Comments: Fresh out of journalism school, Chinese-American writer Jen Lin-Liu moves to China to learn about the country her grandparents fled half a century before. In the booming coastal cities and remote inland villages, she discovers a passion for China’s rich cuisine and embarks on a culinary journey to reconnect with her roots.
She attends an official (virtually hands-off) cooking school, initiates her own hands-on lessons with a woman who quickly becomes her mentor, works in a noodle stall in Beijing, works as an apprentice dumpling maker, and serves an internship in a fancy restaurant in Shanghai. She travels all over the country in search of regional specialties and samples all of the foods, including some many of us would not have the courage to eat.
Beyond the food (which is fascinating) the book gives continuous and varied glimpses into evolving Chinese society, which is at least as fascinating. Along the way, there are a couple dozen recipes, which are not all in the mainstream, but certainly are authentic. Access to an Asian market will be enormously helpful in preparing these recipes.