Dim sum

Sticky, slithery, squelchy, smacky: the authentic Chinese food experience

During the early days of the pandemic, a video clip of a Chinese celebrity slurping bat soup went viral – no matter that it was taken from a travel show filmed in 2016 on Palau, a Pacific island some 2,000 miles from the Huanan wet market in Wuhan, and regardless of the fact that the Chinese don’t like munching on bats in any case. Wuhan was Covid ground zero, and filthy Chinese eating habits were to blame. In Invitation to a Banquet, Fuchsia Dunlop sets out to skewer misconceptions about what she calls ‘the world’s most sophisticated gastronomic culture’. This contention may surprise foreigners brought up on sweet-and-sour pork balls

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