Bruce thanks for the tip on Tiger skin peppers. Bookmarked!
huiray I think the reason people love Fuchsia Dunlop is that she's a great food writer & researcher - her memoir about learning to cook in Sichuan Province in the '90s is fascinating, one of the best food books of the last 10 years. Hunanese and Sichuan cuisine are popular right now perhaps partly because of her, also because some very good restaurants presenting the food of these regions have opened up in major American cities and London recently, as I'm sure you're aware.
Personally, I love Cantonese cuisine and I wish I knew books as good as Dunlop's on the subject. Is the Teresa M. Chen book comparable? Not just a collection of good recipes, but an authoritative presentation of the cooking, the region, its history, and the foodways?
There are so few cookbooks in that league from any cuisine.
I do have the Grace Young cookbook on wok cookery, which is more oriented toward other regions of China and especially Guangzhou/Hong Kong, but it is (a) primarily a book on technique (and a very good one) and (b) somewhat hyphenated-American, not that that's a bad thing in itself of course.
My Taiwanese in-laws come from a country with incredible food, some say the best in China. But they almost never cook at home, and if they do, it's only braises. I've tried to convince them that it's possible to do decent wok cookery on a home stove - even if you're not going to achieve true wok hei - but it's like arguing with a wall. I sense that the restaurant and street food available 24 hours a day in Taipei is so incredible that they don't see the point of bothering.
Anyway, thread jack! Sorry to go off on a tangent here... this probably belongs in the Chinese eats thread anyway.