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

The deep roots of global inequality

Thomas Piketty, the French economist who shot to fame for writing a colossal work of economics that many people bought but few actually read, recently received some advice. ‘What you write is interesting,’ a friend told him, ‘but couldn’t you make it a little shorter?’ Piketty has answered the call for brevity with a book which by his standards is the equivalent of a Post-it note. It’s certainly ‘brief”– but is it a ‘history of equality’? Alas, no. What we have instead is an eye-wateringly left-wing manifesto for dismantling economic inequality, both domestically and internationally. ‘Inequality is first of all a social, historical and political construction,’ Piketty writes, and the