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  3. 10 Best Chinese Cookbooks UK 2023 | Ken Hom, Gok Wan and More
  • 10 Best Chinese Cookbooks UK 2023 | Ken Hom, Gok Wan and More 1
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10 Best Chinese Cookbooks UK 2023 | Ken Hom, Gok Wan and More

Love Chinese food but are not confident enough to replicate your favourite takeaway and restaurant dishes at home? That won't be a problem with our selection of cookbooks! Forget about egg fried rice or chow mein, why not challenge yourself to make authentic Cantonese dim sum, baos, dumplings or even regional Chinese dishes? 


Even if you have special dietary requirements such as being vegan or vegetarian, you're still invited to this Chinese banquet! In this article, we've included an introduction to the cuisine, a detailed buying guide and a list of our favourite modern and classic Chinese cookbooks available from Amazon. Be ready to have a whole new world opened up to you! 

Last updated 30/01/2023
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Table of Contents

An Introduction to the Chinese Cuisine

An Introduction to the Chinese Cuisine

You might be very familiar with the menu of your favourite Chinese restaurant or takeaway, but did you know the dishes on the menu originates from different regions of China? We're going to give you a quick lecture on the different schools of Chinese cuisines.


To begin with, Chinese cuisine can be divided into northern cuisine and southern cuisine. The northern diet is wheat-based, with staple foods such as dumplings, noodles and pancakes. Due to the geographic location, historically the northern cuisine contains more meat dishes and only a small variety of vegetable dishes. 


With more resources in the south of China, the southern diet consists of rice and a variety of vegetables, meat and seafood. The flavours of southern cuisine are usually sweet and light while the northern diet prefers salty, heavier flavours. 

Get to Know the Chinese Culinary Regions

Get to Know the Chinese Culinary Regions

Chinese cuisine can also be divided into eight culinary cuisines as each has its own distinctive flavours and cooking style. Seven of the culinary cuisines are southern and only one is northern. Here's quick introduction to each of them:

 

  • Cantonese: The most widely known Chinese cuisine in the world, Cantonese cuisine highlights the original flavours of the ingredients and is accompanied by very few condiments. The flavours are usually sweet and mild.

  • Jiangsu: A very refined gourmet cuisine that's often served at government banquets. Dishes are usually rich in aroma and colourful in visual presentation. Sweet and sour ribs is a very famous Jiangsu dish.

  • Sichuan: Well known for the hot, spicy and mouth-numbing flavours, dishes often consists of a large amount of chilli, ginger, and, of course, Sichuan peppercorns.

  • Hunan: Though similar to the hot and spicy Sichuan cuisine, mouth-numbing chillis aren't used. Hunan cuisine is generally sour and salty.

  • Shandong: The only northern cuisine, Shandong cuisine was served as court food during the Ming and Qing dynasty. Dishes are cooked under high temperatures to retain the original flavour of the ingredients and are often accompanied by condiments such as garlic and onion.

  • Zhejiang: Historically known as the richest province in China, Zhejiang cuisine is typically refined and focuses on retaining the original flavours through steaming or stewing the dishes. Shaoxing wine is often used to increase the aroma and flavour of the dishes.

  • Fujian: With milder flavours of sweetness and sourness, Fujian cuisines often uses lees (red residual yeast) for its slight acidic and aromatic properties. Both seafood and wild foods are prevalent. 

  • Anhui: The least-known Chinese cuisine, due to the location within the inland provinces, Anhui food is known for incorporating wild delicacies such as herbs, fungi and vegetables into its dishes. Cooking time and temperature varies according to the ingredients to maximise the flavour. 

How to Choose a Chinese Cookbook in the UK – Buying Guide

Now that you're clued up on Chinese cuisine and its regional differences, it's time to choose a cookbook. Our detailed buying guide will help you do just that by considering the type of cuisine, the number of recipes, whether there are any photographs and more. 

1

Decide What Type of Chinese Cuisine You Want to Cook

The first decision to make when choosing your cookbook is what type, or types, of cuisine you'd like to make. Do you want a book that shows you how to make Chinese takeaway dishes or are you looking to challenge yourself with new flavours and techniques? Choose from the styles below. 

Have a Taste of Everything With 'General' Chinese Cookbooks

Have a Taste of Everything With 'General' Chinese Cookbooks

If you think of which Chinese meals you'd like to recreate at home, chances are that these dishes belong to various culinary cuisines. For example, sweet and sour ribs are from Jiangsu while Kung Pao chicken originates in Sichuan.


So, unless you're very fond of a specific type of Chinese cuisine, we think a 'general' cookbook will be the best choice as it'll include popular recipes that originate from different parts of China. You'll find dishes that are familiar to you as well as some unknown ones that are guaranteed to sound just as appetising!


Sometimes, you'll even find cookbooks that go beyond 'general' and introduce dishes from every single region of China, including those that are lesser-known to the world. These are great for those wanting to expand their horizons a bit. 

Look to Cantonese or Hong Kong Food for Easily Acceptable Flavours

Look to Cantonese or Hong Kong Food for Easily Acceptable Flavours

If you can confidently say dim sum is your favourite Chinese food, you'll probably love Cantonese cuisine! With dishes like char siu (sweet roasted pork), siu mai (a popular dim sum), noodles and clay pot rice, Cantonese cuisine has a magical appeal that attracts the curiosity of Westerners and makes them fall in love with the easily acceptable mild and sweet flavours.

 
That's not the only reason Cantonese cuisine is the most well-known Chinese cuisine in the world, though. Historically, most Chinese immigrants are from the Canton region and, as they settled down in various parts of the world, they brought their cuisine with them. Hence, you'll always find Cantonese food in whichever country you're in.


You might also like Hong Kong food as this type of cuisine is literally the combination of the best bits of Cantonese and Western food. Think egg waffles, egg tarts, wonton soup, milk tea and more – we've never met anyone who dislikes these delicacies! 

Recreate Your Favourite Takeaways Quickly and Easily

Recreate Your Favourite Takeaways Quickly and Easily

It is true that Chinese takeaways are the quickest way to fill your cravings for Chinese food, but with takeaway-style cookbooks, you'll be able to cook all your usual orders at home. From starters like prawn toast to popular rice and noodle dishes, you'll basically have the menu of a takeaway shop in your hands!


Typically easy and quick to make, you won't need complicated ingredients to produce these delicious and comforting dishes. Some can even take as little as 20 minutes to recreate, making this type of cookbook perfect for less experienced cooks. 

Challenge Your Cooking Skills With Dim Sum or Dumpling Cookbooks

Challenge Your Cooking Skills With Dim Sum or Dumpling Cookbooks

Do you enjoy challenging yourself in the kitchen? You might enjoy cookbooks that specifically focus on dim sum or dumplings. These cookbooks will include all the recipes and instructions, so all that's left for you to do is to have a little patience and believe in your skills of wrapping them nicely.


We've featured two cookbooks on our ranking list that will be of interest to dumpling lovers. Do not worry about the content being repetitious, though, as they also include some other recipes for dishes like bao buns and noodles! 

2

A Manageable Amount of Recipes Will Motivate You to Cook

A Manageable Amount of Recipes Will Motivate You to Cook

We've all been there: we want a cookbook containing the most recipes so we get our money's worth! There is absolutely nothing wrong with this mentality if you're extremely eager to learn how to cook Chinese food. 


Books with over 250 recipes will more than satisfy your curiosity about the various Chinese dishes that are not known by too many people in the west. You'll never run out of things to make! 


But if your main goal is to cook a few of your favourite Chinese dishes (and do it well), a cookbook with approximately 75+ recipes will be perfectly sufficient for you to regularly rotate the menu while continuously pleasing your taste buds with Chinese flavours. 

3

Photography Helps to Visualise the Dishes You're About to Make

Photography Helps to Visualise the Dishes You're About to Make

It's always nice to have some visual reference when cooking, especially if you're trying to master a new recipe. It provides a better guide of how you should be preparing and cooking the dish, plus, it's also a successful marketing strategy that encourages you to buy the book and get even more excited to try your hand at recreating everything yourself. 


Even though most cookbooks nowadays come with plenty of photographs, we'd like to remind you to always ensure the book comes with a sufficient amount, especially if you're a visual learner or a beginner. You can do this by looking online or consulting previous buyers' reviews and descriptions. 

4

Choose a Book Format That You're Comfortable Cooking With

Choose a Book Format That You're Comfortable Cooking With

It's totally understandable that some people prefer eBooks over hardcover books: sometimes the e-version is cheaper or you simply enjoy having all your books on one device. Other people, meanwhile, would much prefer cooking with an actual book and having the opportunity to add it to their collection or gift it to a loved one. 


Either version will not affect your cooking experience as the hardcover and Kindle version has identical content, though we'd like to remind you that the digital version only contains black and white images!

Was the Buying Guide helpful?

Top 10 Best Chinese Cookbooks in the UK

You've finally made it to this part, so it's time to reveal the top 10 Chinese cookbooks that all of us have been waiting for. Spoiler alert: you'll definitely want some Chinese food after reading this ranking list!
Popularity
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Key features
1

Fuchsia Dunlop

Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking

Fuchsia Dunlop Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking 1枚目

£17.39

Mid

Cook Confidently With Authentic Ingredients

2

Kowklyn Wan

Chinese Takeaway in 5

Kowklyn Wan Chinese Takeaway in 5 1枚目

£10.38

Low Mid

Takeaway Classics Made Easy With Only 5 Ingredients

3

Gok Wan

Gok Cooks Chinese

Gok Wan Gok Cooks Chinese 1枚目

£17.99

Mid

Passionate Recipes to Suit All Occasions and Moods

4

The Dumpling Sisters

The Dumpling Sisters Cookbook: Over 100 Favourite Recipes From A Chinese Family Kitchen

The Dumpling Sisters The Dumpling Sisters Cookbook: Over 100 Favourite Recipes From A Chinese Family Kitchen 1枚目

£14.78

Mid

Comforting Cantonese Home Dishes

5

Brendan Pang

This Is a Book About Dumplings

Brendan Pang This Is a Book About Dumplings 1枚目

£12.99

Mid

Enjoy Both Traditional and Fusion Dumplings

6

Kwoklyn Wan

The Veggie Chinese Takeaway Cookbook

Kwoklyn Wan The Veggie Chinese Takeaway Cookbook 1枚目

£10.94

Low Mid

Veggie Versions of Your Favourite Chinese Dishes

7

Jeremy Pang

Hong Kong Diner

Jeremy Pang Hong Kong Diner 1枚目

£6.80

Low

Where East Meets West

8

Terry Tan

China: A Cookbook

Terry Tan China: A Cookbook 1枚目

£20.00

High Mid

Exploring Dishes From Big Cities to Remote Rural Landscapes

9

Ken Hom

Complete Chinese Cookbook

Ken Hom Complete Chinese Cookbook 1枚目

£19.12

High Mid

Simple Recipes That'll Never Fail to Impress

10

Wilson Tang and Joshua David Stein

The Nom Wah Cookbook

Wilson Tang and Joshua David Stein The Nom Wah Cookbook 1枚目

£25.33

High

Dim Sum and the History of Cantonese Food in New York

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No.1

Fuchsia DunlopEvery Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking

Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£17.39
Mid
Reference price
£17.39
Mid

Cook Confidently With Authentic Ingredients

We absolutely adore this book, mainly as it is the most beginner-friendly introduction to Chinese cuisine. Dunlop carefully explains the flavours of any potentially unfamiliar ingredients and even provides product appearances, as well as plentiful pictures and easy-to-understand descriptions. 


Inspired by the home cooking of southern China, the recipes in this book are comforting, delicious and utilise the perfect balance of vegetables, meat and fish. And with Dunlop's passion for Sichuan cuisine, you'll find several recipes with her favourite spicy dishes, too! 

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No.2

Kowklyn WanChinese Takeaway in 5

Chinese Takeaway in 5 Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Chinese Takeaway in 5 Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Chinese Takeaway in 5 Image 3
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£10.38
Low Mid
Reference price
£10.38
Low Mid

Takeaway Classics Made Easy With Only 5 Ingredients

You've got no excuses for not cooking Chinese food at home as each recipe in this book only requires 5 ingredients! What's better is that most of the ingredients used can be easily found at your local supermarket, so you'll never have to worry about not being able to make specific dishes. 


The book covers a variety of dishes including soups, starters and even desserts, with some recipes that only take 20 minutes to prepare and cook. You'll be able to cook an impressive three-course Chinese meal in no time at all! 

No.3

Gok WanGok Cooks Chinese

Gok Cooks Chinese Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£17.99
Mid
Reference price
£17.99
Mid

Passionate Recipes to Suit All Occasions and Moods

Whether you want a quick street food snack or you fancy challenging yourself to make a Chinese feast, this book has it all covered. From recipes for the ever-popular lobster noodles to Wans' family favourites, dim sum and one-pot meals, there's a dish in here to suit any occasion or mood


You will be inspired and motivated by Gok's passion for cooking as soon as you open the book, plus, you'll be blown away by the variety of flavours and dishes. You'll probably challenge yourself to make all the recipes at least once, and we don't blame you!

No.4

The Dumpling SistersThe Dumpling Sisters Cookbook: Over 100 Favourite Recipes From A Chinese Family Kitchen

The Dumpling Sisters Cookbook: Over 100 Favourite Recipes From A Chinese Family Kitchen Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£14.78
Mid
Reference price
£14.78
Mid

Comforting Cantonese Home Dishes

With a successful Youtube channel, The Dumpling Sisters continue to spread the comfort and warmth of Cantonese homestyle dishes. You mustn't miss out on the potsticker recipe as readers commented it's the most successful they've ever made – it was even featured on Jamie Oliver's channel.


The sisters are also keen on educating the western audience about Chinese culture and provide tips for perfecting your chopstick skills, so you can impress both your Chinese and other friends. It also includes a sharing menu planner so you can prepare a Cantonese feast next time you host a dinner party! 

No.5

Brendan PangThis Is a Book About Dumplings

This Is a Book About Dumplings Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
This Is a Book About Dumplings Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£12.99
Mid
Reference price
£12.99
Mid

Enjoy Both Traditional and Fusion Dumplings

Are you craving wontons or having a wild thought of combining red curry with dumplings? Well, this book will blow your mind. With both a Chinese and a Mauritian background, Pang is eager to bring you on a journey of making both traditional and fusion dumplings!


The easy-to-follow instructions will turn you into a dumpling pro in no time. What's more, this book also offers other recipes like BBQ pork steamed bao and spicy Dan Dan noodles – so you can choose whether to impress your mates with your delicious dumplings or those Instafamous baos!

No.6

Kwoklyn WanThe Veggie Chinese Takeaway Cookbook

The Veggie Chinese Takeaway Cookbook Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
The Veggie Chinese Takeaway Cookbook Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£10.94
Low Mid
Reference price
£10.94
Low Mid

Veggie Versions of Your Favourite Chinese Dishes

Whether you're vegetarian or simply want to reduce your meat consumption, this book will show that you can still enjoy your favourite Chinese dishes! Love hoisin duck? You can easily make hoisin glazed tempeh thanks to Kwoklyn Wan, as well as more delights like mock char sui, summer rolls and Kung Pow cauliflower. 


Some of you may also be glad to know that you can veganise the dishes without having to make any extra effort at all. Just remember that vegetarian recipes don't necessarily equate to healthier meals, if that's what you're after – you'll find quite a number of deep-fried dishes in this book.

No.7

Jeremy PangHong Kong Diner

Hong Kong Diner Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Hong Kong Diner Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£6.80
Low
Reference price
£6.80
Low

Where East Meets West

A cuisine with Cantonese roots and Western influence, Pang will demonstrate to you the definition of Hong Kong food with recipes including famous street food, snacks, desserts and more that are unique to this tiny yet fully equipped city. You'll be surprised by both the familiar western flavours and the not-so-Chinese taste!


There are some perfectly beginner-friendly recipes, but you'll also find dishes that require patience or specific cookware to master those authentic Hong Kong flavours. But if you want to learn and experience the vibrant and exciting life of Hong Kong through food, this is the one for you. 

No.8

Terry TanChina: A Cookbook

China: A Cookbook Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
China: A Cookbook Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
China: A Cookbook Image 3
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£20.00
High Mid
Reference price
£20.00
High Mid

Exploring Dishes From Big Cities to Remote Rural Landscapes

You'll have a chance to explore the various climates, geography and even culinary history while learning to make dishes from all regions of China with this book. From dishes popular in big cities to unusual local delicacies, be prepared to be charmed by the author's passion and absorbing photography. 


With a total of 300 recipes and 624 pages, this book is a Chinese culinary encyclopedia that might be slightly excessive for those who just want to enjoy the occasional Chinese meal at home.

No.9

Ken HomComplete Chinese Cookbook

Complete Chinese Cookbook Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£19.12
High Mid
Reference price
£19.12
High Mid

Simple Recipes That'll Never Fail to Impress

As the pioneer who brought Chinese cookery into the lives of many British families, you're bound to see success with Hom's recipes. You'll be surprised to find him turning a few simple ingredients into authentically flavoured Chinese dishes – great news for those Western home kitchens just starting to cook Chinese food!


While this book includes some photography, each dish is not necessarily accompanied by an image, so you'll have to do extra research if you're unfamiliar with some of the recipes or techniques. 

No.10

Wilson Tang and Joshua David SteinThe Nom Wah Cookbook

The Nom Wah Cookbook Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£25.33
High
Reference price
£25.33
High

Dim Sum and the History of Cantonese Food in New York

Written by the owner of New York's most iconic dim sum restaurant (which has been going for 100 years!), Tang is dedicated to showing you the secrets of how to make the most authentic Cantonese dim sum including baos and noodles. It's also a book where you'll learn about the different stories of Chinese immigrants settling in New York City in the past century. 


This might not be the easiest Chinese cookbook for beginners as it will require patience and some skill, but as long you follow the instructions, you'll find everyone in the house enjoying your dim sun and asking for more. 

Top 5 Chinese Cookbooks

No. 1: Fuchsia DunlopEvery Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking

No. 2: Kowklyn WanChinese Takeaway in 5

No. 3: Gok WanGok Cooks Chinese

No. 4: The Dumpling SistersThe Dumpling Sisters Cookbook: Over 100 Favourite Recipes From A Chinese Family Kitchen

No. 5: Brendan PangThis Is a Book About Dumplings

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