Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper

Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper

A Sweet-sour Memoir of Eating in China

Book - 2008
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Award-winning food writer Fuchsia Dunlop went to live in China as a student in 1994, and from the very beginning she vowed to eat everything she was offered, no matter how alien and bizarre it seemed. In this extraordinary memoir, Fuchsia recalls her evolving relationship with China and its food, from her first rapturous encounter with the delicious cuisine of Sichuan Province to brushes with corruption, environmental degradation, and greed. In the course of her fascinating journey, Fuchsia undergoes an apprenticeship at China's premier Sichuan cooking school, where she is the only foreign student in a class of nearly fifty young Chinese men; attempts, hilariously, to persuade Chinese people that "Western food" is neither "simple" nor "bland"; and samples a multitude of exotic ingredients, including sea cucumber, civet cat, scorpion, rabbit-heads, and the ovarian fat of the snow frog. But is it possible for a Westerner to become a true convert to the Chinese way of eating? In an encounter with a caterpillar in an Oxford kitchen, Fuchsia is forced to put this to the test.From the vibrant markets of Sichuan to the bleached landscape of northern Gansu Province, from the desert oases of Xinjiang to the enchanting old city of Yangzhou, this unique and evocative account of Chinese culinary culture is set to become the most talked-about travel narrative of the year.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton, 2008.
Edition: First American edition
ISBN: 9780393066579
Branch Call Number: 641.5951 DUNLOP F
Characteristics: 320 pages : illustrations, map ; 25 cm.


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Dec 22, 2016

Fantastic, engaging read. A great blend of personal experience, engaging others' experiences, policy, history, pontification, and food.

Jul 11, 2013

I really enjoyed the accounts of Chinese history and culture Dunlop weaves into her memoir. They provide an interesting context for the dishes she describes.


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