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Martin Yan's Chinatown Cooking: 200 Traditional Recipes from 11 Chinatowns Around the World    by Martin Yan & Christopher Hirsheimer Amazon.com order for
Martin Yan's Chinatown Cooking
by Martin Yan
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2002 (2002)
Hardcover

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The subtitle to Martin Yan's Chinatown Cooking is '200 Traditional Recipes from 11 Chinatowns Around the World'. Immigrants from China, leaving their homeland in search of a better life, found each other and founded communities they called 'Chinatown.' All over the world, their food 'endures as a symbol of family, tradition, and love.'

The initial pages of this lovely cookbook are worth reading. Don't skip over them in a hurry to get to the scrumptious recipes and glorious photographs. A column by the famous Julia Child is always worth a read. Martin Yan's 'Personal Preface' gives an insight into the man who determined early on that he wanted to document foods from Chinatowns. He visited eleven Chinatowns in seven countries on four continents. Necessary equipment and techniques are presented, as are tips on 'How to Order in a Chinese Restaurant'. I always feel inadequate when handed a menu with all the foods I could ever possibly want listed before me. But what dish to eat and with what? This should make it easier for me from now on.

The beginning section in this satisfyingly large cookbook is on 'Dim Sum', including 'Jook: Chinese Comfort Food', the mashed potatoes of Chinese cookery. What is Dim Sum, you ask? If you don't already know, discover it for yourself. Luscious. If you can tear yourself away from Dim Sum, continue on to 'Appetizers' such as 'Mandarin Green Onion Pancakes' or 'Steamed Shrimp Bouquets'. We move through 'Soups, Vegetables and Salads', 'Tofu and Eggs', 'Seafood', 'Poultry', 'Meat', 'Rice and Noodles', and 'Desserts'. The complete gamut for any meal planning.

Imagine 'Duck-Filled Sweet Sesame Balls', 'Eight-Treasure Honeydew Melon Bowl Soup', 'Hakka Shrimp-Stuffed Peppers and Eggplant', 'Tofu Puffs with Long Beans and Mushrooms', 'Nori-Dusted Flounder Bundles', 'Black Bean Sauce Clams with Basil', 'Salt-Baked Eight-Flavor Chicken', 'Spicy Sichuanese Twice-Cooked Pork', 'Nanjing "Surf and Turf" Stir-Fry', or 'Fluffy Snow Cloud in Lime Syrup'. If the dishes I've picked out don't whet your appetite, there are many more to choose from. Take it from me, Martin Yan's Chinatown Cooking is a wonderful cookbook, which deserves a place in your kitchen.

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