CHINESE MENU – Grace Lin – Unlock Culinary Secrets!

A scrumptious array of historical facts and narratives.

By Grace Lin ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 12, 2023

Exploring the hidden histories, fantastical folklore, and delicious details of American Chinese cuisine, Lin takes readers on a culinary journey. From appetizers and soups to chef’s specials and desserts, the stories behind the most famous dishes of American Chinese restaurant menus are revealed. Each section begins with a brief introduction, with first-person narration providing context through personal anecdotes and historical facts. Then it’s time to feast on a variety of wondrous, romantic, and sometimes grotesque tales that trace the origins of rice, wontons, Peking duck, and more.

Although some of the stories contain references to dark or mature topics, thoughtful, age-appropriate commentary ensures a balanced approach. The volume is beautifully illustrated, with contemporary images in full color and illustrations of the stories in limited palettes, highlighting the distinction between the past and the present. Many tales take place in dynastic China, but stories like “General Tso’s Chicken” and “Chop Suey” emphasize the truly American natures of these dishes. Lin’s conversational asides and the book’s meticulous supporting materials, including a timeline and extensive endnotes, make it easy for readers to navigate the vast ground covered, which extends from 7000 BCE to the 1950s. The illustrations and tone suggest a young readership, but there’s something for readers and eaters of all ages.

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Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023
ISBN: 9780316486002

Page Count: 288
Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2023