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Martin Yan's Chinatown Cooking Hardcover – October 22, 2002

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Editorial Reviews Review

"The Chinatowns around the world are amazing communities," writes Martin Yan in his Chinatown Cooking, "filled with history, culture, friendship, and of course food." Naturally, in this companion book to his public television series, Yan focuses on the food--a rich stew from the world's Chinatowns, including, exotically, those in Singapore, Sydney, and Macao. The 200 recipes included reflect a profoundly rich food culture (or cultures, as Chinese cuisine is regionally diverse). Some dishes, like Steamed Whole Fish with Ginger and Green Onions and Sweet-and-Spicy Garlic Shrimp, are beloved classics; others, including Hawaiian Lu'Au Stew, mirror adjustments to local ingredients or tastes; while still others, such as Crispy Seafood and Mango Packets and Steamed King Prawns with Chinese Pesto, are the innovations of modern chefs. But old or new, the dishes are endlessly tempting, and, because of Yan's knowledgeable yet relaxed approach and the clarity of his recipes, completely manageable.

Covering dishes from dim sum, appetizers, and soups, to meat and seafood specialties, rice, noodles, and even desserts like Lucky Treasure Rice Pudding, the book also profiles the Chinatowns, noting their unique qualities (Yokohama's is host to 18 million tourists a year!) while also offering restaurant and dish recommendations (at Macau's Restaurante Chan Chi Mei, order the hanging fish hot pot). Yan also provides illuminating cultural asides such as those about Hakka cuisine or Singapore's Sam Sui women, who were pivotal in the construction of that country's Chinatown. But it's the dishes that make the book a treasure. The book also contains comprehensive food and technique glossaries and color photos throughout. --Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

Taking the reader on a tour of the world's great Chinatowns, Yan (Martin Yan's Asian Favorites) intersperses the recipes with short histories and photos. He visits 11 Chinatowns in seven countries-including the five Chinatowns of Toronto, New York's 350,000-person Chinatown, and the old Chinatown of Melbourne-and intersperses panels on traditions and philosophies with discussions of the locales and recipes. The detailed and well-explained recipes are sandwiched between a full section on Equipment and Techniques and the Chinese Pantry, and are divided into chapters from Dim Sum, through Seafood and Poultry to Desserts. Yan often draws on inspiration from other well-known chefs such as Sam Choy, who provides several recipes, including the simple and flavorful Lu'au Stew. While some recipes are classics, such as Broccoli Beef and Kung Pao Chicken, others blend traditional dishes with local ingredients for true Asian fusion cooking (Macau's Minchee Minced Pork, is Portuguese-inspired). Helpfully, Yan also adds sidebars containing tips such as "Cracking Crabs" and "Toasting," and makes suggestions for combining "Chinese Food and Wine." The resulting book-glossy and attractively laid out with 200 full-color photos-is as beautiful to look at as it is instructional to the cook.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: MorrowCB; 1st edition (October 22, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060084758
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060084752
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 8.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #407,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Loved Martin Yan's cookbooks.
Ernie Loo
Many of the dishes are familiar to me, so I guess Martin Yan's taste is a good fit for me!
They are clear and precise and easy to follow.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Tim Janson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I've been a fan of Martin yan's ever since seeing him on PBS some 15 years ago or so. Before Emeril came along Yan was one of the few TV cooks who tried to entertain as well as educate on cooking. I'm quite disappointed he's no long on the Food Network anymore as I just don't see him pop up on PBS that often but maybe I am just missing him.

I was able to pickup this book on the bargain Rack at the local Mediaplay for just a few bucks so it was well worth the price. Different than his other books, Martin takes on a guided world tour to various Chinatowns around the world including San Francisco, Sydney and Yokohama, complete with brief histories and Yan's recommendations on restaurants to visit in each chinatown.

The Recipes are grouped by course. Some of the recipes are pictured; all included a brief introduction, telling a bit about the recipe or hints to making the dish. The directions are easy to follow once you became acquainted with the ingredients. Any questions are easily solved by a trip to the Asian Market or a quick look at the Chinese Pantry section. The Chinese ingredients and many other less common ingredients in the recipes were covered in this Section.

The index, an important area of any cookbook, is great! If you want a duck recipe, look up duck. If you want an appetizer, you got it. Recipes can also be found under their name as well as various main ingredients. You would be able to find "Roast Duck Nachos", under any of these headings.

All in all, not only is this a good cookbook, but a good history into some of the world's finest chinatowns.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This ranks as one of Martin Yan's best, with lots of well written recipes. If you're not yet into Chinese cooking, this is a great place to begin. While I have not tried a large number of the recipes yet, and while a few of them require a really extensive Asian grocery for the ingredients, everything so far has been straightforward and delicious. There is also fascinating material about different Chinatowns and Chinese culture scattered randomly throughout the book.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Joe Gannon on December 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Martin Yan is a true pioneer in bringing Chinese cuisine to our living rooms via his TV shows, with his sense of humor, blazing knife skills, and a teaching style that makes him a real pleasure to watch. But Yan also is a prolific writer who has written 10 best selling cookbooks. With an easy-to-follow style, the books is a real treasure for anyone wanting to learn more about Chinese cuisine. And even if you're never been to a Chinatown, this book will help educate you into the many variations of this wonderfuol cuisine.
This cookbook contains 200 recipes from 11 Chinatown's throughout the world. Recipes are clearly written, and each step is numbered to make it easy to follow. Yan also clearly describes the size of each ingedient. As an example, "large eggs", "unsalted butter". As a result, the recipes produce the intended results with such clear instruction.
The beginning of each recipe includes a short paragraph that provides useful informaiton about the dish preperation, serving suggestions, or recipe variations. Although some recipes contain a large list of ingfredients, that shouldn;t deter you. Yan has done an excellent job of making each dish seem simple to make. And for those of you who are pressed for time, some can be made with just a few ingredients. The book also includes a unique recipe called Char Siu Quesidillas, that combines a Mexican recipe with a Chinese twist. And some recipes have been adapted by Yan for those readers like myself who may not live close to a Chinatown.
I also found the index to be quite helpful, with some dishes listed in multiple locations depending upon it's ingredients. As an example, a fish custard is listed both under eggs, as well as fish.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a great cookbook. The recipes are simple, the execution is easy, and the food is yummy. Every recipe we tried did not disappoint. We have cooked clams, eggplant, and fish using recipes in this book, and they all turned out great. We have been to a couple of the Chinatowns from which Mr. Yan harvested these recipes, and when we cook this food, it is like a trip back...without having to buy a plane ticket. We have now stocked our kitchen with hoisin sauce, fish sauce, five spice chinese powder, and other tools and ingredients so we can be ready to cook Chinatown style! If you want fancy Chinese food for a big Chinese wedding, look elsewhere. If you want great tasting Chinese food that comes close to what you would get on Mott Street in NY, then give this book a try!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By BookNerd on December 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this book in the library. After reading it, I decided I got to own it. This is a really great book on Chinese food! I am Chinese, grew up in Hong Kong & Macau. I saw his shows in Hong Kong's English TV channel when I was in highschool. I think he was good on his show and we Chinese back home were very impressed that Martin Yan was able to demonstrate authentic Chinese cooking in such an entertaining and easy to understand format!

Since I moved to America, I had been trying to find a Chinese cookbook that I can cook from to soothe my craving for foods from back home. I brought with me Chinese cookbooks from Hong Kong, written in Chinese. But the measurements and ingredients from those books are difficult for me to follow here in America, mainly because people back home cook with different measuring system and they have different terms for the ingredients, thus creating problems for me when I go shopping. I'm glad I found this book, the recipes are great. They are clear and precise and easy to follow. All the ingredients are readily available in grocery stores here in California, Asian or not, like Trader Joes, Gelson or Wholefood where I usually shop!

Of course, the book can't possibly include all the recipes of all the dishes or dim sums back home. But all the recipes in the book are really good and authentic Chinese classics that we Chinese love! Recipes from Macau and Hong Kong are very authentic, like the Mintzi Beef (from Macau, a chinese dish influenced by Portuguese cooking), or the Hong Kong Wonton Bowl... Also the book got my favorite "Pine Apple Bun" that I always ordered 4 dishes and more whenever I go to Dim Sum. (can't go all the time because dim sum is only good with several friends and in L.A.
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