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By Burmese Days
This is my first post, so please tell me if I've made any mistakes. I'd like to learn the ropes as soon as possible.
I first learned of this cookbook from The Mala Market, easily the best online source of high-quality Chinese ingredients in the west. In the About Us page, Taylor Holiday (the founder of Mala Market) talks about the cookbooks that inspired her.
This piqued my interest and sent me down a long rabbit hole. I'm attempting to categorically share everything I've found about this book so far.
Reading it online
Early in my search, I found an online preview (Adobe Flash required). It shows you the first 29 pages. I've found people reference an online version you can pay for on the Chinese side of the internet. But to my skills, it's been unattainable.
Because this book was never sold in the west, the cover, and thus title, were never translated to English. Because of this, when you search for this book, it'll have several different names. These are just some versions I've found online - typos included.
Sichuan (China) Cuisine in Both Chinese and English Si Chuan(China) Cuisinein (In English & Chinese) China Sichuan Cuisine (in Chinese and English) Chengdu China: Si Chuan Ke Xue Ji Shu Chu Ban She Si Chuan(China) Cuisinein (Chinese and English bilingual) 中国川菜：中英文标准对照版 For the sake of convenience, I'll be referring to the cookbook as Sichuan Cuisine from now on.
There are two versions of Sichuan Cuisine. The first came out in 2010 and the second in 2014. In an interview from Flavor & Fortune, a (now defunct) Chinese cooking
magazine, the author clarifies the differences.
That is all of the information I could find on the differences. Nothing besides that offhanded remark. The 2014 edition seems to be harder to source and, when available, more expensive.
In the last section, I mentioned an interview with the author. That was somewhat incorrect. There are two authors!
Lu Yi (卢一) President of Sichuan Tourism College, Vice Chairman of Sichuan Nutrition Society, Chairman of Sichuan Food Fermentation Society, Chairman of Sichuan Leisure Sports Management Society Du Li (杜莉) Master of Arts, Professor of Sichuan Institute of Tourism, Director of Sichuan Cultural Development Research Center, Sichuan Humanities and Social Sciences Key Research Base, Sichuan Provincial Department of Education, and member of the International Food Culture Research Association of the World Chinese Culinary Federation Along with the principal authors, two famous chefs checked the English translations.
Fuchsia Dunlop - of Land of Plenty fame Professor Shirley Cheng - of Hyde Park New York's Culinary Institute of America Fuchsia Dunlop was actually the first (and to my knowledge, only) Western graduate from the school that produced the book.
Here are screenshots of the table of contents. It has some recipes I'm a big fan of.
ISBN 10: 7536469640 ISBN 13: 9787536469648 As far as I can tell, the first and second edition have the same ISBN #'s. I'm no librarian, so if anyone knows more about how ISBN #'s relate to re-releases and editions, feel free to chime in.
Sichuan Science and Technology Press 四川科学技术出版社
Okay... so this book has a lot of covers.
The common cover A red cover A white cover A white version of the common cover An ornate and shiny cover There may or may not be a "Box set." At first, I thought this was a difference in book editions, but that doesn't seem to be the case. As far as covers go, I'm at a loss. If anybody has more info, I'm all ears.
Buying the book
Alright, so I've hunted down many sites that used to sell it and a few who still have it in stock. Most of them are priced exorbitantly.
AbeBooks.com ($160 + $15 shipping) Ebay.com - used ($140 + $4 shipping) PurpleCulture.net ($50 + $22 shipping) Amazon.com ($300 + $5 shipping + $19 tax) A few other sites in Chinese
I bought a copy off of PurpleCuture.net on April 14th. When I purchased Sichuan Cuisine, it said there was only one copy left. That seems to be a lie to create false urgency for the buyer. My order never updated past processing, but after emailing them, I was given a tracking code. It has since landed in America and is in customs. I'll try to update this thread when (if) it is delivered.
This book is probably not worth all the effort that I've put into finding it. But what is worth effort, is preserving knowledge. It turns my gut to think that this book will never be accessible to chefs that have a passion for learning real Sichuan food. As we get inundated with awful recipes from Simple and quick blogs, it becomes vital to keep these authentic sources available. As the internet chugs along, more and more recipes like these will be lost.
You'd expect the internet to keep information alive, but in many ways, it does the opposite. In societies search for quick and easy recipes, a type of evolutionary pressure is forming. It's a pressure that mutates recipes to simpler and simpler versions of themselves. They warp and change under consumer pressure till they're a bastardized copy of the original that anyone can cook in 15 minutes. The worse part is that these new, worse recipes wear the same name as the original recipe. Before long, it becomes harder to find the original recipe than the new one.
In this sense, the internet hides information.
OK.... here we go again!!! While this post is a bit premature (we don't take off until around 1:30AM tonight), I am extremely excited so I figured I'd just set up the topic now. As in previous foodblogs, I may post a bit from time to time while we're there, depending on how good my internet connection is, and how much free time I have... but the bulk of posting will really get started around July 9th - the day after we get home (hopefully without too much jetlag!!!)
Happy New Year! I'm sitting at the gate waiting for my flight from Saigon to NYC connecting through Taipei so I figured this would be a good opportunity to get started... But this is just the intro- the rest will gave to wait until I land about 22 hours from now, sleep for about 12 hours, then get my photos in order! We had a great week enjoying beautiful weather, taking in the frenetic yet relaxed street life and eating some amazing local food...
Our flight here was on EVA Airline and was very pleasant and uneventful. Our flight from Nyc to Taipei left around 12:20 AM on the 24th. I love those night flights since it makes it very easy to get a decent amount of sleep, even in coach. EVAs food is quite good eith both Chinese and western choices for dinner and breakfast, and they came through several times with snacks such as a fried chicken sandwich with some kind of mustard. I think I had 4 of them!
Once I get home, I'll continue posting with pics from our feast in the Taipei airport.... Spoiler: those who have read my Singapore foodblog from July may see a slight trend...
OK - so I think it's very fitting for my 1000th post that I start this food blog... I love eGullet, and have been a member for several years, but I don't post that often, and have never done anything like this, so please bear with me!!!
My wife and I left NYC for Singapore on July 1st, at 1:25AM on an EVA flight connecting through Taipei, Taiwan. There used to be a direct NY to Singapore flight on Singapore Airlines, but SA discontinued it a few years ago. I like the long overnight flight to Asia because, on a 14 hour flight, it gives you plenty of time to eat (they feed you very well on those flights), medicate yourself and sleep for 6-8 hours, then wake up and watch a few movies before landing at about 6AM. Plus, since the flight leaves so late, it makes it much easier to sleep on the flight (especially after working a full day beforehand).
The EVA flight is quite comfortable, even in coach. When I say they feed you well, I mean it - dinner was a stir fried chicken with steamed bok choy and rice, with many sides. Throughout the flight they came through the cabin with mustard coated fried chicken sandwiches as snacks, then breakfast of pork congee with many sides (including a package of fish floss). Sorry, I didn't take photos of the above - I was exhausted!
We had about a 2 hour layover in the airport in Taiwan, so what does that mean? Time for dim sum and beef noodle soup!!!
This was our breakfast destination
Left to right, Xie Long Bao (Shanghainese pork soup dumplings), char siu bao (fluffy buns filled with BBQ pork - although this Taiwanese version was not nearly as sweet as the typical Hong Kong version), Taiwanese beef noodle soup, and a loose leaf oolong tea. With the waters, cost about US$20!!! It was quite the feast, especially after the constant EVA flight 'buffet', and the fact that they were going to feed us again on our next flight to Singapore!
It's that time of year again, after just getting back from our summer vacation. This year, we went to Yogyakarta which is a city in central Java, Indonesia. The title of the topic comes from the fact that most people there call the city Jogjakarta (pronounced jōg-ja-karta), although some people (depending on background) do call it yōg-ya-karta. This is a special place in Indonesia - Indonesia is a mostly Muslim country, however, the region around Jogjakarta was declared a special region as it is also a Sultanate. It was the original home to the ruler of the island of Java, and once democracy came along, the Sultan still lives there and has some kind of power in the region, as well as with the government as a whole... It's confusing - and I would say that I'm still a bit confused, but that's ok. Anyway, all this leads this region to be called the cultural and culinary capital of the island of Java, the most populous island in the archipelago, some of the reason it is extremely popular with domestic tourists - I'd say the vast majority of the tourists there are from other parts of Indonesia, with the balance being mostly Australians, and some Europeans and very few North Americans.
Food-wise, we found Jogja interesting because it is the first Muslim area we have seen in SE Asia, which means (with very few exceptions) no pork. There are tons of chicken dishes - many using what is called kampung chickens, or extremely free range chickens which tend to be relatively scrawny, a little tough but with a lot of flavor. There is also some beef, some mutton/goat and fish. Like a lot of Indonesian food, the use of sambal(s) is key - many times you will have a selection of sambal that you would use to accent or add spiciness to a dish. Some of these sambal are crazy hot...
Another thing interesting thing about being a mostly Muslim area is the seemingly ever-present call to prayer. In the city, typically 5 times a day, the Mosques will have their best singer sing the call to prayer (which lasts about 20 minutes) over the loudspeaker systems. If you are in an area with a few mosques, you will hear 3 different versions all going at the same time. Some of these calls are at inopportune times - like 1:30AM - so most hotels provide ear plugs so you won't be woken up in the middle of the night. Like we do on all our trips, we take Benadryl as a sleep aid to help get us over the jetlag... so we never needed the earplugs as we were sleeping very soundly to say the least!
I think I'll sum this up by talking about how relatively inexpensive this city is. It is probably the cheapest area that we have seen on our travels so far - you can get a luxury hotel room for about $50 per night, and a 40 minute taxi ride across the city doesn't cost more than $3-4, at the current rate of exchange. Local food is really cheap too. I took some photos of menus to show pricing - keep in mind that the current rate of exchange is about IDR14,100 to US$1. What can be much more expensive is some touristy things - foreign tourists are charged a different rate from domestic tourists, and in some cases will have a separate entrance (and usually a much shorter, or non-existent, line).
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