100 books like The Breath of a Wok

By Grace Young, Alan Richardson,

Here are 100 books that The Breath of a Wok fans have personally recommended if you like The Breath of a Wok. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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

David Waltuck Author Of Staff Meals from Chanterelle

From my list on Chinese cookbooks that have influenced my cooking.

Who am I?

I am a chef, author, and consultant, living and working primarily in New York City,  best known for my restaurant, Chanterelle, which I owned and operated for 30 years. Chanterelle was much loved and highly regarded, receiving numerous accolades including 4 James Beard Foundation awards and 2 four-star reviews from the New York Times. I also wrote 2 cookbooks, Chanterelle, the Story and Recipes of a Restaurant Classic, and Staff Meals from Chanterelle. Though my first love is French cuisine, I have had a long-standing affair with Asian, primarily Chinese food. I love cooking Chinese for myself, friends, and family, and have also incorporated elements of the cuisine into my professional cooking.

David's book list on Chinese cookbooks that have influenced my cooking

David Waltuck Why did David love 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.

By Barbara Tropp,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Explanations of Chinese cooking techniques and tools also show how to adapt them to the contemporary American kitchen, while recipes encompass the full range of main dishes, appetizers, dim-sum, and soups


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

David Waltuck Author Of Staff Meals from Chanterelle

From my list on Chinese cookbooks that have influenced my cooking.

Who am I?

I am a chef, author, and consultant, living and working primarily in New York City,  best known for my restaurant, Chanterelle, which I owned and operated for 30 years. Chanterelle was much loved and highly regarded, receiving numerous accolades including 4 James Beard Foundation awards and 2 four-star reviews from the New York Times. I also wrote 2 cookbooks, Chanterelle, the Story and Recipes of a Restaurant Classic, and Staff Meals from Chanterelle. Though my first love is French cuisine, I have had a long-standing affair with Asian, primarily Chinese food. I love cooking Chinese for myself, friends, and family, and have also incorporated elements of the cuisine into my professional cooking.

David's book list on Chinese cookbooks that have influenced my cooking

David Waltuck Why did David love 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.

By Ken Hom, Willie Kee, Harvey Steiman (photographer)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A comprehensive, illustrated guide to the art of Chinese cooking provides step-by-step instruction in the basic techniques of Chinese cuisine and more than one hundred traditional recipes


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

David Waltuck Author Of Staff Meals from Chanterelle

From my list on Chinese cookbooks that have influenced my cooking.

Who am I?

I am a chef, author, and consultant, living and working primarily in New York City,  best known for my restaurant, Chanterelle, which I owned and operated for 30 years. Chanterelle was much loved and highly regarded, receiving numerous accolades including 4 James Beard Foundation awards and 2 four-star reviews from the New York Times. I also wrote 2 cookbooks, Chanterelle, the Story and Recipes of a Restaurant Classic, and Staff Meals from Chanterelle. Though my first love is French cuisine, I have had a long-standing affair with Asian, primarily Chinese food. I love cooking Chinese for myself, friends, and family, and have also incorporated elements of the cuisine into my professional cooking.

David's book list on Chinese cookbooks that have influenced my cooking

David Waltuck Why did David love 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.

By Eileen Yin-Fei Lo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Eileen Yin-Fei Lo, author of award-winning cookbooks, menu developer for top Asian restaurants, and cooking teacher, presents her life's work. Reflecting on her life in food, including her childhood in Canton, China, where she learned to cook at her grandmother's side, Eileen has created an exhaustive cookbook of extensive scope. Everything about Chinese cooking has cultural significance, and much of what Eileen talks about in this book has never appeared in print before in the English language.

There are more than 250 recipes in all, including many classic banquet-style recipes, quite a number presented for the first time in the…


Book cover of Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking

David Waltuck Author Of Staff Meals from Chanterelle

From my list on Chinese cookbooks that have influenced my cooking.

Who am I?

I am a chef, author, and consultant, living and working primarily in New York City,  best known for my restaurant, Chanterelle, which I owned and operated for 30 years. Chanterelle was much loved and highly regarded, receiving numerous accolades including 4 James Beard Foundation awards and 2 four-star reviews from the New York Times. I also wrote 2 cookbooks, Chanterelle, the Story and Recipes of a Restaurant Classic, and Staff Meals from Chanterelle. Though my first love is French cuisine, I have had a long-standing affair with Asian, primarily Chinese food. I love cooking Chinese for myself, friends, and family, and have also incorporated elements of the cuisine into my professional cooking.

David's book list on Chinese cookbooks that have influenced my cooking

David Waltuck Why did David love 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.

By Fuchsia Dunlop,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The food of the Sichuan region in southwest China is one of the world's great culinary secrets. Many of us know it for its "hot and spicy" reputation or a few of its most famous dishes, most notably Kung Pao chicken, but that is only the beginning. Sichuanese cuisine is legendary in China for its sophistication and astounding diversity: local gourmets claim the region boasts 5000 different dishes.

Fuchsia Dunlop fell in love with Sichuanese food on her first visit to the province ten years ago. The following year she went to live in the Sichuanese capital Chengdu, where she…


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 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 From Canton Restaurant to Panda Express: A History of Chinese Food in the United States

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?

It was hard finding just one book out of the many that have been written about Chinese food’s fortune’s abroad, but Liu ably chronicles a love-affair that is as old as the United States themselves, which begins with would-be rebels throwing chests of Fujian tea into Boston harbor. Liu points to the long history of Chinese in America, and the impact they have had as laborers, miners and cooks, particularly for low-income groups who welcomed the rarity of the warm hash dishes that came to be known as chop suey. This is a book that allows the reader the chance to appreciate the degree to which “Chinese” food in America is in a world, and a class, all of its own.

By Haiming Liu,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From Canton Restaurant to Panda Express as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From Canton Restaurant to Panda Express takes readers on a compelling journey from the California Gold Rush to the present, letting readers witness both the profusion of Chinese restaurants across the United States and the evolution of many distinct American-Chinese iconic dishes from chop suey to General Tso's chicken. Along the way, historian Haiming Liu explains how the immigrants adapted their traditional food to suit local palates, and gives readers a taste of Chinese cuisine embedded in the bittersweet story of Chinese Americans.

Treating food as a social history, Liu explores why Chinese food changed and how it has influenced…


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 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 Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 6, Biology and Biological Technology, Part 5, Fermentations and Food Science

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?

During the height of the Second World War, British biochemist Joseph Needham traveled across China with his assistant H.T. Huang to study Chinese scientific development, braving breakthroughs, and Japanese incursion along the way. Needham spent the next half-century compiling his findings into the Science and Civilization in China series, which rewrote our understanding of China’s place in world history. The story of its creation, and the colorful characters behind it, is memorably told in Simon Winchester’s The Man Who Loved China, a book that sadly had little to tell us about Chinese drinks. This volume, however, written by Huang, is the urtext for understanding the development of Chinese alcoholic beverages.

By H.T. Huang,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Science and Civilisation in China as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Today Chinese cuisine is enjoyed in many parts of the world, yet little is known in the West about the technologies involved in making its characteristic ingredients. H. T. Huang's book is the first history of Chinese food technology in a western language. It describes the conversion of agricultural commodities into food and drink, and explores the origins, development and scientific basis of traditional Chinese technology as applied to the processing of four food categories: the fermentation of alcoholic drinks from grains; the conversion of soybeans into soyfoods and condiments; the preservation of foods and the production of noodles, vegetable…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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