Serve the People

A Stir-Fried Journey Through China

By Jen Lin-Liu
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780151012916, 352pp.)

Publication Date: June 2008

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback

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A memorable and mouthwatering cook’s tour of today’s China


As a freelance journalist and food writer living in Beijing, Jen Lin-Liu already had a ringside seat for China’s exploding food scene. When she decided to enroll in a local cooking school—held in an unheated classroom with nary a measuring cup in sight—she jumped into the ring herself. Progressing from cooking student to noodle-stall and dumpling-house apprentice to intern at a chic Shanghai restaurant, she finds poor young men and women streaming in from the provinces in search of a “rice bowl” (living wage); a burgeoning urban middle class hungry for luxury after decades of turmoil and privation; and the mentors who take her in hand in the kitchen and beyond. Together they present an unforgettable slice of contemporary China in the full swing of social and economic transformation.

About the Author

Jen Lin-Liu was raised in southern California, graduated from Columbia University, and came to China in 2000 on a Fulbright fellowship. A food critic for Time Out Beijing and the coauthor of Frommer's Beijing, she has also written for Newsweek, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Saveur, and Food & Wine. She is the founder of Black Sesame Cooking School in Beijing.

Praise For Serve the People

"Lin-Liu is a charming guide to modern China and its kaleidoscopic cuisine."

"a delicately crafted steamed dumpling of a book. ... Serve the People is the sort of happy-go-lucky, multicultural, foodie type of writing that readers (and publishers) love. It''s peppered with delicious descriptions, authentic recipes, humorous anecdotes and all the goodness of a young woman who finds her way in life, and even falls in love."

"A wonderfully funny and fascinating look at one of the world’s great food cultures."

"A mouthwatering tale of the thriving culinary scene in today’s China ... top-rated by ZAGAT."

"Set against the backdrop of China''s booming capitalist economy, Jen Lin-Liu’s memoir is deliciously authentic. And what a cast of characters! I loved this book."

"Jen Lin-Liu gives a wonderfully vivid picture of Chinese society along with its cuisine."

"The finest book on Chinese food – how it is cooked and eaten and why it matters – in decades."

"A humorous and insightful look at China through its most famous export: its cuisine."

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