Saturday, September 3, 2011

China Grown-Up Book

Back to a memoir, but with a different angle this month.  My brother did a round-the-world trip last year, mainly with the purpose of eating his way through different countries.  He recommended this book about China.  Living in Singapore, we are inundated with diverse Chinese food options and I'm curious to learn more about the variety of dishes, cooking styles, and flavors.  I'm a few pages in and offer a warning: this is not for the faint-hearted.  The author - a British food writer who spent years in China - discusses how (in sometimes sharp detail) the Chinese eat pretty much everything. 

Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China
by Fuchsia Dunlop
Here's the description from the author's website:
"An extraordinary memoir of an Englishwoman’s attempt to immerse herself in Chinese food and Chinese culinary culture. In the course of her decade-long journey, Fuchsia undergoes an apprenticeship at a Sichuanese cooking school, where she is the only foreign student in a class of nearly fifty young Chinese men; attempts, hilariously, to persuade Chinese people that ‘Western food’ is neither ‘simple’ nor ‘bland’; and samples a multitude of exotic ingredients, including sea cucumber, civet cat, scorpion, 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 Oxford kitchen, Fuchsia is forced to put this to the test."

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