best authentic chinese cookbooks

Best and Authentic Chinese cookbooks to learn different styles: best dim sum, szechuan, classic cookbooks, regional Chinese cuisine

Food is the God of the People“. Believe it or not, the Chinese language has a 2000 years old saying which goes like that and this is how important good food is in China.

Through different waves of diasporas, Chinese people brought along such sumptuous culinary tradition, spreading it to all four corners of the Globe.

Chinese cooks had to adapt their dishes to local tastes and ingredients and this is how iconic Chinese restaurant favorites like almond chicken and Chop Suey were born.

But in recent times, authentic Chinese food options spread like wildfire: hotpot, Szechuan and North West restaurants now dot most major world cities.

This list of best Chinese cookbooks takes it to the next level: how about making authentic Chinese food yourself?

Its first section is about Chinese cuisine in general, the second deals with regional cuisines and the third is on Dim Sum because we know you love them.

Disclosure: Some of our articles contain affiliate links (as an Amazon affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases).

Chinese Cuisine in General

best authentic chinese cookbooks

Chinese Cuisine (English and Traditional Chinese Edition)

by Huang Su Huei, 1983

The first book on our list is from Huang Su-Huei, who also authored “Chinese Snacks” and “Chinese Rice and Noodles”.

It has a wide range of popular Chinese dishes and also teaches about utensils, seasonings, and cooking methods.

Despite being quite vintage (first printed in 1983), its simple writing and clear pictures make it a real classic and can be considered a good introduction to the iconic Wei Chuan cookbooks.

Chinese Street Food: Small Bites, Classic Recipes, and Harrowing Tales Across the Middle Kingdom

by Howie Southworth, 2018

In China, for a few bucks and minutes, you can enjoy the pleasures of Street Food: a world of flavors, textures, and fragrances.

The authors, while living there, took wonderful pictures of this heritage and added detailed recipes so you can make them on your own.

From ubiquitous youtiao and jiaozi to lesser-known shaobing and sticky rice fritters, you will entertain your friends with easy and delicious recipes and the stories they tell.

All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China

by Carolyn Phillips, 2016

This ambitious, thick book gathers many authentic Chinese recipes, grouping them into 35 local traditions.

Carolyn Phillips lived in China for years before starting this work. The book has no photos, but the drawings by the author explain techniques, ingredients, and utensils better than words.

It can be considered an encyclopedia of Chinese cuisine, one of the best Chinese cookbooks to have in the kitchen when you expect special guests. 

Regional Chinese Cuisines

best authentic regional chinese cookbooks
Dan Dan Noodles from Sichuan Region

My Shanghai: Recipes and Stories from a City on the Water

by Betty Liu, 2021

100 classic recipes from Shanghainese tradition pictured in 150 color photographs are only some of the features of this book.

Its author, whose family is Shanghainese, added sections more typical of a travelogue or a cultural study than of a cookbook and this gives the book an outstanding depth.

It is organized by season, reflecting the spirit of authentic Shanghai cuisine: conscious about time cycles and passed on generation after generation.

The Food of Sichuan

by Fuchsia Dunlop, 2019

In the world of food writers, Fuchsia Dunlop is already a celebrity for her writing and photography skills paired with profound knowledge of Szechuan cuisine, which she mastered in the Region’s foremost cooking school.

Through 200 recipes, you will discover spicy is only one of the 23 flavors of Szechuan food, which counts no less than 56 cooking techniques!

One of the best Chinese cookbooks on regional cuisines.

Xi’an Famous Foods: The Cuisine of Western China, from New York’s Favorite Noodle Shop

by Jason Wang, 2020

Northwest China has been a border region for centuries and all its major cities used to be commercial posts along the Silk road.

Thus, it is no wonder that its Muslim-influenced cuisine often features flavors typical of Central Asia. Many of the dishes are surprisingly easy to make.

The author of this book is Xi’an native Jason Wang, founder of a popular USA restaurant chain specialized in food of Western China. 

Cooking South of the Clouds: Recipes and Stories from China’s Yunnan Province

by Georgia Freedman, 2018

Yunnan province is most famous for its beautiful landscapes and unique ethnic mosaic, but its culinary tradition also deserves praise.

Hardly known outside China, it reflects its cultural and geographic diversity: Tibetan momos, Dai lime chicken, and crossing the bridge noodles are just some of the beautifully illustrated recipes you will find in this book.

Please note some of the ingredients listed in the book might be a little hard to find. 

The Best Dim Sum Cookbooks

The Best Dim Sum Cookbooks

Dim Sum: The Art of Chinese Tea Lunch: A Cookbook

by Ellen Leong Blonder, 2002

This artsy cookbook has no photos: instead, all the recipes are illustrated by the author’s watercolor paintings, which explain kneading, filling, and wrapping wonderfully.

Siu Mai and Shrimp Har Gow will have no secret anymore and you will also get an insight into the ancient ritual of Yum Cha, of which Dim Sum is a part.

It also lists many vegetarian alternatives to classic meat-based dishes. Sweet tooth-friendly

Dim Sum

by Rhoda Yee

First printed in 1978, this is the oldest book on the list, but we think it’s one of the best Chinese cookbooks on Dim Sum.

You’ll love its classic preparations, which require basic tools and common ingredients. Most recipes include a legend about the dish’s origins and a black and white photo.

Yes, black and white! It’s a no-frills, practice-oriented cooking book, not a fancy glossy paper one.

Read more about cooking books

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