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Kitchen Chinese: A Novel About Food, Family, and Finding Yourself Paperback – February 9, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
I think the book fills a real void in something that I'm always interested in hearing about: what is it like for someone coming from another country to experience the "real China?" Too many books focus on China's history, politics, foreign relations, etc. This work, however, allows the reader to really "feel" what it is like to live as someone who has just landed, unprepared, and is thrown into the wild new world of emerging Beijing.
Mah has an excellent knack for pulling in the reader. This books is one of those reads that makes me pass up on heading out of my house just so I can read another chapter. The author's descriptions of sights, smells, and people is spot on. You can't get a better understanding of what's it's like in Beijing!
The recipes leave your mouth watering and the story as a whole is fun. The main character is hilarious and her experiences as a transplanted New Yorker are fantastic. I think this should be required reading for anyone heading to China or anyone who wants to know what it's like to live overseas.
I really liked this book and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading about food, travel, being a first generation American, and young people trying to find their way in their career and love life.
Ann Mah nails the expat experience and complicated family relationships. Her descriptions of what Isabelle ate in China has me craving every spice and crunch and swallow.
Kitchen Chinese was the perfect end of summer read.
While the use of food helps to enliven the storyline, it offers outstanding insight into an aspect of Chinese culture that is as diverse and complex as Mah's characters. The descriptions of the various dishes are presented like an endless buffet, taking the reader on a culinary journey throughout the various regions of the country. I was impressed to see several personal, yet lesser known, favorites mentioned like jianbing and Yunnan cheese. BE WARNED: If you've ever experienced Chinese cuisine in China, reading the descriptions in this book will probably convince you to return sooner than anticipated.
The author's modest inclusion of pinyin (phonetic Chinese) will certainly serve as a refresher for anyone who has tried using it, but is not overused in a way that would seem threatening to someone who hasn't. While the novel is written from a female perspective, it remains approachable to all readers and is actually quite insightful. There is a gentle humor throughout the book that helps carry the flow of the story and humanize the characters. While there were a few aspects of the plot that stretched the imagination, this never distracted from the overall reading enjoyment.
I look forward to seeing where Ann Mah's promising literary career takes her. Perhaps her next novel could be based at "See Ahnse Po"...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was interesting and a fun read! I just wanted Isabel to get everything right with the right guy finally.Published 3 days ago by Claudia Lyon
Ann Mah writes with a warmth that will envelop anyone who love loves food, words, and romance. A delicious read!Published 15 days ago by Jamie
Enjoyed the humor...The clandestine taste of China ..And the characters.. Even the Hollywood ending .can I Look forward to book 2...?Published 16 days ago by dumbo
A good book on many levels. (Glad I recognized her name from Kristin Espinasses's blog.)Published 16 days ago by Kirk Colvin
Having read other work by Ann Mah, I really wanted to like this book. Unfortunately, I gave up after the first 90-some pages because the story felt predictable and the book was... Read morePublished 3 months ago by AudreyGolightly
I liked the book, as someone who is Asian American, visited Beijing, and familiar with Chinese cuisine. It was poignant and observant... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Christopher L. Lee
To me it is too much LOVE story, and not enough FOOD story.
It had my attention for the first 50 pages or so, and lost me quickly. Read more
Author was whiny. I like the subject matter but by the end couldn't stand the author's voice. She has done better.Published 9 months ago by Reviewer XYZ
Interesting story as read from the Greek version . A story describing the life of a woman who was fired from her job in USA and left her country to visit her sister in China... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Zach Liang