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Sep 13, 2007 06:38 AM

Susanna Foo: Fresh Inspiration. Opinions?

Hello -

I am in the market for a Chinese cookbook. I'd like something a little more formal than the usual "Stir Fry in 10 Minutes" types of books, or ones that have mostly deep fried fish/chicken. I'd like something I can use for small dinner parties and serve food people might not have had before. I have Barra tropp's books, but wondering what else is out there.

I saw Susanna Foo's latest book and it looks pretty promising. Anyone tried it?


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  1. Susanna Foo's recipes ar more "fusion" then classic Chinese. They are excellent, but require extra prep, as most restaurant-oriented books do.

    Which Tropp book do you prefer, "Modern Art" or "China Moon?"


    4 Replies
    1. re: Big Bunny

      Modern Art by a landslide. China Moon is a great concept (Chinese Bistro), but darn near everything demands a couple of sub-recipes. Sure, many of them would store just fine (most are oils/pastes, etc), but would hog up space in my fridge or counter.

      Fusion is fine. I am not interested so much in perfectly authentic as I am in making food that is great and different.

      1. re: Westy

        You might enjoy either of Susanna Foo's books, then. They are sort-of between the Tropp books in style - "restauranty" but not as much so as "China Moon."

        I must confess that I haven't cooked anything from Foo or "China Moon" because I love to explore traditional Chinese so much.

        I have done about 30 recipes from Fuchsia Dunlop's "Land of Plenty" and really love the way it has expanded my Chinese cooking, but is still "traditional."

        Martin Yan's "Chinatown Cooking" is great, too - traditional Chinese updated and adapted around the world.


        1. re: Big Bunny

          hey! I have that book as well. The roasted duck recipe is really very good.

        2. re: Westy

          China Moon _does_ involve a lot of prep, but most of the sub-recipes are not at all difficult. One could stock a pantry with most of the oils, sauces, spice mixes, etc, in an afternoon. Once you have these things on hand, however, the recipes are generally not too involved. I've been cooking from China Moon for over ten years and it's only one of two cookbooks I own in which every recipe I've tried has been a success. As an owner of over 200 cookbooks, I can assure this is rare.

          (The other one is Marcella's Classic Italian Cooking)

      2. I've seen, but not yet purchased, her newest book. However, I have her book "Chinese Cuisine" and I love it -- the recipes are upscale, well written and have consistently turn out well.

        1. Susanna Foo's first book is good, but I cannot recommend her latest. For authentic Chinese, the really greatest out there now is Fuschia Dunlop (Land of Plenty or Revolutionary Chinese). I also have all of Nina Simonds's books, and her China Express or Chinese Seasons, which is organized by season and provides menus, might suit you.

          1 Reply
          1. re: janeer

            Fuchsia Dunlop's cookbooks are both superb.

          2. I got rid of mu Barbara Tropp books, I'd look at a recipe and the sub recipes that were required and say to myself that is not going to happen. I had the newest Susanna Foo out of the library and it seemed to precious and clever to me.

            I have both of Fuchsia Dunlop's books, Irene Kuo's Key to Chinese Cooking, several by Eileen Yin Fei Lo, Mai Leung's Classic (Cantonese) Chinese Cook book, several by Ken Lo and assorted Dim Sum and appetizer books.

            For a very interesting perspective on Asian cooking in general you might look for a copy of Corrinne Trang's Essentials of Asian Cooking. It it she studies how a recipe might vary from Asian culture to Asian culture. All of the variations on egg/spring rolls etc. An excellent and fascinating book.