Feeding the Dragon – A culinary travelogue through China with recipes
By Mary Kate Tate and Nate Tate. © 2011 A (western, not Chinese) sister and brother team.
The first thing I do when looking at a book such as this is to look at the photographs. This one does not disappoint. The beautiful photos are a mix of both history and modernity.
Chapters are divided by region – Beijing, Hong Kong, Yunnan, Tibet etc. Each begins with a description of the area and personal stories from the authors. There is lots of history included. I particularly liked the piece on “dog on and off the menu”. Dog meat = gou rou. It is believed to be medicinal. Contrary to what westerners might believe, it is truly not that common in China. There are no recipes for dog in the book.
A lot of the recipes would be good for bentos. I have several that I have bookmarked to try, either for dinners or in smaller portions for my lunches.
Stir-fry spinach with Oyster Sauce (Beijing)
Stir-fried Potatoes and Peppers (Beijing)
Radish and Baby Corn Quick Pickles (Fujan)
Corn and Pine Nut Stir Fry (Fujan)
Lemongrass Chicken Wings (Yunnan)
Pineapple Rice (Yunnan)
Chicken Spring Rolls (Hong Kong)
Tibetian Curry Potatoes (Tibet)
In additional to traditional recipes, such as Won Ton Soup and various stir fries, there are also creative recipes that use traditional ingredients in new ways, such as the Lychee Martini. I must try that!
There are a lot of descriptions and how-to methods in the back of the book. There are also sample menus. The glossary of ingredients is extensive.
The book is a great mix of recipes, stories and photos. There are two little things I would change about the book. I would have liked captions to the photos. Also, in addition to the Chinese characters in the recipe titles, I would have liked to know the phonetic, English pronunciations of each as well.