Dree's Reviews > The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8. Lee
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Nov 24, 09

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bookshelves: 2009-reads, memoir-biography-autobiography, food
Read in November, 2009

Excellent book that combines research, travelogue, and memoir. Beginning with a glut of lottery winners in 2005 (they picked numbers from a fortune cookie), Jennifer 8. Lee looks at Chinese food in America and worldwide. Much of the writing is very entertaining and light-hearted, other chapters are emotional (chapters on human smuggling and Hiawassee, GA). All are well-written. The book does a good job exploring Chinese food, Chinese-American food, what it is that makes a "good" Chinese restaurant, why Chinese food is so popular, and the Chinese experience in America. I found the chapter on "The Greatest Chinese Restaurant in the World" to be the weakest--interesting certainly, but as she notes repeatedly, how can one truly pick? As she explores Chinese food across the globe, she finds major differences--based on where the local Chinese immigrants came from, and additions from the local cuisine, adaptations to local likes, and "Chinese-American" cuisine as its own verion.

An excellent read. I would have preferred footnotes or even endotes as opposed to "Notes", but that is the trained historian in me.
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Reading Progress

11/21/2009 page 122
38.13%
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message 1: by Al (new)

Al Thanks for the thorough and thoughtful review on this one - I am going to add it on my list now - it was well-reviewed when it first came out and the topic is certainly of interest to me but now I feel like it is worth taking the plunge! This is why I love Goodreads.


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