Chinese Menu: The History, Myths, and Legends Behind Your Favorite Foods

Chinese Menu cover
Chinese Menu: The History, Myths, and Legends Behind Your Favorite Foods by Grace Lin

By Grace Lin
Little, Brown, 2023
288 pages

Age 8 and older

This mouth-watering buffet enriched with history, culture, folklore, and personal anecdotes is divided into sections based primarily on courses of a Chinese meal (Tea, Appetizers, Soup, Side Orders, Chef’s Specials, Dessert) as author/illustrator Grace Lin details the history and traditions encompassed in various dishes of Chinese origin, along with some Chinese American offerings. She makes clear from the outset that “Chinese food” is actually food of many different regions and groups, so that when she delves into individual dishes and related stories, she builds on this distinction. She also chronicles changes that took place when Chinese people began cooking food in the United States, adapting to what was available, and, sometimes, when opening restaurants, to preferences among the would-be customers. Throughout the work, she shares her personal connections to various dishes, which adds to the inviting feel of this informative, welcome, and welcoming volume. Each course, and each dish, is accompanied by appealing illustrations in a tasty treat for readers young and old, whether they’re discovering the history of dishes with which they are familiar or those that are new to them. ©2023 Cooperative Children’s Book Center