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on January 19, 2013
This is quite a book.
1. Recipes are reasonable - with fairly short ingredient lists that are available in most grocery stores like Wegmans. A wide variety of appetizers, soups and entrees.
No recipes requiring eel, seaweed or other obscure ingredients. The book is instructive of the techniques that give Chinese takeout it unique texture (crispy) and taste. I like that the recipes in this book prepare a full quart or more of food. It is such a hassle to purchase special ingredients for these types of recipes and have leftover ingredients that get wasted.

2. Contains all the usual favorites from local restaurants. The title says it all for this book - this is a cookbook of takeout recipes. Note well: If you are looking for a "purist" book on Chinese recipes of regional cuisine - look elsewhere. Understand that this book is geared toward Asian / American palate. You can now make them at home and control the quality of the ingredients / sodium. The recipes deliver flavor that is similar to restaurants (Kung Pao, Generals, Sesame Noodles)

3. I love that there are photos of every recipe - the pages are high gloss. There are also explanations of techniques like velveting and for preparing the ingredients.

Update:
Sesame noodle recipe: On point. savory. Be sure to take the time to find the egg noodles - they give the dish a toothsome quality and richness not present with plan spagetti.

Mongolian: dont skip the fish sauce; it lends a note that is impossible to replicate. If you are not used to measuring while cooking you may want to do so. Measure the sauce exactly - otherwise the noodles absorb a large amount of sauce and become very salty and unsightly (very dark and oily looking)
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on December 21, 2012
This IS by far the best cookbook I've ever bought myself! At first I was somewhat hesitated, but then, it was just easy. I was tired of ordering takeout and throwing money out the window; plus ordering takeout is not healthy! My favorites recipes that I've actually done are: Kung Pao Chicken, General Tso's and Yang Chow Fried Rice!!!
The best investment of a cookbook ever hands down! If you love Chinese takeout just as much as I do, then this book is for you!!!
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on January 17, 2013
I have a plethora of Chinese cookbooks and I can honestly say this is the first time I have actually cooked from one. When I received this book I tabbed almost every recipe to try. I made the Spicy Black Bean Chicken and it was out of this world. I never got so much praise for a dish ever. The dishes taste complex but are simple to put together. The sesame chicken, General Tso's and sesame noodles - I will always use Diana's recipe - so delicious. Any fan of Chinese food should have this book in their collection. The photographs are beautiful and the recipes are brilliant!
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on December 16, 2012
I love the pictures and recipes in this book. I am getting hungry just turning the pages. The sweet chili shrimp recipe is one of my favorites. I like how this book is organized with each chapter containing a different section of a Chinese restaurant menu. The author also tells a story and gives some background information on many of the common ingredients found in Chinese dishes. When I'm craving Chinese takeout, cooking these dishes myself is now an option and a better choice. Many Chinese takeout places nowadays have food that is very greasy or seems to be low in quality. These recipes are high quality, authentic Chinese takeout recipes. I can't wait to try out more recipes.
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on December 12, 2012
I love Chinese and other Asian foods, but I've always been intimidated when I've considered trying to make some dishes myself. My girlfriend bought this for me recently and I've been really impressed so far. I've made the Kung Pao Chicken and the spring rolls and I am planning on trying on of the pork dishes next. So far, I have been very impressed with how the dishes have come out and how easy it has been to follow the recipes. The fact that you can regulate the quality of ingidients and the salt in the recipes is also a huge plus for me. All in all great value.
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on December 12, 2012
I bought this book yesterday, and am very impressed with the breadth of recipes after reading through it. The author is very knowledgeable, and teaches you how to make all of your favorite takeout dishes. I think this is a great idea for any aspiring chef who is tired of ordering from their local Chinese restaurant, and wants to make healthier versions of those dishes with fresh ingredients. I highly recommend buying it for yourself, or anyone else who loves to cook!
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on March 21, 2013
Please note that this is a comment solely on one annoyance in the kindle edition. Though I have yet to prepare any recipes, so far they look tasty and I hope to make many of them. I see many of the items that I order when I get take out.

This review is just a heads up for those who wish to buy the kindle version. There is no list of the recipes. The table of contents lists categories as appetizers, poultry, etc., but you have to page through the chapter to see what recipes it actually contains. No list of recipes, no index. This is a minor problem, but a really annoying one for a book I expect to use frequently.
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on December 26, 2012
I am about as far from expert chef level as someone can get, but I can tell already this book is helpful for folks like me. The recipes are simple and easy to follow, and the writing is both engaging and accessible -- especially when the author includes some personal backstory on a particular dish. If you like Chinese food but have a busy schedule that limits available cooking time, this book will be a great help. Some good spicy dishes, too, if you like some spice. Well worth a buy.
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I've gotten heavily into wok cooking recently, and I've purchased many, many stir-fry and wok cookbooks. After working with all of them, and sitting back to think it all through, I have decided that this is the best: In terms of most concise instructions, accessible and not-too-elaborate ingredients, easiest prep work, favorite dishes, and much more.

Bottom line is this: Stir-frying and using a wok demands very quick work. If you've not completely memorized your recipe, you need to have your cookbook in front of you as part of your "mise en place". This cookbook fits that bill nicely. The layout is conducive to helping you work efficiently. The directions/instructions, ingredient lists and beautiful pictures are big aids in helping you get ready to prepare the dish.

Just to give you an idea of what I am comparing this book to: I have several Grace Young books. They are wonderful, and I'm glad to have them. I've learned quite a lot from them. There are many wonderful recipes that I like in each of her books, but the books are not as simplistic to use as The Chinese Takeout Cookbook. Young's books are large and all-encompassing and work nicely as reference books. Neither the books, nor the recipes, will ever be my Asian go-to books and recipes. I will use the Grace Young books when I have leisure time to browse through the recipes, create a shopping list, and plan a special meal.

I also have a few Barbara Tropp books. I like those books as well and have learned a lot of tips from them. But again, they won't be my go-to Asian cookbooks. And they are a bit older and don't have the great pictures that cookbooks have nowadays.

Then there are the Ken Hom books: They are a bit too "old" for me, and while his books give me ideas, they don't give me the detailed instructions and pictures that I like.

So, my favorite is becoming obvious: The Chinese Takeout Cookbook is the one. It's even got a recipe for Egg Foo Young, one of my all-time favorites, and so easy to make.
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on December 17, 2012
Short story: I like it, recommended.

Long story: this one was new in my bookstore, wanted to get something for my sister for christmas and a lot of the recipes caught my eye. I decided to give one a shot before wrapping it (pineapple fried rice) and it came out great.

I recommend reading through the intro, it does a good job explaining chinese food as part of the american experience. The background stories on each recipe are interesting too, fun to leaf through if you're just helping someone else prepare the meal.

Looking forward to trying some of the other recipes. I like that the harder ones are still explained well and are presented in a way that anyone should be able to do. Substitutions are given for harder to find ingredients which is pretty cool.
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