This might have been the hardest “best cookbooks” list to compile, ever.
Did you know that there are more than 30 styles of Chinese cookery?
To get our list, we had to make some hard choices but it was definitely worth it.
Chinese food is complex and exciting and these cookbooks capture the absolute essence of it.
Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking by Eileen Yin Fei Lo
Eileen is certainly a master Chinese chef and here they bring you a tight, compact tour of Chinese cookery in around 100 recipes.
The photography is stunning and really helps to set the location of each dish and to lay out everything in easy to follow steps.
Complete Chinese Cookbook by Ken Hom
Ken may be the most famous Chinese chef in the Western world and deservedly so, he’s an amazing teacher of all things Chinese-food related.
One thing he wants to emphasize is that, contrary to popular belief, Chinese food is very healthy with a lot of fresh vegetables and very little fat.
Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking by Fuchsia Dunlop
Fuchsia Dunlop fell in love with Chinese food as a child and then went to live in China to learn how to make the most authentic dishes.
She was the only foreigner to study at the Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine and this is the summary of what she learned while she was there.
It’s an amazing tribute to this spicy, peppery, flavorsome corner of China.
Essential Wok Cookbook: A Simple Chinese Cookbook for Stir-Fry, Dim Sum and Other Restaurant Favorites by Naomi Imatome-Yun
If you ask people to name a Chinese cooking instrument, nearly all of them are going to say “the wok” and it’s much more than a frying pan.
Learning to make healthy, fresh and tasty meals in a wok is an artform in its own right and Naomi Imatome-Yun is the best possible instructor for it.
Essential Chinese Cooking: Authentic Chinese Recipes Broken Down into Easy Techniques by Jeremy Pang and Martin Poole
Jeremy Pang is one of the most “straight to the point” Chinese cooks that we’ve ever encountered and this book aims to capture the essence of traditional Chinese cookery.
The six chapters each focus on a single set of techniques that allow you to make amazing dishes, quickly in the comfort of your home.
China: The Cookbook by Kei Lum Chan
This beast of a book contains more than 650 recipes for the home Chinese kitchen and it’s broken down into individual meal themes (from appetizers to desserts).
The authors are among the world’s leading authorities on Chinese cuisine and if you only intend to buy one book on China’s food, this should be it, in fact, it’s a very close contender for our best 40 cookbooks of all time.
Xi’an Famous Foods: The Cuisine of Western China from New York’s Favorite Noodle Shop by Jason Wang and Jenny Huang
Anthony Bourdain was a huge fan of Jason Wang’s New York noodle ship and it is famous for bringing classic China to the West.
The recipes in this book all originate in Xi’an with Jason’s family and they are super tasty and easy to prepare.
We like the section for kids – it’s nice to see a cookbook cater to the whole family.
All Under Heaven: Recipes From The 35 Cuisines Of China by Carolyn Phillips
OK, so we cheated.
The only way to get all the different styles of Chinese cuisine into this list was to let Carolyn Phillps tackle this mammoth task.
In fact, it’s so comprehensive that even Chinese nationals turn to this book to bone up their techniques!
Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking by Fuchsia Dunlop
Once she’d finished in Sichuan, Fuschia Dunlop didn’t return home, instead she took on the cuisine South of the Yangtze and this book is another superlative work.
As you might expect from the title, there’s a strong focus on the Chinese staple, rice, here.
Hunan: A Lifetime of Secrets From Mr. Peng’s Chinese Kitchen by Mr. Peng
Mr. Peng’s restaurant is in London but he’s always focused on the Hunan province and its cuisine.
The 70 recipes in this book are meant to cater for smaller, more intimate occasions and they’re amazing.
Final Thoughts On Chinese Cookbooks
There’s more than enough in these cookbooks to last a lifetime.
Chinese food is so varied that you’ll never get bored of cooking it or learning about it.
If you’ve enjoyed these cookbooks you might also appreciate these 9 awesome Chinese food recipes or these 101 fortune cookie sayings too.