sponsored banquets. But the secrets he overhears at these events eventually lead Dan down a twisted, intrigue-laden path, and his subterfuge and his real identity become harder and harder to separate. When he becomes privy to a scandal that runs from the depths of society to its highest rungs, Dan must find…


Book cover of Slippery Noodles

Jonathan Clements Author Of The Emperor's Feast: A History of China in Twelve Meals

From my list on Chinese food.

Who am I?

Jonathan Clements is a historian specialising in East Asia, and the author of A Brief History of China, The Art of War: A New Translation, and Confucius: A Biography. Several of his books have been translated and published in Chinese. He has presented three seasons of Route Awakening (National Geographic), an award-winning TV series about icons of Chinese culture. From 2013-2019, he was a visiting professor at Xi’an Jiaotong University, China.

Jonathan's book list on Chinese food

Jonathan Clements Why did Jonathan love this book?

Thick with Chinese-language citations, and seasoned heavily with recipes from the pages of history, Lin’s book is a real insider’s view of how it feels not only to taste Chinese food, but live inside the world it creates. She retells famous stories from the history of food in China, and quotes extensively from manuals that are otherwise unavailable to English-speaking readers. A wonderful buffet of a book, that you can pick at and graze upon for days.

By Hsiang Ju Lin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Slippery Noodles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

China is a big country and its cookery is one of the world’s greatest. In the last century all nations everywhere have been introduced to its tastes, flavours and cooking methods. But an understanding of Chinese food history is hard to come by: the country is large and the history is long. Hsiang Ju Lin has interrogated the written record, some of it dating back to the 5th century BC, and most recently from books current in the People’s Republic today; she has translated it and set it into culinary context and thereby allows the modern reader to enter into…


Book cover of How to Cook and Eat in Chinese

Jonathan Clements Author Of The Emperor's Feast: A History of China in Twelve Meals

From my list on Chinese food.

Who am I?

Jonathan Clements is a historian specialising in East Asia, and the author of A Brief History of China, The Art of War: A New Translation, and Confucius: A Biography. Several of his books have been translated and published in Chinese. He has presented three seasons of Route Awakening (National Geographic), an award-winning TV series about icons of Chinese culture. From 2013-2019, he was a visiting professor at Xi’an Jiaotong University, China.

Jonathan's book list on Chinese food

Jonathan Clements Why did Jonathan love this book?

First published in 1945, and reissued in many later editions, Chao’s book was immensely influential on the spread of American food in China. An academic and medical professional who fell into Chinese food-advocacy by accident, she presents a series of everyday recipes, “things for folk like you and me” that were nevertheless impossibly exotic at the time she was writing. Her book is a fascinating time capsule of attitudes and assumptions in the era before America could boast of a Chinese restaurant in every suburb, but also a no-nonsense cookbook for the beginner.

By Buwei Yang Chao,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Cook and Eat in Chinese as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How to Cook and Eat in Chinese [Paperback] Buwei Yang Chao (Author)


Book cover of The Chinese in America: A Narrative History

Michael A. DeMarco Author Of Wuxia America: The Timely Emergence of a Chinese American Hero

From my list on uniquely fantastic, yet possible heroic skills.

Who am I?

Life is pretty dull without passion. Since early childhood I was attracted to Chinese philosophy, then to all the cultural aspects that reflect it. At the same time, I felt the blood in my veins drawing me to ancestral roots. Learning about other cultures helps us learn about our own. I’ve been driven by sympathy for the immigrant experience, the suffering, and sacrifices made for a better, peaceful life. What prepared me to write Wuxia America includes my academic studies, living and working in Asia, and involvement in martial arts. My inspiration for writing stems from a wish to encourage ways to improve human relations.

Michael's book list on uniquely fantastic, yet possible heroic skills

Michael A. DeMarco Why did Michael love this book?

The life and writings of Iris Chang portray a woman with a passion for learning about her cultural heritage. Like a soldier, she gave her life in the pursuit.

The Chinese in America brings into focus just how it was for early Chinese immigrants to live in this land and their place in America today. The book not only sheds light on the Chinese American experience, but indirectly on all immigrant groups as well.

I value Chang’s encompassing work enlightening for understanding Chinese Americans as much as for understanding my own heritage.

By Iris Chang,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Chinese in America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A quintessiantially American story chronicling Chinese American achievement in the face of institutionalized racism by the New York Times bestselling author of The Rape of Nanking

In an epic story that spans 150 years and continues to the present day, Iris Chang tells of a people’s search for a better life—the determination of the Chinese to forge an identity and a destiny in a strange land and, often against great obstacles, to find success. She chronicles the many accomplishments in America of Chinese immigrants and their descendents: building the infrastructure of their adopted country, fighting racist and exclusionary laws and…


Book cover of Front Desk

Lisa Lewis Tyre Author Of Hope in the Holler

From my list on to help kids build empathy for those in need.

Who am I?

I am the author of two middle grade books, and I love writing about kids who may not have much materially but abound in heart and courage. I grew up in a small southern town and my childhood was just like that—low on income but full of love, hope, and friendship. I want kids to know that despite their circumstances there is hope for a better life. Like Wavie’s mom tells her in my book, Hope In The Holler, “You’ve got as much right to a good life as anybody. So go find it!”

Lisa's book list on to help kids build empathy for those in need

Lisa Lewis Tyre Why did Lisa love this book?

This is a fantastic book about the hardships many immigrants face, from being taken advantage of by their employers, to language barriers, and of course, racism. What I loved about this book is its portrayal of community. Growing up poor, I know that it’s often those with nothing who give the most. Kids will cheer for Mia as she works the front desk, helps those around her, and stands up to injustice.

By Kelly Yang,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Front Desk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Four starred reviews and over ten best-of-year lists!* "Many readers will recognize themselves or their neighbors in these pages." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Winner of the Asian / Pacific American Award for Children's Literature!* "Many readers will recognize themselves or their neighbors in these pages." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred reviewMia Tang has a lot of secrets.Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests.Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean…


Book cover of Thank You, Mr. Nixon: Stories

May-lee Chai Author Of Tomorrow in Shanghai: Stories

From my list on Asian American short story collections.

Who am I?

When I was growing up, I longed to see myself and my family represented in ways that were not demeaning. Hollywood movies showed Asian women as passive victims or hypersexualized “dragon ladies.” Depictions of Asian men were even fewer—they were mostly the enemy soldiers in the background of movies about the American war in Vietnam. I became a writer to try to correct these grossly flattened stereotypes. I am now the author of 11 books, and recipient of an American Book Award, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, Asian Pacific American Award for Literature, a Kiriyama Prize Notable Book, and Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman.

May-lee's book list on Asian American short story collections

May-lee Chai Why did May-lee love this book?

The stories in Thank You, Mr. Nixon combine history and family, characters reflecting on the ravages of time and how their lives have been buffeted by world events outside their control. There’s even a ghost of a Chinese girl writing from the afterlife to President Nixon in Hell. She thanks him for his historic decision to establish diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China, a decision that changed her family’s life forever. The story is profound, moving, and very funny all at once. Jen is a master of the short story form, and this collection is superb.

By Gish Jen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thank You, Mr. Nixon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The acclaimed, award-winning author of The Resisters takes measure of the fifty years since the opening of China and its unexpected effects on the lives of ordinary people. It is a unique book that only Jen could write—a story collection accruing the power of a novel as it proceeds—a work that Cynthia Ozick has called “an art beyond art. It is life itself.”

Beginning with a cheery letter penned by a Chinese girl in heaven to “poor Mr. Nixon” in hell, Gish Jen embarks on a fictional journey through U.S.-China relations, capturing the excitement of a world on the brink…


Book cover of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food

Ian MacAllen Author Of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American

From my list on when you’re hungering for history.

Who am I?

My wife and I were at a red sauce joint in the West Village of Manhattan drinking a bit of wine when we posed the question: who invented all this? We knew Italian American food didn’t look all that much like the food we ate in Italy. Later, at home, I started Googling for answers. None were satisfactory. I read a few books before finding myself at the New York Public library sleuthing through JSTOR. After examining my notes, I said to myself, “oh, I guess I’m writing a book.”

Ian's book list on when you’re hungering for history

Ian MacAllen Why did Ian love this book?

Jennifer 8 Lee looks at the history of Chinese American food, but with an emphasis on restaurants and food production. For instance, I learned one of the leading fortune cookie manufacturers has a factory just a few blocks from where I live in Brooklyn, and the differences in low cost and fermented of soy sauce. Lee looks at modern Chinese American cuisine through a global lens showing the impact across continents, including exporting Chinese American favorites like fortune cookies back to China. 

By Jennifer 8. Lee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fortune Cookie Chronicles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you think McDonald's is the most ubiquitous restaurant experience in America, consider that there are more Chinese restaurants in America than McDonalds, Burger Kings, and Wendys combined. New York Times reporter and Chinese-American (or American-born Chinese). In her search, Jennifer 8 Lee traces the history of Chinese-American experience through the lens of the food. In a compelling blend of sociology and history, Jenny Lee exposes the indentured servitude Chinese restaurants expect from illegal immigrant chefs, investigates the relationship between Jews and Chinese food, and weaves a personal narrative about her own relationship with Chinese food. The Fortune Cookie Chronicles…


Book cover of In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson

Augusta Scattergood Author Of The Way to Stay in Destiny

From my list on kids baseball books about more than baseball.

Who am I?

I grew up in the South where stories float off front porches like fireflies. My family was made up of storytellers! As an adult and especially as a librarian and a writer of middle-grade novels, I love rooting out history readers might not know: how swimming pools closed rather than integrate, that the Vietnam War scarred many returning vets, and why so many Chinese families settled in the Deep South. My favorite books to read and to share are novels and picture books about more than what they seem— especially those that weave history into a compelling story. And I have great memories of watching and listening to baseball games with my dad. Historical fiction and baseball—a perfect combination, very close to a grand slam, no?

Augusta's book list on kids baseball books about more than baseball

Augusta Scattergood Why did Augusta love this book?

This novel holds a special place in my book-loving heart. When the third-grade teachers at the school where I was a librarian read it aloud and used it for Literature Circles, it was one of the first books that taught me to listen carefully to what young readers shared about theme and characters and the “heart of the story.” It’s still a gold mine for topics that are relevant today.

By Bette Bao Lord, Marc Simont,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

A timeless classic that will enchant readers who love Jennifer L. Holm and Thanhhà Lại, about an immigrant girl inspired by the sport she loves to find her own home team—and to break down any barriers that stand in her way.

Shirley Temple Wong sails from China to America with a heart full of dreams. Her new home is Brooklyn, New York. America is indeed a land full of wonders, but Shirley doesn't know any English, so it's hard to make friends.

Then a miracle happens: baseball! It's 1947, and Jackie Robinson, star of the Brooklyn Dodgers, is a superstar.…


Book cover of New from Here

Ying Chang Compestine Author Of Dragon Noodle Party

From my list on Asian stories and voices.

Who am I?

Ying Chang Compestine is the multi-talented author of 25 books including fiction, picture books, and cookbooks. Frequently sought after by the media, Ying has been featured on numerous national television programs, is regularly profiled in prestigious news media outlets, and has been named one of the "50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading" by The Author's Show. Her keen interest in cuisine has led her to weave food into all of her writing–including cookbooks, novels, and picture books for young readers. Ying grew up in Wuhan, China during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. She uses these experiences, as well as her passion for food, in all her writing.

Ying's book list on Asian stories and voices

Ying Chang Compestine Why did Ying love this book?

The middle-grade novel, New from Here, really hits home for me. The main character, Knox, a resilient young boy protecting his friends during the COVID-19 pandemic, makes this book incredibly relatable to young readers.

The book combats racism and promotes togetherness, issues that I am passionate about in my own writing.  

By Kelly Yang,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked New from Here as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Don't miss the stunning no.1 New York Times bestseller.
New country. New life. Whole new world . . .

When the coronavirus hits Hong Kong, ten-year-old Knox's mom makes the last-minute decision to move him and his siblings to California, where they think they will be safe from the virus.

But life in America isn't easy. At Knox's new school, the other kids think that because he is from Asia, he must have brought over the virus. At home, Mom's freaking out because she just got fired, and Dad doesn't know when he'll see them all again, because all flights…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Chinese Americans, Chinese food, and Han Chinese?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Chinese Americans, Chinese food, and Han Chinese.

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