China Town Kitchen: From Noodles to Nuoc Cham

Image of Chinatown Kitchen: From Noodles to Nuoc Cham. Delicious Dishes from Southeast Asian Ingredients.
Release Date: 
July 7, 2015
Mitchell Beazley
Reviewed by: 

“A fun, exciting, and succulent read.

Famous London food blogger Lizzie Mabbott, also known as “Hollowlegs,” has written her debut book, hurrah!  

Flick through the vibrant, tantalizing, mouth-watering pages of this book and you will immediately feel a certain malnourishment for having to actually cook the recipes and not having it delivered to the mouth on the spot! The hankering feels unfair because the recipes feel so familiar on every level of having eaten it in China Town made worse by Mabbott’s quirky twists and turns in ingredients to make things sound utterly delicious! Reads easy to create, too.

Chinese Spag Bol with pork and yellow bean paste looks and sounds like something that would be demolished silently around the family table in minutes, complete with loud burps at the end as the South East Asians do to compliment a meal.

The book of recipes contain an amount of fusion—or at least the title of the dishes sound fusion. “I’ve Asian-ed it” as Mabbott puts it with Udon Carbonara with nori, bacon, purple sprouting broccoli and parmesan. Oh, the cravings!

The recipes jump randomly from country to country, something Japanese to Vietnamese, Chinese to Korean in no particular order other than the categorization between rice and noodles, sauces and condiments, pickles and preserves and so on. The book’s aim to help a novice around the intimidating Asian grocery stores lists a description of essential ingredients with graphic illustrations throughout.

Stories of Mabbott’s childhood memories as well as her travels around the Far East are chatty, witty, and enticing to read. It almost becomes a bit of a disappointment that the book finishes and the recipes end because she writes with warmth and humor as if she’s there guiding you as your best friend through each delicious recipe. The how-to pages such as Vietnamese Summer Rolls and Sichuan Wontons are also really useful for beginners.

Favorite recipes to try are Black Sticky Rice with Mango, Malaysian Curry Mee, Wintermelon Braised with Dried Shrimps, Lobster in Tamarind Sauce, Durain Ice Cream, Tempura Soft Shell Crab Burgers, Sichuan Preserved Vegetables, Egg and Tomato Noodles, and Xenjiang Lamb Skewers.

A fun, exciting, and succulent read.