Martin Yan's Chinatown Cooking: 200 Traditional Recipes from 11 Chinatowns Around the World


When it comes to Chinese cooking, no one has as much culinary talent and encyclopedic knowledge as Martin Yan. That talent and knowledge are presented here in Martin Yan's Chinatown Cooking, a companion volume to his new public television series.

Martin takes you on an unforgettable culinary journey through the gates of eleven Chinatowns around the world. Visit the streets, shops, homes, and restaurants you would never experience without Martin as your guide. From London to San ...

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When it comes to Chinese cooking, no one has as much culinary talent and encyclopedic knowledge as Martin Yan. That talent and knowledge are presented here in Martin Yan's Chinatown Cooking, a companion volume to his new public television series.

Martin takes you on an unforgettable culinary journey through the gates of eleven Chinatowns around the world. Visit the streets, shops, homes, and restaurants you would never experience without Martin as your guide. From London to San Francisco to Yokohama, Martin introduces shopkeepers, chefs, and home cooks who, for the first time, share their cooking secrets. And as you travel the globe with Martin, you'll discover how Chinese food is different in Macau, Singapore, and Sydney.

Each of the eleven cities is featured along with a list of Martin's favorite restaurants and his favorite dishes and house specialties. Learn Martin's tips for ordering in Chinese restaurants and dim sum parlors. Discover how Chinese food and culture are inextricably linked, as Martin explains the significance of traditional festivals and their accompanying symbolic foods.

Martin Yan's Chinatown Cooking has stunning full-color photography throughout and recipes that make it easy for cooks to create more than two hundred dishes at home, from takeout favorites such as Kung Pao Chicken to restaurant classics such as Steamed Whole Fish with Ginger and Green Onions. Exotic-sounding recipes like Good Fortune Fish Chowder, Flower Drum Crab Baked in the Shell, and Double Harmony Meatballs in Sweet and Sour Sauce are made easy. Don't live near a Chinatown? Try your hand at making your own Roast Duck, Char Siu (barbecued pork), and Gin Doi (sweet sesame balls with duck). Martin makes the exotic familiar by offering tips on unfamiliar ingredients and specific techniques in combination with Chinatown history and culture.

Whether you end up cooking a dish at home or enjoying it in your nearest Chinatown neighborhood, Martin teaches you all you need to know about Chinese cuisine and culture. Travel with Martin Yan through a world of Chinatowns and satisfy your taste for adventure with Martin Yan's Chinatown Cooking.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
From San Francisco to Singapore, from New York City to Yokohama, Chinatowns flourish worldwide. By one count, 72 cities can boast of these abundant and appetizing enclaves. Bestselling cookbook author Martin Yan has culled 200 savory traditional recipes from Chinatowns around the globe. The dishes include Steamed Whole Fish with Ginger and Scallions and restaurant favorites like Kung Pao Chicken.
Publishers Weekly
Taking the reader on a tour of the world's great Chinatowns, Yan (Martin Yan's Asian Favorites) intersperses the recipes with short histories and photos. He visits 11 Chinatowns in seven countries-including the five Chinatowns of Toronto, New York's 350,000-person Chinatown, and the old Chinatown of Melbourne-and intersperses panels on traditions and philosophies with discussions of the locales and recipes. The detailed and well-explained recipes are sandwiched between a full section on Equipment and Techniques and the Chinese Pantry, and are divided into chapters from Dim Sum, through Seafood and Poultry to Desserts. Yan often draws on inspiration from other well-known chefs such as Sam Choy, who provides several recipes, including the simple and flavorful Lu'au Stew. While some recipes are classics, such as Broccoli Beef and Kung Pao Chicken, others blend traditional dishes with local ingredients for true Asian fusion cooking (Macau's Minchee Minced Pork, is Portuguese-inspired). Helpfully, Yan also adds sidebars containing tips such as "Cracking Crabs" and "Toasting," and makes suggestions for combining "Chinese Food and Wine." The resulting book-glossy and attractively laid out with 200 full-color photos-is as beautiful to look at as it is instructional to the cook. (Nov.) Forecast: With Child's support as well as the exposure through Yan's new PBS series, this book should be well promoted and well received. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060084752
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/28/2002
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

Martin Yan is the author of ten bestselling cookbooks, including Martin Yan's Feast: The Best of Yon Can Cook, Chinese Cooking for Dummies, and Martin Yan's Asian Favorites, and is the host of a new public television series, Martin Yan's Chinatowns. Martin is also a popular speaker and writer on food trends and addresses conferences, food industry events, panels, culinary functions, and schools. He lives near San Francisco, California.

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First Chapter

Mushrooms and Baby Bok Choy With Fried Garlic

Serves 4 as part of a multicourse meal

I can't get enough of mushrooms. With so many varieties and different textures and flavors I'm never bored. I use the common button mushroom, but once you taste this, you won't find those mushrooms so common.

The master chefs at Maple Pepper Garden Restaurant in Toronto taught me to blanch the mushrooms before pan-frying them; it speeds up the cooking process once they hit the wok. If you can't find fried garlic in your local grocery, cut garlic cloves into paper-thin slices, drop into a pan of hot oil, and fry until golden brown. Drain and store in an airtight container -- don't throw away that garlicky oil, use it in your next stir-fry.


3/4 pound button mushrooms (each about 1 1/2 inches in diameter), trimmed
4 baby bok choy, halved lengthwise

2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
I teaspoon oyster-flavored sauce
I teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon sesame oil

3 tablespoons prepared fried garlic


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon or wire skimmer, scoop them into a colander. Rinse under cold water and drain again.

2. Add the bok choy to the boiling water and cook until tender-crisp, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again.

3. Prepare the seasonings: Stir the rice wine, oyster-flavored sauce, soy sauce, anddark soy sauce together in a small bowl until blended.

4. Heat a wok over high heat until hot. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until their surface is dry. Remove the mushrooms from the wok.

5. Pour the vegetable oil into the wok and swirl to coat the sides. Add the garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Return the mushrooms to the wok and pour in the seasonings. Stir-fry until the mushrooms are tender, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Add the sesame oil and bok choy and toss until the bok choy is heated through, about 30 seconds. Scoop the mushrooms onto a serving platter, surround with the bok choy, and scatter the fried garlic over the top.

Sweet and Tangy Glazed Pork Chops

Serves 4 as part of a multicourse meal

Because of the influx of Cantonese immigrants to nearby Japan, you'll find this traditional Cantonese dish. If you can't find the moke stick, substitute a 0.44-ounce package of haw flakes. What is haw? It is kind of a cross between a cherry and a cranberry. The haw is dried, ground, and mixed with sugar.


1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon soy sauce or light soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

4 pork loin or shoulder chops, each about 1/2 inch thick, cut in half

1/4 cup warm water
2 pieces moke stick
2 tablespoons plum sauce
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons soy sauce or light soy sauce
3 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 medium piece rock sugar, about 1/2 ounce, or 1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 green onions, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths


1. Marinate the pork: Stir the egg, soy sauce, cornstarch, and rice wine in a bowl until blended. Pour into a plastic bag. Add the pork chops and turn to coat. Set aside for 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Prepare the sauce: Combine the water, moke stick, plum sauce, brown sugar, and soy sauce in a medium bowl and mash to a thick paste. Add the black vinegar, rice wine, and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

3. Pour the oil into a nonreactive skillet large enough to hold the pork in a single layer, and heat over medium heat until hot. Lift the chops from the marinade, shake off the excess liquid, and lay them in the oil. Pan-fry, turning once, until cooked through, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove the pan from the heat and drain the chops on paper towels.

4. Spoon off all but 1 tablespoon of the oil from the pan. Return the pan to high heat. When the oil is hot, add both onions and stir-fry until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the liquid is reduced by one-third. Slip the chops into the sauce and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Serve immediately, spooning some of the sauce over each chop.

Martin Yan's Chinatown Cooking. Copyright © by Martin Yan. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2005

    Inaccurate recipes

    With its pictures and descriptions I thought this was a real find. Then I started trying some recipes . . . I found that many of the recipes needed to be fixed. For example, pepper beef called for 3 tsp of black pepper. I followed the recipe to a 'T'. When it was finished, the sauce was so hot it nearly seared my lips off. Needless to say, I had to make the dish over with only half a tsp of pepper. Another one called for vinegar in a proportion that made the whole dish taste really sour. I found this kind of oversight typical of this book. The recipes are not quite tested and need improvement.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2005

    Pretty good Chinatown food

    After sampling a dozen recipes at random, I thought one was really great (Wontons in sweet and sour chili sauce), the rest were O.K. Yan's sauces tend to be kind of bland, and I don't like the taste of ketchup, which shows up a lot. But, everything is edible, most of the recipes I tried can be fiddled with and improved, and some of them are good enough for dinner parties where you might want to impress your guests. So, I do not regret buying the book.

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