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The epic tale of the world's most sophisticated gastronomic culture, told through a banquet of thirty Chinese dishes

Chinese was the first truly global cuisine. When the first Chinese labourers began to sojourn and settle abroad, restaurants appeared in their wake. Yet Chinese food has the curious distinction of being both one of the world's best-loved culinary traditions and one of the least understood. For more than a century, the overwhelming dominance of a simplified form of Cantonese cooking has ensured that few foreigners have experienced anything of its richness and sophistication - but today that is beginning to change.

In Invitation to a Banquet, the James Beard Award-winning cook and writer Fuchsia Dunlop explores the culture, history and philosophy informing real Chinese cookery. Each chapter examines the way a particular dish expresses a singular aspect of Chinese gastronomy, from the importance of soup and the philosophy of balance to the lure of exotic ingredients and the history of Buddhist vegetarian cuisine. Starting with sweet-and-sour pork, that classic of British Chinese takeaway cooking, Fuchsia examines the ways in which Chinese food has been understood and misunderstood in the West since its earliest days as an immigrant cuisine. Then the real feast begins: a journey into Chinese food as it is made, cooked, eaten and considered in China itself, through a diverse series of dishes including Mapo Tofu, Dongpo Pork, Knife-scraped Noodles and Pomelo Pith with Shrimp Eggs.

Weaving together history, mouth-watering descriptions of food and on-the-ground research conducted over the course of three decades, Invitation to a Banquet is a lively and ground-breaking tribute to the pleasures and mysteries of Chinese cuisine, and a window into real Chinese culture.

PRE-ORDER Invitation to a Banquet: The Story of Chinese Food - 31/8

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