The book starts off by literally taking the reader through a journey - A journey that totaled more than 65,000 miles throughout China over land, sea, air, and waterways during a three-month period. I learned something new myself reading this book. I have always tried to explain to people how to understand the balance of flavors, taste and textures of food. Martin Yan explains it in one easy thought - yin and yang. "Yin represents the feminine, yielding, darker, more mysterious forces, while yang stands for the masculine, harder, brighter and hotter ones. In the world of food, yin might be cooler, moister, softer foods, like winter melon, asparagus or crabmeat. Yang might take the form of chiles, ginger, fried foods or red meat." The concept of the yin and yang also fit the textures of the food as well. The next part of the book talks about special equipment, tools and techniques.
The recipes include Hot and Sour Beijing Dumplings, Duck Soup, Seafood in an Orange Basket (an incredible dish that is so easy to make), Minced Poultry with Walnuts in Lettuce Cups, Mongolian Roast Lamb, Mushrooms in Fragrant Broth, Steamed Garden Vegetables, Fish in a Bamboo Leaf, Steamed Spareribs in Plum Sauce, Tofu Custard with Tropical Fruits, Honey Walnut Prawns, Ginger-Date Wontons, Asparagus with Sweet and Pungent Dressing, and Spicy Fun See Noodle Salad.
The recipes are well written with a little history for an item of each recipe. Food styling and photography of this book are outstanding. Some of the ingredients in the book will only be found in specialty shops or Oriental markets, i.e. dried black mushrooms, nori (Japanese seaweed), Sichuan peppercorns and dried bean thread noodles.
This book was aiming to be the first book to receive a perfect score from me, until the very end of the cookbook. Martin Yan wrote an incredible book. I felt the last two pages of advertising took a little bit away from the book however.