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Asian Dining Rules: Essential Strategies for Eating Out at Japanese, Chinese, Southeast Asian, Korean, and Indian Restaurants Paperback – October 21, 2008
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“With Shaw’s Dining Rules under your belt, you’ll be ordering like a regular.” (Martin Yan, cookbook author and host of the Yan Can Cook Show)
“What impresses me about Steven Shaw is not that he’s mastered Asian decorum, but that he’s mastered almost everything in the food world. Nobody should be that gifted. I’m twice his age, and I’m constantly learning from him.” (Alan Richman)
“Steven Shaw is the dining companion we all yearn for when eating unfamiliar foods in unfamiliar places: He is warm, wise, and goes out of his way to make us feel as informed (and well fed) as possible.” (James Oseland, editor-in-chief, Saveur, and author of Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore)
“As you order the shrimp fried rice and General Tso’s chicken for the eight hundredth time, you eye the guests to your left. They have, apparently, seen a secret, far superior menu. Hungry reader, they read this book.” (Phoebe Damrosch, author of Service Included)
About the Author
Steven A. Shaw, aka "The Fat Guy," is the founder of the phenomenally successful eGullet website, a James Beard Award-winning food critic, and a contributor to Saveur, Crain's New York Business, and many other publications. He lives in New York City with his wife and son.
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Top Customer Reviews
Is the author authoritative on the topic? I can't honestly say, though I'm mostly convinced. I hedge because of issues with the advice itself - the "rules" referenced in the title - and the limited coverage. See more below on that. The book carries two Asian heavyweight endorsements on the front and back covers, though: Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and Martin Yan of Yan Can Cook. So presumably the educational content is accurate.
This is a 250 page book that covers 5 major cuisines. Each cuisine chapter is, therefore, regrettably limited, especially when you toss in all the personal stories and offbeat - if interesting - segues (e.g., pairing French wines with Japanese food). And there's the rub - the book is supposed to be about "dining rules," here meaning what you need to know and how to act in order to be treated like an insider and get the good stuff. The overview-level coverage winds up coming short of the goal, in turn leading to the doubts concerning the author's authority mentioned above.
The Japanese section illustrates all the points mentioned above. The entire section is only about 50 pages long.Read more ›
In my opinion, the book seemed like it was aimed more at people who had never ate at an Asian restaurant before (who those people are, I have no idea). The advice was common sense, like if you go to a Chinese buffet, fill your plate right when it's brought out from the kitchen so that the food is fresh. And, avoid the lomein because it'll fill you up. The Japanese section of the book focused almost entirely on sushi, and frankly I think there's a lot more to Japanese cuisine than that. It's sort of like writing a book about Italian food and only talking about pizza. I had figured this book was going to tell me things like what 'itadakimasu' means, etc.
Like I said, I think this would be a good book for someone who really hasn't had much by the way of Asian food, and would like help choosing menu items. But if you already have a passion for is, you should probably pass this one up.
Of particular interest are the descriptions of unusual dishes, for those who like to eat "outside the box", and strategies for obtaining non-menu items, as well as dishes not geared so much toward "Western" taste. The chapters include many side essays on various related topics, and these should definitely not be skipped over, as some fascinating info is to be found there. Alas, there will always be those diners whose idea of great Asian cuisine mainly consists of Pu-Pu Platters and Fried Rice, and this fine book is certainly not for them. For the rest of us, ASIAN DINING RULES is a must.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I agree, this is a misleading title. It is more anecdotal than you would expect, with the author's strange memories filling up an overly large portion of the book. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Cuauhtémoc Nguyen
This book would have been more useful when it first came out (and this info wasn't all already online) and before the explosion of Asian dining to make it so easily accessible. Read morePublished 19 months ago by TravellingCari
I learned a lot from this book, and I have already taken several tips from it. It is informative and very easy reading.Published on July 21, 2014 by Penny Shaw
This is not a book about Asian dining etiquette. This is mainly a book about Asian food served in the US and what you need to know to get the most out of the experience. Read morePublished on December 7, 2010 by Jackal
I read this book the first time and came away with the feeling that I hadn't learned very much from it... Read morePublished on October 16, 2010 by C. J. Thompson
Steven Shaw's, "Asian Dining Rules" is a decent primer for neophytes to the wide-world of Asian cuisines and makes for a light, fun read for those with many belly-fulls of... Read morePublished on September 16, 2010 by Sibelius
The book is in excellent condition, transport time was just a bit longer than usual, but I an very satisfied. I would prefer that a bill not be included in a gift.Published on September 6, 2010 by EP