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The Breath of a Wok
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The Breath of a Wok

4.28  ·  Rating Details  ·  328 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
When Grace Young was a child, her father instilled in her a lasting appreciation of wok hay, the highly prized but elusive taste that food achieves when properly stir-fried in a wok. As an adult, Young aspired to create that taste in her own kitchen.

Grace Young's quest to master wok cooking led her throughout the United States, Hong Kong, and mainland China. Along with awa
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Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 2nd 2004 by Simon & Schuster (first published August 24th 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 714)
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Cheri
Mar 12, 2011 Cheri rated it really liked it
So my secret is out. I read cookbooks. Lots of them, and this is a winner. A great reference book in the kitchen, I actually forgot that this one was a cookbook the story was that good. A fascinating look into Chinese culture and cooking...
Beth
Aug 03, 2012 Beth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food
Great story, great recipes, amazing photographs, and really great tips on woks. One of my very favorite food books.
Jason Nomura
Jul 04, 2009 Jason Nomura rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks
Awesome book on wok cooking. Techniques and recipes are interesting and a great read.
Cindy
Dec 30, 2009 Cindy rated it really liked it
excellent info on buying and properly using a wok, great resource, recipes.
Sally
Oct 28, 2007 Sally rated it it was amazing
Informative, passionately written, beautiful pictures, classic recipes.
Emily
Feb 03, 2011 Emily rated it liked it
Ms. Young and Mr. Richardson travel through China chronicling the storied history of the wok, from small villages in rural China where villagers cook communal meals in enormous woks four feet in diameter, to the streets of Hong Kong where unregistered dai pai dong (food vendors) magically appear after dusk, only to disappear in the early hours of the morning.. They interview renowned Chinese chefs like Florence Lin and Susanna Foo and visit the Chinese Cuisine Training Institute in Hong Kong. Th ...more
Darren
Apr 29, 2012 Darren rated it it was amazing
If you enjoy Chinese food this book might be for you - even if you never plan to try and cook it for yourself.

In a nutshell you get a wonderful book prepared with love, care and feeling by the authors that takes you behind the lore and mystique of Chinese food and starts with the first key ingredient - a good wok!

Page after page of family memories related to the wok, culture and folklore, traditional methods of production and just "why" a wok is needed compared to a skillet or pan start the book
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Allison
Jul 14, 2007 Allison rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
Wok Cookbook. It has beautiful pictures, I might read it as a picture book, even without the recipes. Great beginning section, all about the history of the wok, chinese cooking, how to get your new wok ready for use. Good thing I read that too, so when I tried to season my new wok, and it started smoking off the factory coating, and started that little fire on the burner, and the smoke detector went off, I was prepared, becuase the book warned me that I should keep my windows open. It did not, h ...more
Michelle
Jun 06, 2014 Michelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2014
Great book for a little bit of history and some delicious recipes. A lot of information on woks that is useful. Learned a few techniques, so this definitely was a great purchase.
Jordan
Mar 11, 2016 Jordan rated it really liked it
The photos in the author's other cookbook, Stirfrying to the Sky's Edge were MUCH better. But this book was good too. There was more information about different kinds of woks and how they are made. And there seemed to be a better variety of recipes. Looking forward to trying some!
Anastasiya
Feb 10, 2015 Anastasiya rated it really liked it
One of my favorite cook books. The recipes are delicious and the introductory section breathes with Young's love for the food she writes about.
Kris
Jul 10, 2015 Kris rated it really liked it
i need to buy this book too
Dylan Benito
May 17, 2015 Dylan Benito rated it it was amazing
Lovely book, simple recipes, beautiful photos, and text. Makes me want to start cooking with a Wok.
Jacob
Sep 14, 2014 Jacob rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food, non-fiction
As a recipe book, this is a pretty good place to get started with your stir-fries. As a series of personal essays and photographs aiming to captures an aspect of the Chinese and Chinese-American experience, it is a wonderful read. As a guide to purchasing and caring for a wok, it is indispensable. It is probably the most important book on my shelf for reference purposes, and it jumpstarted my forays into cooking over the last 8 months.
Monk
Jan 06, 2008 Monk rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookingandfood
This is a fascinating book, not only because of recipes and such that are in it, but they actually get into what makes for a good wok and the history and culture that has sprung up around this versatile cooking tool. The insight that they go into concerning modern-day Chinese stall cooks and the underground night eateries in China offer an interesting perspective on Chinese culture through its cooking.
Kenji Alt
Aug 08, 2007 Kenji Alt rated it it was ok
Starts out good, but then the recipes use poor substitutions and Western ingredients in place of the real stuff. Anyone know a *really* good authentic chinese cook book? I've been looking for a long time. All I get is bits and pieces of advice from here and there.
Carol
Apr 11, 2009 Carol rated it really liked it
While shopping for a wok scrubber, the manager of the Sur la Table in Pike Place Market suggested this book -much more than a cookbook - and I am loving it. The recipes look like ones I would make again and again.
Eric
Nov 25, 2015 Eric rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The is by far the best cook book I own, and my most favorite book I own. This book started me down the path of asian cusine, and I haven't stopped exploring food from that part of the world since.
Chris
Nov 16, 2007 Chris rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fast Food Lovers
Season that wok! Take care of it! Heat the wok till drops of water just vaporize. Then add the oil... Really dramatic sound effects accompany the preparation of food this way.
Cathy
Sep 01, 2012 Cathy rated it liked it
I need to stop reading cook books in bed.... they make me way too hungry! Aside from that, I liked this book and I think I will have to now go make some of these recipes.... :o)
lisa
May 10, 2007 lisa rated it really liked it
This book takes a very unique and fresh look at Chinese cooking. I would definitely recommend.
Lauren
May 25, 2011 Lauren rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
A great introduction to Chinese cooking. Recipes are accessible, tasty, and quick.
Joseph Hickey
Joseph Hickey rated it really liked it
Jun 22, 2016
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Kate Cubitt rated it liked it
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