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Asian Pacific American Heritage Month - Cookbooks & Food

Updated: June 1, 2019

Not to make light of social, political, religious, economic, or territorial differences, but there can be some serious disagreements about food and its preparation. Outside a Los Angeles ethnic market, two men were overheard having a very heated argument about the proper types of “grinding” for coffee. In his recordings cited below, Charles Perry, co-founder of the Culinary Historians of Southern California, talks about the serious and joyous aspects of food.  For countries and cultures with centuries of history, culinary traditions are an important part of secular and religious celebrations, and taken very seriously.

The adobo road cookbook : a Filipino food journey, from food blog to food truck and beyond
Gapultos, Marvin.
Call Number: 641.59914 G211

Angeleno and first-generation Filipino American, Marvin Gapultos, found a calling in making Filipino cuisine better known. This was accomplished in several ways: his blog Burnt Lumpia, The Manila Machine (a food truck), and in this cookbook.


Armenian food : fact, fiction & folklore
Petrosian, Irina.
Call Number: 641.59566 P497 2006

There is a legend that when Alexander of Macedon, in his conquest of the world, laid siege to an Armenian fortress, on the fourth day a white sheet of lavash was hung on the fortress wall. The Macedonian solders shouted, “The Armenians are giving up. They hang the white flag!” Alexander said, “It is bread, not a white flag. It seems to me that they want peace. They send us a message that we are here on earth to eat and live, not to fight.” And Alexander continued his journey. Filled with rich cultural references, folklore, humor, and recipes, this book is a culinary journey of Armenia that will delight anyone, who at one time or another has been interested in culinary traditions of one of the world's most ancient cultures.

Aromas of Aleppo : the legendary cuisine of Syrian Jews
Dweck, Poopa.
Call Number: 641.567 D989

A large format cookbook which combines secular and religious history, with the customs and recipes of, what was, the Aleppian Jewish community in Syria.  Numerous photographs (color and black and white) throughout the book.

A Baghdad cookery book : the book of dishes (Kitāb al-ṭabīkh)
Ibn al-Karīm, Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan, 1184 or 1185-1239 or 1240.
Call Number: 641.59569 I13

This is Charles Perry's new translation of an ancient classic cookbook, which was well known as the only medieval book in English on Arab cookery.

At the Culinary Historians of Southern California meeting, January 11, 2014, Charles Perry presented "A Feast for the Nose:  Perfuming the Banquet in Old Damascus." 


The classic cuisine of Vietnam
Bạch Ngô.
Call Number: 641.59597 B118

There is ever so much more to Vietnamese cooking than banh mi and pho. This book is regarded as the best on the very distinctive cuisine of Vietnam.

Climbing the mango trees : a memoir of a childhood in India
Jaffrey, Madhur, 1933-
Call Number: 641.092 J23

Accomplished actress and cookbook writer Madhur Jaffrey evokes the world of her early childhood as the fortunate child of a very old Hindu famly.

The complete book of Korean cooking : discover the unique tastes of one of the world's great cuisines : over 150 authentic recipes shown step by step in 800 photographs
Song, Young-Jin.
Call Number: 641.59519 S698 folio

A grand cookbook with detailed information about ingredients and techniques; a concise history of Korea and its regions, festivals and celebrations, eating traditions and etiquette, street food and snacks.  There are double-spread color photographs throughout with smaller photos of preparation methods.

Easy Chinese recipes : family favorites from dim sum to kung pao
Low, Bee Yinn.
Call Number: 641.5951 L9115

Chinese cooking has specific techniques which are very exacting. However, the recipes in this book make it possible for everyone to prepare some of the well-known dishes without being a master cook.  The recipes are easy to do!

Eating my way across Uzbekistan Charles Perry.
Perry, Charles, 1941-
Call Number: CD 641.01 C9675Pe-17

Food historian, journalist, and co-founder of the Culinary Historians of Southern California, Charles Perry presents a history of the foods, the cooking utensils, and insights about the influence of  politics on the cuisine of Uzbekistan. This is a recording of the lecture presented by Charles Perry at the Culinary Historians of Southern California meeting, January 12, 2013.

The fortune cookie chronicles : adventures in the world of Chinese food
Lee, Jennifer 8., 1976-
Call Number: 641.0951 L478
Fortune cookies are only part of the story here. Lee takes readers on a journey through the history of Chinese food with a particular emphasis on the dishes that Americans are most familiar with. You'll learn the rise of the Chinese takeout restaurant, go inside the soy sauce wars, and uncover the surprising truth about General Tso's chicken.

Japanese cooking : a simple art
Tsuji, Shizuo, 1933-
Call Number: 641.5952 T8825 2006

This is the comprehensive guide to all aspects of Japanese cooking: history; simple and complex recipes; techniques (slicing, grilling, steaming, simmering, frying, and more); specifics on rice, noodles and sushi; detailed drawings. The twenty-fifth anniversary edition has a wonderful appreciation from Ruth Reichl who had asked M.F.K. Fisher for advice about visiting Japan. Fisher recommended this book, however Reichl was not going to be cooking.  "No," she [M.F.K. Fisher] said in her sphinx-like way, "It is much more than a cookbook."

Jerusalem : a cookbook
Ottolenghi, Yotam.
Call Number: 641.5956 O91

This is a gorgeous cookbook, not only for the color photographs and recipes, but because it pays homage to the diversity, history, and glory of a city that has endured over the centuries. Ottolenghi and Tamimi present us with the complex history of this ancient city through the historical origins of different types of foods and recipes. As in his previous books, Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London's Ottolenghi and Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, Yotam Ottolenghi keeps bringing us recipes for exceptionally good food.

Korean cooking
Chung, Soon Young.
Call Number: 641.59519 C5592-1

Soon Young Chung provides practical tips and methods so that everyone can prepare healthy, tasty Korean recipes. There are color photographs on every page, and a brief history of the cuisine and methods of preparation.  

L.A. son : my life, my city, my food
Choi, Roy,
Call Number: 641.595 C545

Angeleno and rising star in the L.A. culinary landscape, Roy Choi chronicles--with charisma and sincerity--the story of his life and the Los Angeles food scene. From Korean taco inventor with his Kogi truck, to Chego to community-based inititiatives in the inner city, Choi is much more than a celebrity chef. Includes 85 recipes.

Land of fish and rice : recipes from the culinary heart of China
Dunlop, Fuchsia,
Call Number: 641.5951 D922-4

It is not necessary to cook to delight in this spectacularly beautiful and informative cookbook from the knowledgable Fuchsia Dunlop, English writer and Chinese food expert. She explores the culture and food traditions of the Jiangnan region. "Jiangnan spans the eastern coastal provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu, the city of Shanghai and that part of southern Anhui province known as Huizhou," and is known "as the land of fish and rice." Dunlop's thorough presentation of this region's food will be of particular interest to those who love Chinese cuisine.


The Lebanese kitchen
Hage, Salma.
Call Number: 641.59569 H141

A beautiful book with vibrant photographs of prepared foods and scenes in Lebanon. Main dishes include meat, poultry and fish, but the delectable array of vegetable dishes could convert any omnivore to a vegan. At the end of this comprehensive book is a selection of recipes from notable chefs and food writers

Kiazim, Selin,
Call Number: 641.5956 K46

Chef and restaurateur Selin Kiazim presents recipes for Turkish-Cypriot cuisine in this gorgeous book. She presents easy to follow recipes in a clear format, with numerous color photographs.

On the noodle road : from Beijing to Rome, with love and pasta
Lin-Liu, Jen.
Call Number: 641.6311 L7355

What country or place is the origin of the noodle, aka pasta, and to which should credit be given--China or Italy, or does it matter?  Jen Lin-Liu travels from east to west, starting in western China, moving through central Asia, Iran, Turkey, Greece and Italy, and retraces selected parts of the Silk Route whose travelers became the great disseminators of products and ideas.  She eats good food along the way, learns new cooking techniques, however as for the answer to the noodle's origin,  she concludes that because of the travel and trade on the Silk Route, "The answer was lost in the steppes of Central Asia, the deserts of Iran, and the mountains and valleys of Asia Minor." 

Palestine on a plate : memories from my mother's kitchen
Kalla, Joudie,
Call Number: 641.59569 K138

Joudie Kalla shares her family's heritage of great Palestinian home cooking, which has been passed on from her mother, her grandmother and all the women who cooked before. Throughout the book there are spectacular color photographs of people, places and food. Kalla includes a table of contents, an index, and for unique ingredients there is a list of U.S. suppliers.

Plenty more : vibrant vegetable cooking from London's Ottolenghi
Ottolenghi, Yotam.
Call Number: 641.65 O91

Another wonderful book from Ottolenghi, who brought us Plenty : vibrant vegetable recipes from London's Ottolenghi, and an LAPL  2012 Best Non-Fiction pick, Jerusalem : a cookbook. He and his staff surpass themselves with more tasty vegetarian dishes with different and unusual flavors.


Red hot kitchen : classic Asian chili sauces from scratch and delicious dishes to make with them
Kuan, Diana,
Call Number: 641.3384 K953

Chef and cooking instructor Diana Kuan offers up a selection of chili sauces and dishes to go with them, and everything can be made at home.  There is a guide to heat intensity of ten chili peppers; types of rice and noodles; spices, vinegars and cooking oils; vegetables; cooking utensils; and online sources. Instructions for recipes are presented in a user-friendly format with beautiful full page color photographs.

Rice, noodle, fish : deep travels through Japan's food culture
Goulding, Matt.
Call Number: 641.0952 G698

In Japan, art and food meld into one, from the small local eatery to the more revered restaurants. Matt Goulding editor at the online journal Roads & Kingdoms, savors and appreciates the works of "shokunins" or artisans who take pride in the preparation and presentation of food. Goulding conveys such delight in what he experiences that readers will be salivating and dreaming of taking a foodie trip to Japan.

The seventh daughter : my culinary journey from Beijing to San Francisco
Chiang, Cecilia.
Call Number: 641.5951 C532-1

In 1961, Cecilia Chiang's restaurant, The Mandarin, introduced authentic northern Chinese cuisine to San Francisco. This book is part memoir and part cookbook with many family recipes and signature recipes from the restaurant, and the author's own story of growing up in Communist China and postwar Japan and becoming the accidental owner of a restaurant.

Smoke & pickles : recipes and stories from a new southern kitchen
Lee, Edward, 1972-
Call Number: 641.5975 L477

Korean-American Edward Lee raises the bar on great fusion food. His Korean grandmother cooked every day in a very tiny windowless kitchen in Brooklyn. Her traditional foods became a lodestone for Lee's new location in Louisville, Kentucky where he found many parallels in cooking:  a love of pickling, BBQ, jerky, and always, always loads of complex flavors. Edward Lee has given us a lovely book to read, with stories, information and recipes. Full-page color photographs amplify the mouthwatering recipes.

Soup for Syria : recipes to celebrate our shared humanity
Massaad, Barbara Abdeni, compiler, photographer.
Call Number: 641.71 M414

To bring money and attention to the crisis in Syria, photographer Barbara Abdeni Massaad asked world food writers, chefs and others to contribute a favorite soup recipe to a cookbook. Working with Interlink Press, the profits of the cookbook project “ . . .  will be donated to the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR to provide urgently needed food relief for Syrian refugees.”


A thousand and one "fritters" food in the Arabian nights
Perry, Charles, 1941-
Call Number: CD 641.01 C9675Pe-16

Charles Perry discusses literature, food and history. This is a recording of a lecture presented by him at the Culinary Historians of Southern California meeting, January 14, 2012.

Vietnamese food any day : simple recipes for true, fresh flavors
Nguyen, Andrea Quynhgiao,
Call Number: 641.59597 N576-3

Andrea Nguyen, food writer and chef, shows everyone how to make fresh Vietnamese dishes:  bánh mì, soups, seafood and meat dishes, salads, sweets and coffee, and more. She includes her special recipe for perfect rice, and a super-simple recipe for overnight rice porridge that includes all the toppings and add-ins.