‘A galloping journey through thousands of years of Chinese culinary history . . . a timely reminder that the country’s modern cuisine is the delicious fruit of a rich, ancient and perhaps surprisingly multicultural tradition’ FUCHSIA DUNLOP, SPECTATOR
‘A tasty portrait of a nation’ SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
‘A splendid introduction to the complex history of China‘ GUARDIAN
‘A terrific read . . . Jonathan Clements writes with erudition and humour’ DAILY MAIL
‘This book is itself a feast, each chapter a sumptuous course’
Frederik L. Schodt, author of My Heart Sutra
‘Witty and insightful’
Derek Sandhaus, author of Drunk in China
The history of China – not according to emperors or battles, but according to its food and drink.
The Emperor’s Feast is the epic story of a nation and a people, told through one of its most fundamental pillars and successful exports: food.
Following the journeys of different ingredients, dishes and eating habits over 5,000 years of history, author and presenter Jonathan Clements examines how China’s political, cultural and technological evolution and her remarkable entrance onto the world stage have impacted how the Chinese – and the rest of the world – eat, drink and cook.
We see the influence of invaders such as the Mongols and the Manchus, and discover how food – like the fiery cuisine of Sichuan or the hardy dishes of the north – often became a stand-in for regional and national identities. We also follow Chinese flavours to the shores of Europe and America, where enterprising chefs and home cooks created new traditions and dishes unheard of in the homeland.
From dim sum to mooncakes to General Tso’s chicken, The Emperor’s Feast shows us that the story of Chinese food is ultimately the story of a nation: not just the one that history tells us, but also the one that China tells us about itself.