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Land of Fish and Rice: Recipes from the Culinary Heart of China

Land of Fish and Rice: Recipes from the Culinary Heart of China

by Fuchsia Dunlop

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“Fuchsia Dunlop . . . has done more to explain real Chinese cooking to non-Chinese cooks than anyone.” —Julia Moskin, New York Times
The lower Yangtze region, or Jiangnan, with its modern capital Shanghai, has been known since ancient times as a “land of fish and rice.” For centuries, local cooks have harvested the bounty of its lakes,


“Fuchsia Dunlop . . . has done more to explain real Chinese cooking to non-Chinese cooks than anyone.” —Julia Moskin, New York Times
The lower Yangtze region, or Jiangnan, with its modern capital Shanghai, has been known since ancient times as a “land of fish and rice.” For centuries, local cooks have harvested the bounty of its lakes, rivers, fields, and mountains to create a cuisine renowned for its delicacy and beauty. In Land of Fish and Rice, Fuchsia Dunlop draws on years of study and exploration to present the recipes, techniques, and ingredients of the Jiangnan kitchen. You will be inspired to try classic dishes such as Beggar’s Chicken and sumptuous Dongpo Pork, as well as fresh, simple recipes such as Clear-Steamed Sea Bass and Fresh Soybeans with Pickled Greens. Evocatively written and featuring stunning recipe photography, this is an important new work celebrating one of China’s most fascinating culinary regions.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Dunlop (Every Grain of Rice), a London-based food and travel journalist and the recipient of multiple James Beard Awards, continues her love affair with Chinese cooking in an exploration of the Jiangnan region. In this “culinary heart of China” along the lower Yangtze near Shanghai, abundant resources from fertile valleys and waters produce a “gentle way of life and glorious cuisine” and a refined “seductive harmony of tastes.” Dunlop selects 150 recipes from home and restaurant kitchens, street vendors, foragers, and farmers that feature traditional courses: appetizers, meat mains, poultry, eggs, seafood, tofu, and vegetables. Soups, rice, noodles, dumplings, along with snacks, sweet dishes, and drinks are included. There are foundation recipes for stocks and bun dough and tips for menu planning, pantry ingredients, tools, and techniques. While home cooks might find sourcing chrysanthemum leaves, lotus roots, or lily bulbs a challenge, the majority of dishes translate simply for the home cook. Her dishes will certainly impress: Tofu Ribbons, a comforting mushroom, pork, and wheat noodle dish; stir-fried sweet potato noodles; and the extravagant leaf and mud-wrapped Beggar’s Chicken entrée. Jiangnan flavors, tamer than other regions’, are achieved with a limited range of seasonings yet are perfectly balanced and attractive to modern adherents of clean eating, Dunlop argues. The Jiangnan is an exquisite “crucible of Chinese gastronomy,” and Dunlop’s scholarly homage to the region will captivate the culinary imagination. (Oct.)
author of The Fat Duck Cookbook Blumenthal
“Fuchsia has a rare ability to convey an encyclopedic knowledge of Chinese cuisine in a compelling and totally delicious way.”
Alice Waters
“Through gifted storytelling and stunning photographs, Fuchsia Dunlop highlights a rich tradition of seasonality and sustainability. Her simple and delicious flavors from the southern Yangtze inspire me and surely will inspire a new generation of cooks.”
Harold McGee
“In Land of Fish and Rice Fuchsia Dunlop introduces us to the little-known region south of the Yangtze River, its long and deep influence on Chinese gastronomy, and its surprisingly subtle, refreshing flavors. Land of Fish and Rice is authoritative and absorbing, full of insight, enticing recipes, and infectious delight in the pleasures of the table.”
Grace Young
“Fuchsia Dunlop’s homage to Jiangnan cooking is destined to be a classic. She takes us on a rare insider’s culinary odyssey through the Lower Yangtze region sharing its rich culinary traditions. Unusual specialties like chrysanthemum leaves with pine nuts, Buddhist vegetarian tofu rolls, and fresh clam custard are gathered from years of travel and research. This is a major contribution to our understanding of Chinese cuisine. The exquisite photography is an added bonus.”
Cecilia Chiang
“This beautiful book spoke to me personally. My parents were from “South of the Yangtze” and just reading the recipes evoked long lost smell and taste memories that brought tears to my eyes. Fuchsia has eloquently but simply captured the rich cuisine of a region unfamiliar to most Westerners.”
J. Kenji López-Alt
“In Land of Fish and Rice, Fuchsia distills her characteristic in-depth studies (she's a cook who learns by doing) intoeasy-going and understated prose and inspiringly simple recipes that really work.”
Claudia Roden
“This is an enthralling book. Fuchsia Dunlop has fallen in love with Jiangnan, and her book makes us fall in love too.”
New York Times--Best Cookbooks of Fall 2016
“Cookbooks turn up every few years with the promise of an everyday mastery of Chinese cuisine. Their mark is fleeting, and cooks happily return to their manila envelopes of takeout menus. This year may be different. . . . For her latest, Ms. Dunlop, a British cook and food writer who has been studying Chinese cooking since the mid-1990s, dives deep into the balanced flavors of Jiangnan. These are recipes to bring out the optimal flavors of the ingredients, and Ms. Dunlop’s approachable instructions bring readers closer to success.”
Wall Street Journal--Featured in 2016 Holiday Gift Guide
“Land of Fish and Rice by the revered British pro Fuchsia Dunlop is a focused exploration of the food of Jiangnan, an area famous among Chinese for its subtle cuisine — and now revealed to us.”
Samuel Fromartz - The Washington Post
“An exquisite and marvelously detailed work. With many of these dishes, their brilliance lies in their minimalism. So far, every recipe I’ve tried consists of relatively few ingredients,
which, when combined, sparkle with flavour.”
Eat Your Books
“Another masterpiece from one of my favorite authors. Dunlop is a gifted writer with intriguing recipes that work.
I have every one ofher titlesand if the woman wrote a book about how to stir a pot of water, I would buy it. Gorgeous photographs, haunting narrative, and recipes you will not find anywhere else. . . this author is a treasure.”
Susan T. Chang - The Level Teaspoon Podcast
“Dunlop has a lively prose style that makes you just wanna go, like, smack a cucumber or take apart a duck with a cleaver. . . . Spectacular.”
Diane Leach - Popmatters.com
“Land of Fish and Ricecloses on a strikingly humble note, with Dunlop thanking her Chinese friends for their help, adding she “could never do justice to their extraordinary culinary tradition.” Fortunately for us, she is mistaken.”
Los Angeles Times
“Dunlop’s prose is engaging and informative, and the recipes she chooses encompass the complex and the happily simple. . . . You will learn much about regional Chinese food, and you will want to make these recipes as soon as reasonably possible.”
San Francisco Chronicle--Favorite Cookbooks from 2016
“Dunlop shines a spotlight on the Jiangnan region. . . a worthy addition to a home cook’s collection.”
Washington Post--31 Best Cookbooks of 2016
“You can’t find a Chinese food cookbook with shorter ingredients lists than this one has —
a welcome surprise for the genre.”
Library Journal
In a beautiful cookbook-meets-travelog, veteran food writer Dunlop (Every Grain of Rice) explores the distinctive cuisine of China's Lower Yangtze region. After introducing the area's history and culinary culture, she features colorful and fragrant dishes such as lotus root stuffed with glutinous rice, eight-treasure stuffed calabash duck, Zhoushan fish chowder, and vegetarian "eels" (strips of dried shiitake mushroom) in a sweet-and-sour sauce. Novice cooks and picky eaters will need some coaxing to try these recipes, but those who do will discover enticing new tastes. VERDICT More specific in scope than Carolyn Phillips's All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China, this cookbook will appeal to lovers of Chinese food, researchers, and adventurous cooks.

Product Details

Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.70(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Fuchsia Dunlop has appeared on NPR’s “All Things Considered,”
“Science Friday,” and “America’s Test Kitchen Radio,” and is a regular contributor to publications including the Financial Times,
Saveur, the Wall Street Journal, Lucky Peach, and The New Yorker.
She trained as a chef in China and has won four James Beard
Awards for her writing about Chinese food. She lives in London.

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