Lucy's Reviews > Shark's Fin And Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China

Shark's Fin And Sichuan Pepper by Fuchsia Dunlop
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Apr 06, 2010

it was amazing
Read in April, 2010

It has been a long time since I read a memoir that was this good, written by an English woman who truly immersed herself in Chinese culture and gastronomy for over a decade.

Here is her first encounter in the early nineties in Hong Kong with a food that challenged her very sensibilities:

"The preserved duck eggs were served as an hors d'oeuvre in a fashionable Hong Kong restaurant, sliced in half, with ginger-and-vinegar dip. It was my first trip to Asia, and I had rarely seen anything so revolting on a dinner table. They leered up at me like the eyeballs of some nightmarish monster, dark and threatening. Their albumens were a filthy, translucent brown, their yolks an oozy black, ringed with a layer of greenish, mouldy grey."

She ate them and didn't like them. Neither did I when I tried them. She went on to eat and eat in mainland China. She became enchanted with China and the food and then disenchanted with the politics and the over-consumption and then enchanted again with the food. It is like a grandmother, whose politics and morals you don't agree with, but who you can't help admiring and wanting to be around. China is a more ancient civilization.

Rarely have I read such a witty, honest and soulful memoir. It is not only about cross-cultural gastronomy, it is about a young woman's search for meaning.
4 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Shark's Fin And Sichuan Pepper.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

04/21 marked as: read

No comments have been added yet.