Anyone know of a good Shanghainese cook book? Ideal Eng, but Chineese ok
August 31, 2015 3:53 PM   Subscribe

My girlfriend's family is from Shanghai, but her families recipes are informal and there are many common dishes that she'd love a good cookbook on how to make. Any suggestions?
posted by wooh to Food & Drink (4 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
It might be too southern in focus to really hit the Shanghainese mark, but Fuschia Dunlop's Every Grain of Rice is about Chinese home cooking, so might contain the style of dishes she wants recipes for, rather than more elaborate banquet preparations.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:46 PM on August 31, 2015

My recommendation would be for the Shanghai edition of the Weichuan series. This is a Taiwanese publisher/food corporation and the recipes are typically bilingual (although they sometimes omit msg in the translation... cultural reasons I suppose...?) I don't have the Shanghai one (I'm not a huge fan of Shanghai cuisine), but I have like 5 or 6 other ones and the ones for Chinese cooking are all very good (those for non-Chinese cooking are more uneven...)

I think the list price is $10-15, but they list on most booksellers for crazy prices (because it's out of print and the market is illiquid...). There is a seller for about $30 CAD at right now, and I think you can monitor prices for a while until something comes up. Or they may have it at a local public library if they serve a Chinese speaking population. You may want to buy the Chinese Cuisine title (across all regions, in print and <$10 on amazon) to see if you like the format before committing. It has some SH stuff, but not a whole lot...

Fyi, I've found it extremely challenging to pick up good Chinese language cookbooks from Chinese bookstores. Most Chinese language cookbooks assume you already know how to cook, so usually contain elaborate dishes with pretty pictures and vague instructions. However, if you know the name of the dish you want to cook, you can usually google and get pretty good instructions for different varieties.
posted by yonglin at 7:45 PM on August 31, 2015

I own Fuchsia Dunlop's Every Grain of Rice. I bought it to learn about Sichuan-style home cooking. I really wouldn't recommend it for Shanghainese-style cooking, which is almost a polar opposite from Sichuan. (IMHO, anyway, as a spicy lover who can't stand any sugar in stir-fries.)
posted by serelliya at 8:08 PM on August 31, 2015

This is obviously a super-late response, but for those who are looking at this question later, Fuchsia Dunlop is releasing a new cookbook in July 2016 in the UK (October 2016 in the USA) on the cuisine of Jiangnan, which is the region that includes Shanghai.

I'd normally wait until the cookbook is actually released to post this, but (1) this question will be closed in October when I in the US will get a copy and (2) I've had uniformly excellent experiences with Dunlop's other books.

I would agree that while it's not a Sichuan cookbook (Sichuan Cookery (UK)/Land of Plenty (US) is the one to get), Every Grain of Rice does have a slight Sichuan bias reflecting Dunlop's love of and experience with that cuisine.
posted by andrewesque at 6:41 AM on March 1, 2016

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