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MARTIN YAN'S ASIAN FAVORITES: From Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Thailand

Martin Yan, Author
Martin Yan, Author . Ten Speed $21.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-58008-370-6
Reviewed on: 11/05/2001
Release date: 11/01/2001
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-1-57959-515-9
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In Yan's slightly disappointing 24th book, the celebrity chef and host of Yan Can Cook travels across Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand, visiting street vendors, restaurant chefs and home cooks along the way. Part travelogue and part cookbook, the volume has the feel of a package tour with an enthusiastic guide who won't linger in any single place. Taiwan, with its little-known cuisine, is, according to Yan, a lazy Susan: "Take a quick spin, and you can experience all the delights China has to offer!" Hong Kong, where he began his career as a 13-year-old restaurant apprentice, is "an international crossroad as well as a culinary hotspot," while Thailand's hotels have "a top-notch reputation for hospitality," and so on. The simplicity of Yan's recipes will appeal to readers who are intimidated by long lists of exotic-sounding ingredients; that the resulting dishes are not complexly flavored is the price to be paid for the ease of preparing them. Odd fusion dishes like Hong Kong Soft Beef Tacos (tortillas filled with shiitake mushroom, wood ear and marinated beef) and Yin-Yang Pizza (which is topped with eggplant, sesame-oil pesto, crookneck squash and canned pineapple) will probably not have wide appeal. Yan's chapter on Thailand is more conventional and, in addition to the old standards, features recipes for simplified curry pastes, which anyone who has ever spent a morning pounding spices will welcome. (Nov.)

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