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by: Martin Yan

San Francisco CA: KQED Books And Tapes 1997, $18.95, Paperback
ISBN: 0-912333-32-4

Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Spring Volume: 1998 Issue: 5(1) page(s): 21

This volume of recipes, seen on Public Television's progam Yan Can Cook, features favorite recipes from Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Japan. Heartfelt respect is given to their traditions, markets, restaurants, homes, and culinary creations. Martin Yan, the popular TV culinary chef and multiple cookbook author, uses this book to passionately educate about China and its neighbors.

After a short introduction and several pages about tools, techniques, and tips, tour the countries through more than one hundred fifty recipes with step-by-step instructions on how to make them. Learn other pertinent and intriguing information about the cultures and cuisines.

In Hong Kong, glean impressions of one of his favorite cities, learn about China's regional culinary influences (Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, and Sichuan), and about dim sum also known as yum cha. In Singapore, read of foods at the crossroads of Asia. In Malaysia, learn about diverse and complex culinary creations with roots in a cultural mix. In what Yan called the Latin Quarter of Asia, the Philippines, meet indigenous Malay foods mixed with Spanish, Muslim, and Chinese overtones. And in Japan, see art and islands mix with Zen Buddhism's less-is-more philosophy. See it in their sushi, sashimi, and sukiyaki.

Every recipe has an ingredient list, a section called 'Getting Ready' and another called 'Cooking.' Sidebars discuss them and provide interesting helpful shopping, historical, and culinary hints. Many of the recipes have full-color pictures. Smaller photos of local sites set the cultural stage.

The book ends with a glossary of Asian ingredietns, unusual ones with color photographs, also mail-order sources, and a cross-referenced index. And, there is information about the author, his generous sponsors who made the television series possible, and appropriate ackowledgements and thanks.

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