Chinese cuisine is as rich and diverse as China itself. Anything from seafood and sour fish to pork and sweet vegetables, and naturally—rice—you can expect some flavor when it comes to the Chinese kitchen. According to writer and cook Fuchsia Dunlop, Chinese cuisine is both very ancient and very contemporary, and it’s this paradox that makes it so interesting.
Considered the Western world’s most influential writer on regional Chinese, Dunlop’s articles and recipes have appeared in publications such as The Financial Times and The New Yorker, and she’s dedicated five books to this cuisine including the autobiographical Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper.
The first westerner to train as a chef at the Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine in Chengdu, Dunlop also leads expert culinary tours of China (at least when traveling is possible), and is considered somewhat of an authority on the subject.
“China really was the original foodie culture, and people over the centuries have written about food,” she stated in an interview with Eater. According to Dunlop, cookbooks are part of Chinese history, and there is even a 12th century cookbook by a man called Lin Hong. “It’s very esoteric, lyrically titled dishes, foraged ingredients, an interest in closeness to nature,” she explained.
Dunlop’s recent book, Land of Fish and Rice: Recipes from the Culinary Heart of China, is an introduction to the food and flavors of Shanghai and the Lower Yangtze or Jiangnan region, and has won the UK Guild of Food Writers Cookbook of the Year Award and the Andre Simon Food Book Award.
The book includes classic dishes such as Beggar’s Chicken and sumptuous Dongpo Pork, as well as fresh, simple recipes such as Clear-Steamed Sea Bass and Fresh Soybeans with Pickled Greens.
You can purchase it on Amazon or follow her on Instagram for more: