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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars36
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 3 July 2010
I had been searching for a good authoritative text on Japanese cooking and I fell in love with this book after previewing it online. I purchased my own copy a few months ago and I have not been disappointed. It's simply wonderful, and I'm amazed to find that I could actually read it from cover to cover if I wanted to. More than just a collection of recipes, it is truly an insight into Japanese culture.

The book is essentially split into two parts. In Part 1, Shizuo Tsuji enthrals with his introductions to different types of dishes, and there are also useful introductions to the ingredients and equipment that are typical of traditional Japanese cookery. After reading Part 1 you are well placed to begin experimenting with the recipes in Part 2.

I'm still struck by how immensely enjoyable it is to read 'Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art', considering that for the most part it is unadulterated by flashy food photography. It manages to provide what many modern cookbooks lack. It is simple, effective and rooted in a wonderfully intriguing culinary tradition. I highly recommend reading this book to glean a thorough insight into the cuisine before purchasing any other texts on Japanese cooking. I would have given it more stars if I could, since five seems too few to denote my appreciation.
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on 31 July 2008
This book is essential if you want to cook proper Japanese food that tastes like Japanese food should do. It covers a wide range of Japanese food types that don't get much coverage outside Japan but are at the heart of Japanese food culture. From fried foods (agemono) and traditional one pot dishes (nabemono) to how to make your own Japanese pickles (tsukemono), you don't get more comprehensive or authentically Japanese than this.
The author is well know and respected in Japan and I know some Japanese people also use this as a reference for cooking, even though this is designed for a Western audience as the introduction shows.
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on 1 August 2010
I was bought this book as a gift, despite its intimidating size I've found it to be a superb book that not only provides great, easy to follow recipes but also provides a lot of insight into Japanese cookery, teaches techniques and cooking styles and has a very helpful ingredients guide that gives an idea of what to subsititute when you can't find a particuarly obscure japanese ingredient.

The only difficult I find with it is that some stuff is just unavailable in the UK, however there are still plenty of recipes in the book that you can make using items you buy from asian supermarkets.

Excellent book, definetly recommended
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on 30 March 2010
This is a brilliant book. The recipes are completely authentic, no fusion. As another reviewer has mentioned, the author is famous in Japan and even the Japanese use this as a reference, even though it was written for non-Japanese.

The book is laid out very well and the explanations of techniques, ingredients or cultural aspects of the food are detailed but informative, interesting and easy to follow. This book de-mystifies Japanese cooking and keeps it simple as it should be.

The first half of the book covers the basic ingredients, utensils and techniques required for the recipes which follow in part 2. Many techniques are used in multiple dishes, which is why the book is organised in this manner. This half also has an explanation of the Japanese meal from which courses are served, in what order and why, to pointers on manners.

The second half contain the recipes themselves, which are excellent. A number of styles of Japanese cooking are included which would not be familiar to the majority of those who have not lived in Japan.

I am half Japanese so my usual reference for Japanese cooking is my mother but sometimes I even check her advice against this cookbook to see if they agree with each other... they've never contradicted each other so far.
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on 14 December 2009
Thank goodness I came across this book in the Amazon reviews, and was convinced to buy it. I hadn't heard of it before, and it looked a bit old fashioned, but it is truly excellent. I bought it along with another more modern Japanese cookery book 'just in case' and this one beats it hands down. I am constantly referring to it, while the newwer one gathers dust. It provides a wealth of information, such a level of detail, yet is still a great read, I love that I can pick it up and just read it for interest's sake. If you have any interest at all in Japanese food, buy it!
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on 18 September 2013
I was initialy troubled that the book contains few images. However, there are a lot of well-drawn sketches of ingredients, utensils and cooking methods that you will find useful. The drawings also contribute to the "old - fashioned" feeling that you get when you read the book. I found myself reading the book in bed, because apart from the well explained recipies and tips, the writer presents in an excellent way the traditions and the culture in relation to Japanese cuisine.

All in all a very enjoyable and useful book to have.
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on 22 January 2016
Thorough and comprehensive instructions on how to cook traditional Japanese food. The book feels substantial and I like the paper it has been printed on. Don't expect to see photographs of the food but there are illustrations for certain techniques to help you on your way. The first section feels more like a reading book rather than the usual recipe books and dives into the culture and origins of Japanese food, which is essential reading if you intend to recreate some of the recipes. The recipes appear to be straight forward provided you can find all the ingredients, a lot of which can be easily found in most Chinese supermarkets or bought online. I suspect that, like myself, this book will appeal mostly to people who have been to Japan and experienced the food and culture. However, don't let that put you off. This is a classic book and a keeper.
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on 19 November 2010
Reading this book is more than a cookbook. I understand now better the sophistication of the japanese culture, this book describes in detail exactly how to cut your ingredients, how long to cook each one, how to assemble a soup bowl that will be steamed, etc. And one of the great things is that at the end of most recipes, the author says 'goes well together with X and Y dish' thus making it easy to put together a meal that would surely impress guests or your family. This book is like a cornerstone of japanese cooking, the ancient art that is and will forever be better than all the new modern dishes that are coming and will come.
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on 25 October 2013
This book will provide anyone interested in Japanese cooking plenty of insight into preparation, cooking techniques and philosophy to mention a just a few things.

I have not yet been to Japan but have been to Malaysia and Thailand. This book reminds me of the Thompson Thailand book, one which I felt was very authentic.

There are plenty more detailed reviews on here but I felt I needed to add my five stars to the mix.
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on 24 April 2016
Probably 'The Bible' of Japanese Cooking written in English. Very extensive. Out of print so also expensive. I'm reading it from the start , so very slowly. It will make an excellent reference work when finished. When first written it was probably the only English guide to Japanese cuisine now we have many more . This is still the best for it's range and completeness.
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