Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A sweet-sour memoir of eating in China Paperback – 2 Jun 2011
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"Britain's most informed Sichuan food expert" (Terry Durack Independent)
"The best writer in the West - and perhaps in the world - on Chinese food" (Bee Wilson Sunday Telegraph)
"I, for one, am grateful to be living in an era when I can read Fuchsia Dunlop's erudite writing. Her latest, Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper is filled with personal and humorous observations that make for fascinating reading. It is not only a memoir about food but also of culture from one of the world's oldest civilisations." (Ken Hom)
"Fuchsia Dunlop is not just one of the world's experts on Chinese regional food, but a beautiful writer too. You can almost smell the Sichuan pepper and fish fragrant aubergines wafting off every page. She captures Sichuan life with a keen eye and elegant pen, at a time where China was on the cusp of opening up to the West. It's as evocative and eloquent picture of Chinese food and culture as you'll ever read, quietly erudite yet utterly addictive." (Tom Parker Bowles)
"Fuchsia has a rare ability to convey an encyclopaedic knowledge of Chinese cuisine in a compelling and totally delicious way; this is a great book" (Heston Blumenthal)
This is the story of an English girl who went to China to learn the language, but whose love of food led her down a very different path...See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
In "Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper" Fuchsia Dunlop provides a factual but fascinating and entertaining insight into experiences that most of us lack the linguistic and culinary skills and courage to contemplate undertaking first-hand - for example as the only non-Chinese person and almost the only woman on a Sichuan cookery course.
Fuchsia Dunlop writes beautiful prose. Her style of writing, skill with words, content and structure, combined with her enthusiasm for Chinese cookery, create that rare commodity, an un-put-downable non-fiction work. She writes in a compelling way, enabling the reader to see the people and places she visits and taste the dishes she describes.
No one who has read the book could accuse the author of eating anything and everything without a qualm. She absorbs herself in and embraces the regional language, culture and cuisine of different parts of China and describes these sympathetically but not uncritically. She looks at her own eating behaviour dispassionately but critically, seeing herself through both Chinese and Western eyes.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever eaten a meal with Chinese people or who is planning a visit to China.
There are times when you will need a strong stomach. Here she is describing what it's like to eat sheep's lungs: "The pale lungs are smooth as custard, floury as a white sauce, chubby as a cheesecake. In fact, with a little added sugar you might imagine you were eating an English pudding, if it wasn't for the odd tube poking out..."
Fuschia Dunlop's absorbing account of regional Chinese cooking was first published in 2008. As this complex country opens itself up increasingly to the outside world, how interesting it is now to catch sight of the last shadowy wisps of the Cultural Revolution and to look back - just a few years - to the time when China was on the cusp of such seismic change.
In an otherwise faultless book, the paperback edition that I read had small print and poor paper quality. Ms Dunlop deserved better.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book has opened my eyes to some of the best Chinese food in the world and how it has evolved.
Please buy this book and you have an insight to one of the world s... Read more
Here is the book which details Fuchsia Dunlop's earlier life, the inspiration for her cookery books, and is an entirely delightful book. Warmly recommended.Published 15 months ago by BookBeetle
Utterly adore the story and the recipes! My only slight reservation is that Fuchsia is very honest about some of the Chinese eating habits and if you are a vegetarian this may... Read morePublished on 18 July 2014 by empress_3
Travel and food together - it's a wonderful combination. Written with knowledge and passion, this is a tale of her journey through the food of China. Read morePublished on 1 Oct. 2013 by Tess Baxter
I bought this on the recommendation of a friend who had been to china and it is a fascinating read and an insight into Chinese culture. Not for the sensitive vegetarian.Published on 29 Aug. 2013 by jomutheone
read by others who like it, am now reading it myself, like the style and the detail from the authorPublished on 15 Feb. 2013 by buzz
This is a fabulous memoir of a time spent in China. While Fuschia Dunlop focuses on the food experience, it also gives a very good feel for life as a young westerner in Chengdu... Read morePublished on 30 Jan. 2013 by E Bennett