Chinese culinary history

One great Chinese puzzle remains its cuisine

A truth that ought to be universally acknowledged is that Chinese food, while much loved, is underappreciated. China certainly has one of the world’s most sophisticated cuisines, yet while there’s a Chinese restaurant in almost every town, there’s little dependable information about it in English aimed at the general reader. Jonathan Clements addresses this in The Emperor’s Feast, a galloping journey through thousands of years of Chinese culinary history, from origin myths through numerous dynasties, the Opium Wars and the Cultural Revolution, right up to the present day. At the start he says his work has been ‘a quest to find out what Chinese food actually is’, by shedding light