Qty:1
  • List Price: $15.00
  • Save: $3.39 (23%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
The Eater's Guide to Chin... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Like New | Details
Sold by AZ-Emporium
Condition: Used: Like New
Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with used items.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Eater's Guide to Chinese Characters Paperback – May 1, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0226555928 ISBN-10: 0226555925 Edition: 1st

Buy New
Price: $11.61
34 New from $7.16 34 Used from $2.50
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$81.15
Paperback, May 1, 2004
$11.61
$7.16 $2.50
Best%20Books%20of%202014
$11.61 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

The Eater's Guide to Chinese Characters + Eating Out in China: A Traveler's Resource (EZChinesey Guides) + Dim Sum: A Pocket Guide
Price for all three: $32.92

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Shop the China Books Store
Interested in browsing our full selection of books related to China? Visit our China Books Store.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 1 edition (May 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226555925
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226555928
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.9 x 5.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #971,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Unlike some of the rest of us, McCawley can enter a Chinese restaurant secure in the knowledge that his digestion will not be impaired by the frustration of watching Chinese customers enjoy some succulent marvel whose name the management has not bothered to translate. . . . McCawley does not spend half the meal staring at his neighbor’s bean curd with that particularly ugly combination of greed and envy so familiar to—well, to some of the rest of us. . . . McCawley endeavors to free the non-Chinese-speaking eater forever from the wretched constriction of the English menu.”

Calvin Trillin, New Yorker
(Calvin Trillin New Yorker)

Language Notes

Text: English, Chinese --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Good thing, too, because I never again saw the book on a shelf.
Esther Schindler
After a little practice I was able to use his system to look up characters I found in Chinese menus and cookery books.
C. J. Thompson
Luckily, I had brought McCawley's book with me, and was saved from starvation.
pcole@udel.edu

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By William J. Poser on November 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a practical introduction to reading Chinese menus. McCawley explains the structure of typical Chinese menus, a variety of culinary terms, and even the conventions for writing prices while taking the reader through several real menus. Additional sample menus, including handwritten menus with printed equivalents, are provided as examples. The book includes a substantial Chinese character dictionary focussing on words likely to be used in menus, using an indexing system that non-specialists will likely find relatively easy to use. My only criticism is that pronounciations are given in Mandarin, with Cantonese only occasionally provided. In spite of the recent influx of Mandarin speakers, the staff of Chinese restaurants in North America are still likely to speak Cantonese.
4 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
To really eat well in good Chinese restaurants, you need to be able to understand the Chinese-language menu: many dishes aren't included on the English menu, and many dishes are described vaguely in English, but precisely in Chinese.
Understanding the Chinese menu presents two great challenges: 1) looking up characters in an ordinary Chinese-English dictionary is very hard; 2) words have special meanings in a cooking context.
McCawley's Guide is a great help on both counts. His indexing scheme works directly off the appearance of the character. Conventional dictionaries rely on the character's 'radical' -- which is often not obvious and hard to recognize -- and how it is written. The definitions here are strictly geared to cooking and eating, and often include the names of dishes (not just ingredients or cooking methods), so you know exactly what is on the menu.
Still, you can't count on understanding a full menu quickly enough to stave off hunger -- a good idea to take one home for study if you can.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Esther Schindler TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
In the early 80s, I consumed all of Calvin Trillin's books about food; who cared that he also wrote about politics?. If you have navigated to this book and *haven't* read Trillin's Tummy Trilogy by now, you'd better rush to get yourself a copy... it's the funniest food writing I've ever encountered.

Anyway, in Third Helpings, Trillin had a marvelous essay called "Divining the Mysteries of the East," about a college professor who provided his Linguistics students with a pamphlet -- which grew into a book -- that helped them decipher the menus in Chinese restaurants. As Trillin said, "McCawley has never been reduced to carrying in his wallet a note that says in Mandarin, 'Please bring me some of what the man at the next table is having.'" [This made me angry that I majored in Linguistics at Brandeis instead of going to the University of Chicago; my professor may have been a protege of Noam Chomsky, but I never even got a matzo ball from him.]

Several months after reading Trillin's book, I found a copy of the Eater's Guide to Chinese Characters in an airport bookstore. I snatched up a copy. (Good thing, too, because I never again saw the book on a shelf.) I've cherished this book for twenty years, and I cheered when I saw it was back in print. Let me see if I can explain why.

Unlike some of the reviewers here, I do not know any dialect of Chinese. I don't particularly want to; I just want to chow down on wonderful Chinese food.

There are few authentic restaurants, however, that do a great job of translating the menu. Other than expecting that I'll love any item about which the waiter says curtly, "You no like" (for the record, that deep fried pork stomach was excellent)... well, I'm left to figure it out on my own.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By pcole@udel.edu on November 16, 1997
Format: Hardcover
When I was living in Taiwan this book was a lifesaver. I was teaching at a small university near Taipei in the early 80's. The only source of food was from the tiny restaurants that surrounded the side gate of the university. But to order I had to read the menus in Chinese! Luckily, I had brought McCawley's book with me, and was saved from starvation.
The book has similar salutory value in American Chinese restaurants.
Peter Cole
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By groundhog on August 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Disclaimer: Jim McCawley [...]was a dear friend of mine, a great dinner companion and chooser of restaurants off the beaten track, and the advisor for the Linguistics dissertation I never wrote.
I'm sorry this book is out of print, but glad to see what a used copy costs. Jim was a genius, passionate about language and food. If you've ever wondered what those characters on the Chinese menu mean, this is your Rosetta Stone. If you take this book seriously, you'll be able to order off the menu the Chinese customers get, not the skimpy English one.
And if there's any justice in the world, this book will be reprinted someday.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Catherine McDonnell on November 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent idea: just enough background to understand and read the Chinese characters you're likely to encounter in restaurants. My only carp is that many of them are reproduced in such a small size in the main text that it's hard to see the details and thus impossible to effectively memorize them. A long glossary toward the back of the book makes up for this shortcoming to some extent by displaying the characters in a bigger size, but it's still an annoyance.
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews