I’m Writing a Cookbook!

When I first started this blog 3 and a half years ago, I had an inkling that maybe I would someday write a book.  I had just arrived in Beijing, after a couple years in New York attending culinary school, working in a pastry kitchen, and writing freelance food and travel articles. I had a lot of interests, mostly centered around food. But where would I start?

The road from blog to book always seemed to be a fuzzy path. There were a lot of blogs in the news whose writers found agents and publishers seemingly overnight, and others I enjoy reading whose writers segued into other media opportunities, which led to the books. But at that time I didn’t know where to begin. So I just concentrated on eating.

Getting acquainted with Beijing was a really eye-opening experience, and I just started photographing and sampling street food and restaurant meals wherever I went. I experimented with making Sichuan dishes from favorite restaurants at home, and when I wanted a break from spicy food, started cooking Cantonese dishes that my parents had taught me. Pretty soon the comments started coming, and questions about how to use this spice or that vegetable. That was encouragement enough to continue, despite the long hours.

Soon I started teaching Chinese cooking at a nice little school located in one of Beijing’s disappearing hutongs. And continued blogging, throughout my stay in Beijing, living in Shanghai, traveling through Southeast Asia, working in San Francisco, and finally after moving back to New York. At first I thought that having a blog primarily focused on Chinese food might be a little limiting, that I would run out of topics after a while. Luckily, so far that hasn’t been the case.

What I want to continue writing about could fill a whole book, at least. So I decided last June that this would be the summer I devoted to drafting a really good book proposal, even if the work meant losing sleep and quality time with the sun. It would be a cookbook, I decided, but it also had to incorporate a ton of history and stories behind the food. Fortunately, after months of writing and rewriting, I was able to find an amazing agent and publisher as excited about the idea as I was.

So I’m happy to share with all of you my current big project, my first cookbook, for Random House/Ballantine that is due out Fall 2012, if all goes well. It’s a collection of Chinese take-out favorites and classic Chinatown dishes to make in your own kitchen. And because I’m so obsessed with culinary culture, the book will also explore the history and influence of Chinese food in the US. The cookbook will be, in short, a celebration of the Chinese comfort food favorites that America has helped shape.

So I want to ask all of you who have been such loyal visitors, both long-time readers and anyone who has just stumbled upon the site (I hope you’ll stay for a while!): What are some of your favorite Chinese take-out dishes, ones that you want to learn and see in the cookbook?  Or what are some Chinese dishes you fondly remember eating as a kid, or dishes your parents or grandparents still reminisce about, from the times when Chinese food was considered “exotic”?

97 Responses to I’m Writing a Cookbook!

  1. Gastronomer January 13, 2011 at 10:12 pm #

    Congrats, Diana! I LOVE the premise and cannot wait to get my hands on a copy!! Good luck and let me know if you need a recipe tester :-) WOO HOO!

  2. Nate @ House of Annie January 13, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

    Congratulations! How exciting!

    One dish I love to eat when I’m in Chinatown is “ngau kan mein” – beef tendon soup. Tender-chewy pieces of tendon, noodles with just the right bite to them, and fragrant beef broth…oh, the joy!

    When we go to Chinatown in San Francisco, the one thing we MUST take home with us is a box (or two) of Golden Gate Bakery dan tat (egg tarts). I’m sure there’s a ton of history behind that flaky pastry. Do you think you could cover that in your book?

  3. Max Falkowitz January 13, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

    I can’t wait to read it! I’d love to learn how to make those sesame balls served at dim sum. Great meeting you at the meet-up, too!

  4. Karen from Globetrotter Diaries January 14, 2011 at 3:33 am #

    Wow congratulations!!! I love that you’ll be covering a lil’ history too, especially transplant dishes to the US. If you could master xiao long bao… well, I’d worship u.

  5. Szu-ting Yi January 14, 2011 at 3:47 am #

    Just want to say congratulations! As a Taiwanese eating Chinese food growing up, I enjoy teaching my western friends the stories behind each dishes. and of course cook for them and see their smiles.

    for take outs, I still like 干炒牛河

  6. Lyn January 14, 2011 at 4:19 am #

    red bean congee? its my favorite dessert… sometimes i’d order only that when i wanted a sugar fix

  7. Su-Lin January 14, 2011 at 7:09 am #

    My favourite cookbooks are those that include the history or background of the dishes and I’m so glad that you’re including this in yours! Best of luck!

  8. Liam January 14, 2011 at 8:05 am #

    Well done, that sounds really awesome! A char sui bao recipe would be amazing!

  9. Lisa January 14, 2011 at 9:16 am #

    All the best on your exciting new venture. I’ll definitely look for your book when it comes out. Love the part about chronicling the way that Chinese and American culture has interacted to produce the comfort food favorites.

    I’ve been meaning to try your recipe for mapo tofu for about 3 years and haven’t gotten it done; maybe now is the time!

  10. Ben Lyons January 14, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    I am really looking forward to this. 2012 can’t come soon enough.

  11. Elizabeth McKeown Eng January 14, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    Diana, that is such awesome news. Congrats! Also I was curious– why is the book scheduled for such a late publication? Is that just how long the writing and publishing is expected to take? I am so happy for you. It’s very cool!

  12. dianakuan January 14, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    Thanks, Cathy! I’ll definitely let you know. :-D

  13. dianakuan January 14, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    Nate – Mmm, that’s a good suggestion. That’s one of my favorite things to order in Chinatown noodle soups, especially if it comes with brisket too.

    I’ve been to Golden Gate Bakery and agree their egg tarts are pretty darn good. I’m definitely covering egg tarts, and that’s a great suggestion for the historical coverage. 

    Hope you and Annie are enjoying your time in Malaysia!

  14. dianakuan January 14, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    Max – Sesame balls is also a great suggestion, since I’m planning to have a bigger Dessert/Drinks section than other Chinese cookbooks (even though these fall more under the rubric of dim sum desserts). Great meeting you in person too!

  15. julie @meatlovessalt January 14, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    Wow, congratulations! How incredibly exciting. I am a huge fan of noodle dishes like wide rice noodles with beef (guon chow ngow hoh) and Singaporean rice noodles. Lately I’ve been really into Sichuanese food too (dan dan mian!).

  16. dianakuan January 14, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    Karen – Thanks! If I could master xiao long bao, I’d worship myself. Or start a chain of hipster-worthy xiao long bao take-out restaurants and make boatloads of money.

  17. Chee Ann January 14, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    Congratulations! I love your website and have cooked so many great dishes from it. I’m so excited for you!

  18. dianakuan January 14, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

    Lyn – Do you mean red bean dessert soup that they usually serve as dessert, or red bean rice porridge (usually savory and for breakfast)?

  19. dianakuan January 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    Lisa – You should. :) Mapo tofu is one of my favorite recipes on this site, I’m sort of partial to it. Let me know how it goes!

  20. dianakuan January 14, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

    Liam – That’s on my list too. Are you a bigger fan of the baked char siu baos or the steamed white ones?

  21. dianakuan January 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

    Szu-ting Yi – Thanks! That’s one of those timeless dishes that’s as popular in Chinese take-outs here as it is in Hong Kong.

  22. dianakuan January 14, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    Su-Lin – Thanks so much! Mine too. I tend to gravitate towards trying recipes that have long history or some interesting anecdote about its creation.

  23. dianakuan January 14, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    Ben – Thank you! Ah, if only books went through the publishing process faster…

  24. dianakuan January 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

    Thanks, Elizabeth! I’m in the process of writing the book now, and the way I understand it, a book usually takes between 9 months to a year to go from manuscript to a finished product ready for bookstores. There’s a lot to be done in between, including editing, doing layout, printing, creating marketing and publicity plans, etc. I think something with glossy photos like a cookbook would skew more on longer side of the timeline.

  25. dianakuan January 14, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    Julie – Thank you! I have a section devoted to rice and noodle dishes, and it’s possible all three of them would be in there.

  26. dianakuan January 14, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

    Chee An – Thank you! It’s always nice to hear from readers who’ve had a lot of success with the recipes. Let me know if you have comments or suggestions for any of them.

  27. Sarah G January 14, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

    Congratulations! I am also planning to write a cookbook – of regional interest in Canada. Look forward to more on this.

  28. TS, eatingclub vancouver January 14, 2011 at 10:19 pm #


  29. Nancy D. January 14, 2011 at 11:33 pm #

    Wow, that’s awesome Diana!! Congrats, I can’t wait to look for the book next year! It sounds really interesting. I second the suggestion above for char sui bao recipe – I LOVE the steamed white ones. So yummy. Also, when I was in China I had this great dessert that was made of some sort of red colored berries (but with whitish insides) that had been steamed and then covered with some sort of sweet syrup. I have no idea what it was (or even what the berries were), but it was really good and I’ve always wondered how to make it. Of course my description is probably the least helpful thing ever, so not really a great suggestion!

  30. dianakuan January 15, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    Sarah – Congrats to you too! Your project definitely sounds eye-opening to someone who doesn’t know a lot about regional Canadian dishes.

  31. dianakuan January 15, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    Thank you. :)

  32. dianakuan January 15, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    Nancy – Ooh, it seems you might be talking aobut about bingtang hulu. See this link: http://appetiteforchina.com/blog/bingtang-hulu

    It’s made of hawthorn fruits (related to crab apples) that are dipped in a syrup, then left to harden, and served on a stick. Vendors will also do the same with tangerine slices, grapes, even kiwi.  (Unless I’m totally mistaken and you’re talking about something else…this is the only small red fruit with white insides I can think of.)

  33. Hiroko January 15, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

    Congratulation on the book deal! It’s not very authentic dish, but I love Sesame Chicken. I like the combination of fried, sweet, and savoriness. I always wonder how to make that at home. I am looking forward to see your cookbook and start cooking more Chinese food at home.

  34. Anonymous January 15, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

    Hi~ Congrats on your new adventure! I’m an American girl, recently returning from many years working in Shanghai. I REALLY miss my Chinese street food! I stumbled upon your site looking for traditional recipes.

    I’d love to learn how to make cai bao, and the yummy breakfast pancake rolls with fried bread, cilantro, green onions and sauce. I never did quite get the right name for it, but perhaps it’s something like spring onion pancake?

    Thanks, and best wishes!

  35. Razzle January 16, 2011 at 2:12 am #

    Best wishes and happy eating to you! I hope you have lots of fun writing your cookbook and please include lots of great pictures. Thank you for all your great recipes through out the years. I remember a desert my father called “eight treasures,” I think it is cantanese origin because he was from canton, shanghi region. If you can include lots of dessert that would be wonderful. Lots of chinese cookbook skims over the dessert section even though chinese has lots of tasty and wonderful desserts. Again, can’t wait until your book comes out!

  36. dianakuan January 16, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    Oh yes, I’m familiar with eight treasure dessert soup. I agree about the
    desserts in most Chinese cookbooks, and am planning on a pretty
    comprehensive and fun section in my book.

  37. dianakuan January 16, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

    Thanks, Hiroko. Sesame chicken is on my list of all-time favorite comfort food dishes.

  38. dianakuan January 16, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    Thanks! You mean something similar to this?


  39. Danz January 16, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

    congratulations and I wish you good luck !

    I think you should also have a small section on some of the techniques associated with cooking chinese foods.

    For recipes, i’d like to see a long green bean with spicy(chilli) chicken or pork mince. It may be a bit more malaysian than chinese but maybe with a chinese twist ?

    keep up the good work :)

  40. Betty January 17, 2011 at 11:13 am #

    Congrats on your soon-to-be new cookbook! I’ve been following your blog for a long time to vicariously live through all of your yummy experiences while I’m homesick for dim-sum whilst in college. (Something I can’t recreate in our dingy dorm kitchen.) My mom always makes me mango pudding when I’m home — it would be great if you can include a recipe in your new book.

  41. Patti January 19, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    I am a follower of your blog though I never post a comment. I tend to be shy and know not what to say. I’m sorry. Today, I am happy so I post. I will buy your book when it comes out. You have made chinese cooking fun and approachable and I thank you for that. I especially liked the recipe for “Chicharrones de Pollo” since it took me back home to Puerto Rico. Again, thank you. My children smiled with this dish.

  42. dianakuan January 19, 2011 at 11:49 pm #

    Thanks, Danz! Coincidentally I just taught dry-fried green beans (with preserved vegetable and shrimp) in a Sichuan class tonight, and it was a huge hit. Using minced pork as flavoring is also common. So you just might be seeing that in the cookbook ;)

  43. dianakuan January 19, 2011 at 11:52 pm #

    Aww, thanks, Patti. I’m really glad your children enjoyed the chicharrones de pollo. It’s great being able to find examples around the world in which people have adapted Chinese cooking methods to suit their own local cuisines.

  44. dianakuan January 19, 2011 at 11:53 pm #

    Betty – Don’t worry, I’m working on perfecting my mango pudding recipe. :-)

  45. Jenny January 20, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    That’s so exciting! I have been checking your blog out this past year and have made many a delicious dish thanks to you. Your cookbook sounds great! I think providing the history of Chinese cuisine in America will be a big draw, since we can get so many plain old recipes from the internet nowadays. In terms of recipes for your cookbook, when I was in Beijing I LOVED those giant scallion pancakes they would sell on the street… they were bigger, doughier and more scallion-y than their Chinese-American counterparts. And for Chinatown favorites, I love salt-baked squid, although I think the dish is actually fried… Maybe a recipe for that actually calls for baking it to make it easier for health-conscious home cooks?
    Congratulations again! I’m looking forward to 2012!

  46. Charlee January 20, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

    Long time fan, and congrats on your cookbook! I use your recipes so frequently I know some of them by heart and my family actually eats greens now ever since I introduced them to your sichuan green beans, haha. Your book is officially on my to-get list this year :)

    The only thing I can think of as a suggestion is a recipe involving crab? Or seafood in general, haha.

  47. m January 21, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    congrats on the cookbook!!! i’ll be eagerly looking forward to it. :)

    are you doing any congee recipes? it’s one of my all time favorite comfort foods, but it’s such a pain to make. & i was also wondering about cocktail buns (gai mae bao). for some reason, the nyc ones have a different filling than ones i’ve gotten in every other city i’ve visited & would love to learn how to make those myself.

    i would also support the char siu bao recipe, though i’m partial to the baked ones myself. :) another favorite is lao mai gai, that sticky rice thing wrapped in leaves & steamed & also the fried sticky rice served in an upside down bowl at restaurants. goodness, there are too many dishes to think about & it’s starting to make me hungry & miss home!

    best of luck with the writing! looking forward to the finished product!!

  48. Stevie January 23, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    Congratulations on your cookbook venture. I’d love to see vegetarian versions of classic comfort Chinese foods. I really struggle to find a vegetarian Chinese cookbook, and am still looking. If you can recommend any, please let me know! Right now I improvise a little but there must be ways to take the meat out of some of these wonderful dishes.

    I toured China for three weeks in the Nineties. (This was before giving up meat) I remember a wonderful spicy tofu dish that had ground pork that we had at a restaurant in Beijing. I’d love a veggie version of that!

  49. dianakuan January 25, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    Jenny – If you’re referring to the dim sum squid dishes, I think most of them are fried. Though a baked version is a great idea, if I can get the crispiness right.

  50. dianakuan January 25, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

    Charlee – Thank you! I’m so glad you like so many recipes, especially the Sichuan green beans. Unfortunately, my book won’t come out until 2012, but there will be many other Chinese recipes going up on this blog in the meantime. :-D

  51. dianakuan January 25, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    M – Oh, now I’m very curious. How are the cocktail bun fillings that you’ve had? I’ve been to a lot of bakeries in New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Hong Kong, and the cocktail buns always have a sweet filling with shredded coconut. The ones my father used to make in his bakery also have the same filling. Are they different in other cities you’ve been?

  52. dianakuan January 25, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

    Stevie – It must be mapo tofu you’re talking about. I have this Mapo Tofu recipe that uses ground pork, but for a vegetarian version you can leave it out or substitute some finely chopped shiitake or cremini mushrooms. Hope that helps!

  53. Jennifer January 25, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

    How exciting! Can I put in an order for my copy now? Your pictures are excellent, btw. I remember when you were just learning!

    Jennifer, in Oregon (remember me?? :) )

  54. Robyn January 25, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

    I’m late to this news Diana — congratulations! Egg foo young, smothered in brown goo. My mom always ordered it, I thought it was gross. (I was thrilled to find it served here, so different.) And crab rangoon.
    Best of luck!

  55. Carolyn Jung January 25, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

    Congrats on embarking on a book. That’s a huge endeavor. But how great at the end of all that work and time to have a beautiful tome with your name splashed across it. Can’t wait to see it when it’s completed.

  56. Jade January 26, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    Congrats on this new endeavour! How exciting! Here in Victoria (Vancouver Island), British Columbia, we have the oldest China Town in Canada. With hundreds of years of Chinese settler history here, combined with our proximity to the Pacific Ocean and consequent constant influx of new immigrants from all parts of Asia (millions came here from HongKong in 1997 when the British handed it back to China), we’re lucky enough to have a great variety of Chinese cuisine to choose from (ranging from authentic to extremely Westernized versions). We have more of a SOuth East concentration (mostly Hong Kong style, Teochew, Shanghai, so you’ll have to excuse this white girl’s ignorance of other cuisine genres! My favourite take-out Chinese dish has always been squid, in any shape or form! The best is whole squid with peppery fried with 5 spices and of course the classic garlic chili squid. I’d LOVE to know how to make these types of dishes at home! Congrats again, and I really look forward to buying your book :)

  57. m January 27, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    hi diana!

    thanks for the reply – i agree that most cities (at least the ones i’ve visited that had chinatowns) use the coconut filling you mentioned, but i’ve only found this one filling from bakeries in nyc. i guess the best way to describe it would be that it’s similar to the crumbly stuff that they put on top. i usually get them at the manna bakery on catherine and henry in nyc’s chinatown.

  58. dianakuan February 2, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    Thanks, Jennifer! Of course I remember you. And what a nice compliment, especially coming from a real photographer!

  59. dianakuan February 2, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    I agree…contrary to popular belief egg foo young can be delicious. And an excuse to have eggs for dinner.

  60. dianakuan February 2, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    Thank you, Carolyn!

  61. dianakuan February 2, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    Thanks, Jade. I really have to make my way to Victoria, as well as Vancouver, and some point. I keep much great things about the food. Maybe once this recipe testing starts to wind down. :-)

  62. Ryan February 12, 2011 at 4:58 am #

    Hiya. I’ve been following your blog for the better part of a year now, maybe two, and find your style of cooking amazing. My entirely life I’ve been fascinated with Chinese food, culture and history, and despite having no trace of any form of Asian in my blood, feel more akin to the Chinese then any other ethnicity out there. I love to cook, and love your dishes, And not a single one of them have led me astray yet. Even the simple things like your Ginger Tea have opened the doors to many different drinks and dishes and soups. I’m really glad to hear your publishing a book, and throughly intend on purchasing it, and any other you may someday publish. But none the less, I wanted to thank you. I’ve wanted to learn to cook authentic Chinese food since I was a small boy, and this blog has been a major pivotal point in making that desire a reality, and the fact that your publishing a book simply means that the chance of the same happening for others will be magnified.

    I hope this finds you in a good mood, or brings you out of a foul one. Maybe one day I’ll run a restaurant, and have you in for a meal. But none the less, your blog, along with others you’ve linked to (Mostly Wandering Chopsticks) have really helped shape my own culinary style and given me so much insight and opened so many doors for the horizon. Thank you :D don’t stop writing.

    Also, On a side note, Do you have any good use for a Turip aside from Turnip cake? I’ve got one in my kitchen and while I love the flavor from them, I’ve no damned clue what to do with the thing aside from mash it. And I’d rather not end up in a Turnip Abuse program. Thank you kindly :)

  63. K February 16, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    I’ve been referring to your blog for recipe ideas for the past year now since I moved to the east coast and realized I had to learn how to make my favorite dishes at home. Good luck on your new book.

    Growing up in San Francisco I developed an obsession with black sesame rolls during my family’s weekend dim sum meals at Hong Kong Teahouse, New Asia, or Dol Ho. But the best black sesame rolls were from Hong Kong Teahouse. Sadly once the owners closed their business finding a properly made black sesame roll have been like searching for a mythical treasure. My mom explained to me that this is a labor intensive dessert to make. Today, restaurants or bakeries would either make them too soft, too thick, or just tasteless – or don’t even offer it. Even in New York’s Chinatown and Sunset Park, finding a decent black sesame roll have been inconsistent. I guess it’s not a very popular dessert these days.

  64. Will February 27, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    Long time reader, first time poster. Thanks for all of your great recipes and explanations that you have put up on here. I’m very excited about your upcoming book, can’t wait to pick up a copy. Congrats!

    As far as dishes, the one dish that was a favorite of mine as a child was chao gai kew/ chao ji qiu (炒鸡求). My family and I used to order it all the time at our favorite Chinese restaurant. Since they closed 5 years ago, I haven’t been able to track down a restaurant that has it. Nor have I found a legitimate recipe.

    Also, after living in Beijing for a year, specifically 小西天, I have been in love with Ma Lan La Mian’s Hui Mian (马兰拉面的烩面). Thanks and take care!

  65. Jennifer February 28, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    I just found your blog and have been eyeing lots of recipes, I have the green onion pancake one bookmarked on my phone. :) I live in Oregon now and don’t have access to my mom’s cooking or to any places that make decent Chinese so I have to make everything myself now.

    I’d love to buy a book that tells me how to make: roast pork, roast duck, cow tongue, duck feet, pig feet, steamed chicken with ginger & scallions, sticky rice sweet & savory kinds (I prefer it wrapped in bamboo leaves and tied with twine), those dumplings that I think translate into little dragon buns that you steam. Oh! And this street vendor food I discovered in Shanghai like shao long bao but with puffy skins (like mantou) and is fried upside down with pan-fried dumplings. Sorry for the long wish list, and the not very good descriptions! :) These are the foods I lament not that there isn’t Chinatown for hours around.

  66. Anonymous February 28, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    Oops, “now that there isn’t…”

  67. Amy C. March 3, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    Hey D- wish you had told me this news. I was just scrolling through the blog for recipe ideas, and saw this posting. CONGRATS! I can’t wait to tell my parents. : ) How about dried fried beef ho fun? Did you ever go to Chinatown Cafe in Boston? Since I work 2 blocks from there, I go often, and their ho fun was always a childhood favorite.

  68. Kevin March 9, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    Hey, great blog, but I was wondering – does the upcoming cookbook affect the recipes on this site? Your wonderful pineapple chicken recipe has mysteriously disappeared! I can find partial cached versions, but whenever it links to your blog, it says access denied :(

  69. Denise - Toronto March 13, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    We have a really good kosher Chinese restaurant nearby but it’s really expensive so I try to cook Chinese at home.

    I’d like to know for black bean chicken how much of a jar of black bean sauce to use? I can’t make mine from scratch as I can’t buy kosher fermented black beans. I have a precious jar of b.b. sauce from Israel and don’t want to waste it.

    I was waiting to post here until I’d tried something but had to add my two cents worth! My son wants Gen. Tso from a bottle (!!) and I’m dying to make yours and just casually serve it up and wait for comments.

    Do you have a good recipe for crispy beef – our local restaurant makes it, it’s sweetish with sesame seeds?

    Also – have you ever made/tried bowties? They are sweet crispy pastries that were always served at the end of a Chinese meal in southern Africa where I come from. I have a recipe if you like. Am sure it’s not an authentic dish but as we have said, some “American Chinese” food is good.

  70. dianakuan March 31, 2011 at 10:35 pm #

    Ryan – I’m rather late to replying, but still wanted to say thank you so much for such a kind comment.  I’m rereading this after spending several long weeks cocooned in my apartment working on the manuscript, and just sent in a big chunk today, and this definitely found me in a good (and relieved!) mood.

    If you’re still looking for recipes for Chinese turnip / daikon radish, I have a Sichuan braised beef and daikon recipes I can email you.

  71. dianakuan March 31, 2011 at 10:47 pm #

    K – Oh gosh, I don’t even remember the last time I saw a black sesame roll. Maybe Hong Kong. I agree, it’s a shame that you can’t really find them anywhere in the US. I love black sesame anything (except maybe dessert soup) and would love to sink my teeth into one right now. The texture would probably make it very difficult to replicate without seeing one made in person. If you find a decent black sesame roll anywhere in SF (or other city), please let me know!

  72. dianakuan March 31, 2011 at 10:50 pm #

    Thanks, Will! Did you have chao gai kew in a restaurant in the US or in China (or somewhere else)?

  73. dianakuan March 31, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    Jennifer – Welcome to the site! Well, I can’t make any promises on duck feet or cow tongue, but roasting recipes will surely be in my book. And I’d love to learn to work with pig’s trotters myself!

  74. dianakuan March 31, 2011 at 10:56 pm #

    Thanks, Ames! Mmm, I could go for some beef ho fun right now. We should hit up Chinatown Cafe the next time I’m in Boston, which should be in the coming months!

  75. Angela April 5, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

    I’m grew up in Chicago and when I was a kid, I used to eat 銀針粉 all the time. I would love to see the recipe for that in your book. I’m looking forward to reading it!

  76. Gillion April 29, 2011 at 4:18 am #

    Have you tried dumplings and roast ducks? They are the famous and traditional Beijing dieshes. And also bird’s nest soup? Its a delicacy in China.

    Enjoy your days~~~


  77. Evangeline August 31, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

    What about Beef and Broccoli and Chicken and Broccoli?

  78. Hungry Female February 9, 2012 at 9:04 am #

    Congratulations! I’ve just come back from BJ myself and loved your blog as it gave me recipes to what I loved there. So can only imagine your book with be fantastic! Perhaps more Straits Chinese but everyone loves Hainanese Chicken Rice! Looking forward to hearing about your progress!

  79. Simon March 4, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    hi Diana,

    I’m not sure about take outs because i cook a lot at home, and mostly dine at places. But I would love to see your take on cantonese crispy pork belly. I had this amazingly melt in the mouth succulent pork belly in Hong Kong which i simply can’t forget.

    It would be cool if you found a way to bust the myth of how those impressive cleaverboys do it in the streets of hong kong.


  80. Terry March 7, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    I found your site today while looking for “Chinese Lemon Chicken” and will make it for my wife and I tomorrow. I like the background that you give with each recipe as well as your easy to follow instructions. As for suggestions for your book – I love “Mongolian Beef” and the fact that I can add or subtract the chilis to determine the heat. Looking forward to your book!

  81. Michael June 1, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

    Just stumbled onto this site today whilst looking for chinese takeout books and recipes. I’d love to know how these takeout places make beef so tender, my favorites are beef and broccoli and beef and tofu. Another favorite are pork chops like Salt and Chili Pepper Pork Chops and Caiptal Pork Chops.

    Looking forward to the publication !


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