Award-winning food writer Fuchsia Dunlop went to live in China in 1994, and from the very beginning vowed to eat everything she was offered, no matter how alien and bizarre it seemed to her as a Westerner. 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 this fascinating journey, Fuchsia undergoes an apprenticeship at the Sichuan cooking school, where she is the only foreign student in a class of nearly fifty young Chinese men; she attempts, hilariously, to persuade Chinese people that 'Western food' is neither 'simple' nor 'bland'; and samples a multitude of exotic ingredients, including dogmeat, civet cats, scorpions, rabbit heads and the ovarian fat of the snow frog.But is it possible for a Westerner to become a true convert to the Chinese way of eating? In an encounter with a caterpillar in an Oxfordshire kitchen, Fuchsia is forced to put this to the test. From the vibrant markets of Sichuan to the bleached landscape of northern Gansu Province, from the desert oases of Xinjiang to the enchanting old city of Yangzhou, this is a unique and evocative account of a culture and cuisine that is a world away from most Westerners' experiences.
Fuchsia Dunlop is a cook and food-writer specialising in Chinese cuisine. She was the first Westerner to train as a chef at the Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine, and has spent much of the last two decades exploring China and its food. Her first book, 'Sichuan Cookery' (published in the US as 'Land of Plenty') won the Jeremy Round Award for best first book, and was listed in the top ten of the Observer's '50 Best Cookbooks of All Time'. 'Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province' was shortlisted for two major awards, while 'Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China' won the IACP Jane Grigson Award and the Kate Whiteman Award for writing on food and travel. Her latest book, 'Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking', was published in 2012.
Fuchsia's articles on Chinese cuisine and food culture have appeared in many publications, including The Financial Times, The New Yorker, Gourmet, Saveur, and The Observer.
Fuchsia's favourite Chinese recipe is Fish-Fragrant Aubergines (yu xiang qie zi).
For more information, visit Fuchsia's website, www.fuchsiadunlop.com