10 books like The Breath of a Wok

By Grace Young, Alan Richardson,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Breath of a Wok. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking

By Barbara Tropp,

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

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.

The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking

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


Chinese Technique

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

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

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.

Chinese Technique

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


The Chinese Kitchen

By Eileen Yin-Fei Lo,

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

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.

The Chinese Kitchen

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…


Land of Plenty

By Fuchsia Dunlop,

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

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.

Land of Plenty

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…


Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper

By Fuchsia Dunlop,

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

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.

Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper

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…


Slippery Noodles

By Hsiang Ju Lin,

Book cover of Slippery Noodles

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.

Slippery Noodles

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…


From Canton Restaurant to Panda Express

By Haiming Liu,

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

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.

From Canton Restaurant to Panda Express

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…


The Banquet Bug

By Geling Yan,

Book cover of The Banquet Bug

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…?

The Banquet Bug

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.

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…


How to Cook and Eat in Chinese

By Buwei Yang Chao,

Book cover of How to Cook and Eat in Chinese

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.

How to Cook and Eat in Chinese

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)


Science and Civilisation in China

By H.T. Huang,

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

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.

Science and Civilisation in China

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!

Interested in Chinese food, China, and Shanghai?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Chinese food, China, and Shanghai.

Chinese Food Explore 12 books about Chinese food
China Explore 434 books about China
Shanghai Explore 46 books about Shanghai