‘A brilliant, passionate and spellbinding tour de force’ Claudia Roden
‘Fuchsia Dunlop is one of the world’s best writers on Chinese food’ Ken Hom CBE
The epic tale of the world’s most sophisticated gastronomic culture, told through a banquet of thirty Chinese dishes
Chinese was the earliest truly global cuisine. When the first Chinese labourers began to sojourn and settle abroad, restaurants appeared in their wake. Yet Chinese food has the curious distinction of being both one of the world’s best-loved culinary traditions and one of the least understood. For more than a century, the overwhelming dominance of a simplified form of Cantonese cooking ensured that few foreigners experienced anything of its richness and sophistication – but today that is beginning to change.
In this book, the James Beard Award-winning cook and writer Fuchsia Dunlop explores the history, philosophy and techniques of China’s rich and ancient culinary culture. Each chapter examines a classic dish, from mapo tofu to Dongpo pork, knife-scraped noodles to braised pomelo pith, to reveal a singular aspect of Chinese gastronomy, whether it’s the importance of the soybean, the lure of exotic ingredients or the history of Buddhist vegetarian cuisine. Meeting local food producers, chefs, gourmets and home cooks as she tastes her way across the country, Fuchsia invites readers to join her on an unforgettable journey into Chinese food as it is made, cooked, eaten and considered in its homeland.
Weaving together historical scholarship, mouth-watering descriptions of food and on-the-ground research conducted over the course of three decades, Invitation to a Banquet is a lively, landmark tribute to the pleasures and mysteries of Chinese cuisine.