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Reading about Food, Learning about Culture: calling Fodorite Foodies

Reading about Food, Learning about Culture: calling Fodorite Foodies

Jan 30th, 2009, 08:26 AM
  #1  
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Reading about Food, Learning about Culture: calling Fodorite Foodies

I am going to hungrily break away from the earlier LOST ON PLANET CHINA thread started by Gpanda with some sparkling reading recommendations from ekscrunchy. Many Fodorites write vivid and evocative accounts of their dining experiences in Asia so I am hoping that there is an interest in this topic and a vein of expertise waiting to be tapped.

Two of the books ekscrunchy recommended -- Fuchsia Dunlop's SHARK'S FIN SOUP AND SICHUAN PEPPER: A SWEET-SOUR MEMOIR OF EATING IN CHINA, and Jen Lin Liu's SERVE THE PEOPLE: A STIR-FRIED JOURNEY THROUGH CHINA were exuberant good fun to read. They also serve up a good deal of insight on a culture in transition.

I have a new-found appreciation for how meditations on food -- how people grow food/shop, cook, dine, and what they eat -- can provide an introduction to another culture that is both stimulating and enjoyable.

I suspect that many of you have long known this and might be able to recommend other such books. I hope so. I would like to keep reading about Chinese cuisine. Because we enjoy Vietnamese and Thai food even more, I would be thrilled to learn of any food memoirs from those cultures. The goal is less to develop kitchen skills than it is to learn about culture through this focus.

Hoping for a multi-course recommendation...
marya_ is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 11:20 AM
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Cecilia Chiang's THE SEVENTH DAUGHTER -- My culinary journey from Beijing to San Francisco, foreword by Alice Waters
Shanghainese is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 11:40 AM
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Just looked up some reviews on-line and it looks quite delightful. Looking forward to reading it when it arrives through inter-library loan. Thanks!
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Jan 30th, 2009, 11:40 AM
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This book, by Camilla's PB's son, has a long chapter on eating in Laos; I liked the book quite a bit:



http://tinyurl.com/c3b55w

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Jan 30th, 2009, 12:18 PM
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Oh, good, and thanks -- the ekscrunchy syllabus has been a big success. I am now reading Gifford's CHINA ROAD which is another winner.
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Jan 30th, 2009, 12:32 PM
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CHINA ROAD is fabulous.
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Jan 30th, 2009, 12:45 PM
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Isn't it?

I also enthusiastically recommend John Pomfret's CHINESE LESSONS. LOST ON PLANET CHINA is lots of fun and its humor offers a safety valve for the frustrations that can build up when you are a westerner trying to get by in China, but Pomfret, Gifford and Peter Hessler are wonderful guides to understanding the country and culture.
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Jan 30th, 2009, 12:57 PM
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OK, just to spur on the economy, I ordered Serve The People and the Sharks Fin Soup. I also ordered China Road. Imagine the consequences if I don't like any of these!
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Jan 30th, 2009, 01:09 PM
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Uh Oh!!! As if I don't have enough to worry about here!!!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 01:34 PM
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I'm making a list of books to order... buy Amazon stock!
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Jan 30th, 2009, 03:41 PM
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wj1
 
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A wonderful series of food books are the Lonely Planet World Food series. Each book is based on one country. Unfortunately, Lonely Planet stopped publishing the series but it is still possible to purchase copies on Amazon and Ebay. When I found out that they stopped publishing them, I went on a buying rampage and bought about 10. The Vietnam book was wonderful. The book on India which I'm finishing up before we leave for India next Tuesday (woo hoo!) is also quite good. France was a bit of a bore. So you might want to check them out.
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Jan 31st, 2009, 10:57 AM
  #12  
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OK, so far I have:

1. Cecilia Chiang's THE SEVENTH DAUGHTER
2. Tom Parker Bowles' THE YEAR OF EATING DANGEROUSLY
3. selective LONELY PLANET WORLD FOOD series books (including Vietnam)

Any more ideas?
marya_ is offline  
Jan 31st, 2009, 03:24 PM
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There's a series of essay books called "Traveler's Tales" which I really enjoy.
I have one called simply, "Food" and another called "The Adventures of Food". Both encompass more than just Asia.
I've also read the "Traveler's Tales Thailand" which is very good too, though not only about food.
http://www.amazon.com/Travelers-Tale...3447228&sr=8-1
Looks like they have one for China too.
Kristina is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 03:41 AM
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Marya:

I can recommend several books that include chapters on eating in various countries. But since I read them a while ago and do not have them at home,I cannot remember if they include chapters on China or SE Asia.

But each of these contains excellent writing on various foods:

THE MAN WHO ATE EVERYTHING by Jeffrey Steingarten

DEVIL'S PICNIC by Taras Grescoe

COOK'S TOUR by Anthony Bourdain

NO RESERVATIONS by Anthony Bourdain

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DINNERS Bill and Cheryl Jamison (writing in this one a bit less good than the others but enjoyable just the same; does contain sections about Asia)

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Feb 1st, 2009, 08:09 AM
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Wonderful! I haven't read any of the books cited in the last two posts so this is very helpful. Thanks.



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Feb 16th, 2009, 04:27 AM
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I have just begun this boof from a few years ago; there is just a little bit of food talk so far but it is very funny and I think those with a good sense of humor here (which just about covers the whole group) may enjoy:


THE END OF ELSEWHERE: Travels Among the Tourists by Taras Grescoe


http://tinyurl.com/bn8p72
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