The best Chinese food books 📚

Browse the best books on Chinese food as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

Coming Fall 2022: The ability to sort this list by genre (signup here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books).

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

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

By Fuchsia Dunlop

Why 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…
From the list:

The best books on Chinese alcohol and drinking culture

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of The Banquet Bug

The Banquet Bug

By Geling Yan

Why 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…

From the list:

The best books on Chinese food

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

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

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

By Barbara Tropp

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.

From the list:

The best Chinese cookbooks that have influenced my cooking

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

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

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

By Grace Young, Alan Richardson

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.

From the list:

The best Chinese cookbooks that have influenced my cooking

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

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

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

By Ken Hom, Willie Kee, Harvey Steiman

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.

From the list:

The best Chinese cookbooks that have influenced my cooking

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

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

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

By Eileen Yin-Fei Lo

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.

From the list:

The best Chinese cookbooks that have influenced my cooking

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Or, view all 13 books about Chinese food

New book lists about Chinese food

All book lists about Chinese food

Bookshelves related to Chinese food

Browse books by…