Invitation to a Banquet

Invitation to a Banquet

The Story of Chinese Food

Summary

Chinese was the earliest truly global cuisine. When the first Chinese labourers began to sojourn and settle abroad, restaurants appeared in their wake. Yet Chinese food has the curious distinction of being both one of the world's best-loved culinary traditions and one of the least understood. For more than a century, the overwhelming dominance of a simplified form of Cantonese cooking ensured that few foreigners experienced anything of its richness and sophistication - but today that is beginning to change.

In this book, the James Beard Award-winning cook and writer Fuchsia Dunlop explores the history, philosophy and techniques of China's rich and ancient culinary culture. Each chapter examines a classic dish, from mapo tofu to Dongpo pork, knife-scraped noodles to braised pomelo pith, to reveal a singular aspect of Chinese gastronomy, whether it's the importance of the soybean, the lure of exotic ingredients or the history of Buddhist vegetarian cuisine. Meeting local food producers, chefs, gourmets and home cooks as she tastes her way across the country, Fuchsia invites readers to join her on an unforgettable journey into Chinese food as it is made, cooked, eaten and considered in its homeland.

Weaving together historical scholarship, mouth-watering descriptions of food and on-the-ground research conducted over the course of three decades, Invitation to a Banquet is a lively, landmark tribute to the pleasures and mysteries of Chinese cuisine.

Reviews

  • A brilliant, passionate and spellbinding tour de force
    Claudia Roden

About the author

Fuchsia Dunlop

Fuchsia Dunlop was the first Westerner to train as a chef at the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine, and has been travelling around China, researching and cooking Chinese food, for some 30 years. Her award-winning and bestselling books include The Food of Sichuan, Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper, Every Grain of Rice and Land of Fish and Rice, several of which are now published in translation in China. Based in London, she speaks, reads and writes Chinese.
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