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The Chinese Kitchen Hardcover – 8 Apr 2000

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 451 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (8 April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688158269
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688158262
  • Product Dimensions: 26.2 x 21 x 3.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 506,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Reflecting on her life in food, including her childhood in Canton, China, Eileen has created a cookbook of extensive scope. Everything about Chinese cooking has cultural significance and much of the contents have never been printed in English before.'

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Oct 2000
Format: Hardcover
A definite buy if you want a REAL Chinese cook book. I should know because I am Chinese and I have come across alot of so called Chinese cook books which are not the real stuff - e.g. short cut ways /steps in the preparations, substitution of certain ingredients to name 2 examples. There is a section where she gave her recipes for making various sauces rather than rely on commercial bottled ones . This is a good reference which even experienced Chinese cooks would find helpful. One of my hobbies is reading cook books and I find this an excellent Chinese cook book. Chinese cooking is more than just adding soya sauce and stir frying. Her vast experiences alone is enough to convince anyone interested in Chinese cooking to invest in this book - a real keepsake,
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 22 Feb 2006
Format: Hardcover
Excellent book on chinese food by an equally excellent writer/cook. Eileen Yin Fei-Lo injects much needed passion and enthuasiasm for her subject in every page, with lots of wonderful anecdotal stories from her childhood. The recipes are workable and accurate, and should keep the most ardent purist happy. As expected, the book slants heavily towards the Cantonese way of cooking but is still informative about regional cooking. One criticism would be the relatively sparse number of photos used, something the book would benefit from. But then, the book would be almost perfect! Highly recommended.
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By I. Darren TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 9 Sep 2013
Format: Hardcover
It seems that we are in a bit of a retrospective phase this week (just the luck of the draw) and what better than to look at a book which, 12 years on, still commands a high price tag and remains in print. With hundreds if not thousands of new cookbooks each month seeing light, what a testament to this book's longevity and quality!

Here is a book that encapsulates what it is by the title. The Chinese Kitchen. Perhaps all you need to know, or at least a damn good AUTHENTIC overview that will keep you occupied and learning for a time before you perhaps expand your horizons into the various regional differences and styles that Chinese food encompasses.

At first glance this book can be as inscrutable as Chinese cookery. This is no fault of the book per se but it is hard to pigeon hole it. It is not just a recipe book. It is not a plain "how-to" book. Neither is it a history book or personal portrait perspective. Yet the author has managed to weave all of these ingredients together to present an excellent book, maybe in the same way that a skilled Chinese cook can take ingredients and work miracles with them!

It is worth persevering if you want the benefit of the end results. Helping understand the author and what she writes about will help you, in time, to obtain a great finesse to what you are doing. The author starts with her own memories of Chinese food and this seamlessly segues into Chinese folklore, mythology, history, politics, rituals... and a lot more besides. The essentials of the Chinese larder then come in for a basic scrutiny, hopefully explaining what some of the less-familiar ingredients are and how they fit into the grand scheme of things.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 36 reviews
85 of 88 people found the following review helpful
This is what Chinese food REALLY tastes like 4 Oct 2000
By Christina C. Shankar - Published on
Format: Hardcover
When you make these wonderful dishes, you will know what Chinese food really tastes like, not the brown garlic-ginger tasting stuff you get at a take-out place around the corner. This cuisine has everything going for it - a heavy reliance on vegetables, using meat in a supporting role, and healthful cooking techniques like stir frying and steaming.
The author has very thoughtfully created a glossary with the names of culinary exotica in both English and Chinese characters, so that I can make a copy of the page, point like an idiot at the words for my friends at the Asian market and they will show it to me.
The recipes ALL WORK. I cannot tell you how satisfying it is to pick up a cookbook, place my time and ingredients and trust in the author's hands and have a wonderful meal to show for it. Trust this author. She will teach you, entertain you, and you will know how marvelous real Chinese food is. It would take an active campaign of sabotage to ruin one of her recipes, they are so easy to follow. (but then again, I really like cooking.) This is a cookbook that I will simply never part with, and I will use until its pages are stained with soy sauce and fall out. The recipe alone for Mah Gu Gai Pin is worth the price of the book.
42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Truly authentic recipes, but what kind of people are they for... 21 April 2008
By J. Lee - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has authentic recipes. But they may be 'authentic' in a way that I suspect most normal Americans (and many Chinese in China to some extent) will be unable to really embrace. What I mean by this is that these are authentic Cantonese aristocratic recipes; i.e. food for the kind of people that can afford servants, or at least have a stay at home mother or father who has enough time to devote multiple hours to cooking dinner each day. Even when the recipes venture into other areas of Chinese cuisine, it holds that same kind overly epicurean complexity.

I grew up with my grandparents cooking Cantonese food for me, and though preparations can get quite complex in the Chinese kitchen, dinner rarely feels like a burden. This book simply calls for too many ingredients, oftentimes obscure ones, oftentimes in trifling amounts. Currently I live in Beijing and the agricultural market is right down the street, but generally speaking I can hardly motivate myself to go gather all the many ingredients in these epic recipes. I feel in many ways that Ms. Lo neglects an important, but certainly not all encompassing, concept in Chinese cooking, which is straightforwardness and letting good ingredients speak for themselves.

To compare, Ms. Lo's recipe for Mah Paw Daufu (not a Cantonese dish) has 22 ingredients listed. Whereas in the "Land of Plenty" cookbook the Ma Po Doufu calls for 12 ingredients. Both recipes create a wonderful dish, but as the recipe in "Land of Plenty" is much less complex I use it 95% of the time. Having grown up with Chinese food and having lived in China for 3 years I would say that "Land of Plenty" is more 'authentic' in that its the home style cooking that most Chinese people do.

Notice I did give this book 3 stars which means I think it is good, just not great. I have tried a good number of the recipes and all of them resulted in very nice dishes. Ms. Lo understands Chinese cooking, Chinese food, and Chinese culture, so the essays about food in this book are extremely informative. I also appreciate that she tries to cover the many regions of Chinese cuisine. Yet in the end, if you are like me, work full time, don't have enough money for an in-house chef, or don't have a stay at home spouse, I would recommend looking for other Chinese cookbooks.
49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
A First Rate Cookbook 6 Jan 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my husband for Christmas and we can't stop cooking from it! Every recipe we've tried has been delicious and authentic. While we are not novice cooks, we knew little about Chinese ingredients and next to nothing about Chinese cooking techniques. But the recipes are so clear and easy to follow, that once we stocked our pantry, we were producing wonderful tasting and visually pleasing dishes that put our neighborhood Chinese restaurants to shame.
Although the recipes generally require a fairly long list of ingredients (it is not unusual to need a few different types of soy sauce and vinegar), and you will need access to a good Asian market, you will be able to use the ingredients you buy in many different dishes. The book opens up a new world of flavors and textures, and the author manages to inform and entertain with information on Chinese history and culture along the way.
This is one of the best cookbooks I've purchased, and I buy a lot of cookbooks. Highly recommended.
58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
Difficult for the novice, but an enriching book! 13 July 2000
By Jane Avriette - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My chinese girlfriend (I'm just a "white guy") and I have decided to start cooking chinese. She has experience with some of the dishes and techniques, my experience is is limited to knowing how to make stir-fry in a wok.
This book offers no-nonsense approaches to traditional chinese dishes. No corners are cut, everything is the way the author thinks it should be (and who am I to argue?).
Novice cooks beware: this book is not for you!
It is a beautiful book. The art with which it was put together is stunning.
Technically, it is outstanding. With illustrations and pictures of the techniques, commentary on proper techniques and cultural commentary.
We are having great fun with it already.
If you know how to cook, and can build up enough courage to go and make Peking Duck, this book is definitely for you.
Chinese cooking is fantastic. This book makes a worthy addition to any intermediate - advanced kitchen.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Authentic Chinese Cuisine Lovingly Prepared 3 Aug 2005
By siehomme - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I was tired of the simplified, Americanized recipes of many Chinese cook books and because I wanted a little history with my recipes. I was not disappointed on both counts. Ms. Lo speaks with authority and warmth in these pages, and, being a purist when it comes to Chinese cookery, gives you the real deal when it comes to the cuisine of China. Here you'll find not only Cantonese dishes but those from Shanghai, Szechuan, and other regions. The instructions are clear (if sometimes daunting) and there are many beautiful photographs accompanying them. I've made several recipes and have been very happy with the results, and I plan on making many more. Many of these recipes are not of the quick-n-easy variety, but the extra time and effort are worth it.
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