Hot Best Seller

Chino Para Principiantes

Availability: Ready to download

Isabelle Lee thinks she knows everything about Chinese cuisine: during her Chinese-American childhood, she ate it every day. She may speak only "kitchen Chinese," but she understands the food language. Now she's ready for a change, so she takes off to Beijing to stay with her older sister, Claire, whom she's never really known, and finds a job writing restaurant reviews fo Isabelle Lee thinks she knows everything about Chinese cuisine: during her Chinese-American childhood, she ate it every day. She may speak only "kitchen Chinese," but she understands the food language. Now she's ready for a change, so she takes off to Beijing to stay with her older sister, Claire, whom she's never really known, and finds a job writing restaurant reviews for a magazine.


Compare

Isabelle Lee thinks she knows everything about Chinese cuisine: during her Chinese-American childhood, she ate it every day. She may speak only "kitchen Chinese," but she understands the food language. Now she's ready for a change, so she takes off to Beijing to stay with her older sister, Claire, whom she's never really known, and finds a job writing restaurant reviews fo Isabelle Lee thinks she knows everything about Chinese cuisine: during her Chinese-American childhood, she ate it every day. She may speak only "kitchen Chinese," but she understands the food language. Now she's ready for a change, so she takes off to Beijing to stay with her older sister, Claire, whom she's never really known, and finds a job writing restaurant reviews for a magazine.

30 review for Chino Para Principiantes

  1. 5 out of 5

    Allie

    Last summer I had the wonderful chance to hear Deanna Fei read from her debut novel A Thread of Sky, about Chinese American women traveling to China. This summer, I came across Ann Mah's Kitchen Chinese. Something interesting: Both Fei and Mah published their respective novels in 2010 and wrote as they were living in Beijing. Yet Fei's is a contemporary fiction offering, while Mah's is straight-up chic lit. After several pages of cliches and cheesy writing that made it feel like CHEETAH GIRLS 2/E Last summer I had the wonderful chance to hear Deanna Fei read from her debut novel A Thread of Sky, about Chinese American women traveling to China. This summer, I came across Ann Mah's Kitchen Chinese. Something interesting: Both Fei and Mah published their respective novels in 2010 and wrote as they were living in Beijing. Yet Fei's is a contemporary fiction offering, while Mah's is straight-up chic lit. After several pages of cliches and cheesy writing that made it feel like CHEETAH GIRLS 2/EAT PRAY LOVE Asian-American style, I decided to go with the flow. AND GOT HOOKEDDDDD I loved how the narrative was arranged by region/food and included Taiwan and Hong Kong. I GOT SO HUNGRY WITH THE FOOD DESCRIPTIONS! And thought that Jeff Zhu the Mandopop star and love interest was hilarious. I enjoyed being immersed in the Beijing expat community. (If anybody is interested in that, Kaiser Kuo (Ich in Ein Beijinger), like Ann Mah, worked at the expat magazine the Beijinger!) It was super fascinating to have that world fleshed out in fiction, and despite the frame of cliches, it was creative and entertaining. It also made me happy to be able to identify with many of Isabelle's experiences as an ABC in China; like Iz, I will never forget how accomplished and cool I felt when the taxi driver didn't ask, "Where are you from?"/"Ni shi na guo ren?" for the first time! Sometimes we all need to read a cutesy, alternately lame and funny romantic comedy, and if you are in the mood for one of those (along with some Chinese food and healthy culture clash), then I would definitely recommend KITCHEN CHINESE. It made me smile a lot. Notes: There were like 2 pinyin errors and some other minor typos--step it up, HarperCollins! Many of the opening chapters quoted from Swallowing Clouds by A. Zee, which I now also want to find~

  2. 5 out of 5

    eb

    To call this a brazen imitation of Bridget Jones's Diary is to insult Helen Fielding's witty, observant romp. I can't remember the last time I've read a novel so groaningly obvious. If I told you there were two love interests, one a self-absorbed pop star and the other a kind, shy, blue-eyed ambassador, what would you guess happens? You're right! Except there's less sex than you thought. Each and every plot turn hinges on coincidence or misunderstanding. And some of them are just--okay, there's t To call this a brazen imitation of Bridget Jones's Diary is to insult Helen Fielding's witty, observant romp. I can't remember the last time I've read a novel so groaningly obvious. If I told you there were two love interests, one a self-absorbed pop star and the other a kind, shy, blue-eyed ambassador, what would you guess happens? You're right! Except there's less sex than you thought. Each and every plot turn hinges on coincidence or misunderstanding. And some of them are just--okay, there's this one part when the ambassador, Charlie, takes it for granted (wrongly) that the narrator has a boyfriend. He says, "no one should scream at you like that. Especially not your boyfriend." We're asked to believe that not until Charlie says goodbye, gets in his car, and drives away does the protagonist understand his misapprehension("Wait a second--boyfriend?"). No! This is not a real human interaction! If someone you're in love with says "your boyfriend," you cut him off before he even gets the second syllable out and say, "Oh, no, I'm single, actually." Unless you've been partially lobotomized, that is.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jacqie

    This book was written for someone looking for a more chick-lit book who knows less about Chinese food than I do. I quickly became bored with the young protagonist, who seemed to be a sort of Bridget Jones-lite, only Chinese-American. Her job efforts at an expat magazine in China weren't that interesting, although they did provide the author the opportunity to discuss Chinese street food in the foodie articles that our heroine was supposed to write. I guess I didn't feel like the detail on the fo This book was written for someone looking for a more chick-lit book who knows less about Chinese food than I do. I quickly became bored with the young protagonist, who seemed to be a sort of Bridget Jones-lite, only Chinese-American. Her job efforts at an expat magazine in China weren't that interesting, although they did provide the author the opportunity to discuss Chinese street food in the foodie articles that our heroine was supposed to write. I guess I didn't feel like the detail on the food was enough for me. The details on relationships and clothes were too much for me. This was a Goldilocks book situation in which nothing was just right. Not even for frothy fun.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kelli

    This was an easy and quick read. It was predictable but enjoyable. Extra plus if you enjoy reading about food!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kate Olson

    I bought this book in 2018 after reading and loving Mah’s most recent novel “The Lost Vintage” and I’m so glad I did. While “Kitchen Chinese” seems very 2010 (naturally given that’s when it was published!) now in 2021, and falls prey to several debut novel missteps, I was enthralled with the descriptions of the Chinese cities and food - so much food! One thing I’m curious about is whether this story, which is very autobiographical, would have read better as a memoir??

  6. 4 out of 5

    Juliet Doubledee

    I found this book to be a light and fun read. The author (Ann Mah) takes the reader on a journey from the U.S. to China to witness the trials and tribulations of a young writer in her search to find her own voice in print. The main character, Isabelle Lee, in the beginning of the book is a "fact finder" for a large New York fashion magazine; where she is responsible for confirming information submitted by well known freelancers. Unfulfilled both professionally and personally, Isabelle finds herse I found this book to be a light and fun read. The author (Ann Mah) takes the reader on a journey from the U.S. to China to witness the trials and tribulations of a young writer in her search to find her own voice in print. The main character, Isabelle Lee, in the beginning of the book is a "fact finder" for a large New York fashion magazine; where she is responsible for confirming information submitted by well known freelancers. Unfulfilled both professionally and personally, Isabelle finds herself out of a job when she gives in to pressure from her boss to cut corners in order to meet a deadline. By not checking with one of the sources in the freelancers article, false information has been printed and the magazine sued for libel. Management decides to use her firing to meet the terms of the settlement. After being sacked by the magazine her on-and-off boyfriend, who she happened to work with, then decided it was time to dump her. With nothing to lose Isabell follows her older sister to Beijing. This is where the adventure begins for our main character, as she begins to question her own identity as a first-generation Chinese-American returning to her mother's homeland. Isabell feels the stress of culture shock not speaking Madarin very well, but her sister helps to get her a position on an expatriot magazine as the "food critic". This is the perfect position for her, as she is very literate in speaking kitchen chinese. Adventure, romance and hilarious situations follow as she makes her way first through the restarants of Beijing, then across China tasting the various region cuisines. The more comfortable she becomes in her new life, the more confidence she gains in herself as a person, and in her writing ability. In many ways this book reminds me of an Asian-Bridgett Jones, as Isabell light-heartly experiences one situation after another and never lets anything get her down. I hope Ann Mah writes a continuation of Isabell's life and journeys in China, as I was sad to finish this book and would love to read more.

  7. 4 out of 5

    RuthAnn

    Would recommend: No I picked up this book at a Borders close-out sale because I thought it was A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family. I totally missed the “a novel about …” description on the cover. It took me at least 20 pages before I figured out what I’d done, and I pushed ahead to see if the book was worth my time. It wasn’t. The plot was predictable, the heroine unlikable. The descriptions of the food were good, at least. But this one went straight to the donation box. Would recommend: No I picked up this book at a Borders close-out sale because I thought it was A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family. I totally missed the “a novel about …” description on the cover. It took me at least 20 pages before I figured out what I’d done, and I pushed ahead to see if the book was worth my time. It wasn’t. The plot was predictable, the heroine unlikable. The descriptions of the food were good, at least. But this one went straight to the donation box.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    How could this book be compared to Like Water For Chocolate? The book wasn't horrible, but it wasn't very good either. The writing style was mediocre, the storyline predictable, and the references to food sparse and not that interesting. I didn't hate the book, but I was disappointed. It's chick lit that isn't all that humorous or fun, and if you're looking for second generation struggles and returning to homeland to find oneself, it's here but not done that well. How could this book be compared to Like Water For Chocolate? The book wasn't horrible, but it wasn't very good either. The writing style was mediocre, the storyline predictable, and the references to food sparse and not that interesting. I didn't hate the book, but I was disappointed. It's chick lit that isn't all that humorous or fun, and if you're looking for second generation struggles and returning to homeland to find oneself, it's here but not done that well.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mary Ann

    Warning: this is NOT about food. This is awful; it's pure chick lit and blatantly derivative of other much better writers of the genre. Warning: this is NOT about food. This is awful; it's pure chick lit and blatantly derivative of other much better writers of the genre.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Matilde Lucena

    Loved it

  11. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    I really should have known better. I thought it would be a novel about food -- it's called Kitchen Chinese and was written by a food writer. But it's actually chick lit. Reading the back cover, I realize I should have seen the signs: "Isabelle Lee things she knows everything about Chinese cuisine. . . . Now, in the wake of a career-ending catastrophe, she's ready for a change -- so she takes off for Beijing to stay with her older sister, Claire. . . . . In the midst of her extreme culture shock, I really should have known better. I thought it would be a novel about food -- it's called Kitchen Chinese and was written by a food writer. But it's actually chick lit. Reading the back cover, I realize I should have seen the signs: "Isabelle Lee things she knows everything about Chinese cuisine. . . . Now, in the wake of a career-ending catastrophe, she's ready for a change -- so she takes off for Beijing to stay with her older sister, Claire. . . . . In the midst of her extreme culture shock, and the more she comes to learn about her sister's own secrets, Isabelle can't help but wonder whether coming to China was a mistake -- or an extraordinary chance to find out who she really is." Sister's secrets? Discovering yourself? This could be an interesting, insightful book, but it could also be incredibly cheesy chick lit. It's the latter. It's pretty decent as chick lit goes, but chick lit nonetheless. It's predictable, a quick read, and best when it sticks to food and personal revelations rather than dating, broad assertions about the nature of cross-cultural experiences, and sibling rivalries. (I correctly guessed that the writer is an only child simply from the way she wrote about the main character and her sister. It just didn't make any sense.) Ann Wah admirably figures out how to write bilingual dialogue, explaining important phrases but not bogging down comprehension with a dual system. I got a little annoyed that the pinyin had no tones, but that's not Wah's fault, and for most English readers I dare say it's less distracting to get romanizations of Chinese without little lines above each syllable. Wah also shines when she talks about Chinese food, which actually made me hungry for Chinese street food more than once. And this may be the first book I've ever read that truthfully explains the awkwardness and avoidance that leads to really unacceptable ways of breaking up with someone. As in, I had total empathy for the text messager in the story, even though I still know it's a despicable thing to do. However, the book felt too autobiographical -- too many details that didn't make sense to put it unless it was just an observation the author personally made and wanted to include. Yet at the same time, the book was too fake. Sometimes the dialogue was awkward because it tried to explain things without making a proper aside (like when the main character's best friend in China explains to her that she rides a bike to work -- gah!! main character would know that already, so it shouldn't be dialogue, but part of the narration). Or the narration sounded weird because it became too colloquial/talky, as when the main character explains that in middle school, "Shannon and I soon became BFFs." Really? "BFFs"? But the stylistic awkwardness would be forgiven if it weren't for the totally lame love interest plot. I give Wah points for not even trying to pretend that she's come up with something suspenseful -- she makes it painfully obvious who the main character is going to end up with moment she meets him. It's just too too "meet cute" not to end with some ridiculous mushy dialogue at the back of the book. But it did annoy me that the reader is introduced to the romantic interest on page 68, I figured out who he was by page 69, and the main character doesn't figure it out until page 204. I mean, being a little dense is one thing, but if you know a guy named Charlie is going to be at an event that is honoring a guy named Charles who you know works in the SAME OFFICE, don't you think you might, just might, put 2 and 2 together? What works in crappy romantic comedy movies doesn't work quite as well in first person narratives because narrator has to both give all the necessary information and be stupid enough not to know what's going on. But all in all, Kitchen Chinese was enjoyable enough, especially for its descriptions of China and Chinese food. It's not particularly thought provoking, but it's worth reading over a weekend or on the beach. As long as there's a Chinese restaurant nearby to fulfill your cravings.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Madhulika Liddle

    American-born Isabelle ‘Iz’ Lee is of Chinese origin, and when her life falls apart—her boyfriend dumps her, the magazine where she works as fact-checker unceremoniously fires her—Iz ends up going off to Beijing, where her highly successful, always-perfect elder sister Claire is a hotshot lawyer. Iz finds herself working at a small English-language expat magazine, writing on her favourite subject—food—and getting to terms with being a foreigner in a country where everybody from back home thinks American-born Isabelle ‘Iz’ Lee is of Chinese origin, and when her life falls apart—her boyfriend dumps her, the magazine where she works as fact-checker unceremoniously fires her—Iz ends up going off to Beijing, where her highly successful, always-perfect elder sister Claire is a hotshot lawyer. Iz finds herself working at a small English-language expat magazine, writing on her favourite subject—food—and getting to terms with being a foreigner in a country where everybody from back home thinks she ought to fit right in. Throw in plenty of meals, mostly at restaurants from all across China, a pop star who’s got the hots for Iz while he can’t seem to shake free a possessive girlfriend (who may or may not be an ex) and a cute American diplomat, and that’s the setup. I liked the first one-third of this book. It was interesting to see Iz make her way through life, going from the place and culture she’s grown up in, to a place both superficially familiar as well as utterly alien. The aspirations of an immigrant in the US; the identity crisis of second generation Asian-Americans; the even more convoluted identity crisis of an Asian-American in Asia: all made for good reading, as did the dynamics between Iz and Claire, the relationship between two sisters who are more alike than they can guess. The food was good (though I did think the attempt to fit in all the major regional cuisines of China stretched things a bit). More than once, I found myself abandoning the book to search online for recipes. Where Kitchen Chinese unraveled for me was in the romantic angle. The way Iz’s romance was handled was just too shallow and unbelievable, too chick lit for my liking. If her love life had been handled with some maturity—both by Iz herself, and by her creator—I might have liked this book a good deal more. As it was, Iz came across (at least when it came to her love life) as rather dumb and inept, and the third wheel in the ‘love triangle’ (such as it was) seemed to lack any qualities that would make anyone fall in love with him, or even imagine themselves in love with him. Lust, in my lexicon, being different from love. So-so, in the final analysis. It has potential but squanders it. If you want to read absolutely mouthwatering descriptions of Chinese food, I’d suggest Nicole Mones’s The Last Chinese Chef instead. A better book overall, and the food descriptions are out of this world.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    This book was almost exactly what I wanted it to be, and I've been waiting to find it for quite a while. Ever since I lived in Beijing, I've thought to myself that someone should write a piece of chick-lit set in the Beijing ex-pat scene. It's an exciting and unusual setting, filled with drama and spice - the perfect setting for a racy, quick-paced novel. Ann Mah has finally filled that niche. Mah's story uses food as a common ground for making China relatable to a traditional Western audience and This book was almost exactly what I wanted it to be, and I've been waiting to find it for quite a while. Ever since I lived in Beijing, I've thought to myself that someone should write a piece of chick-lit set in the Beijing ex-pat scene. It's an exciting and unusual setting, filled with drama and spice - the perfect setting for a racy, quick-paced novel. Ann Mah has finally filled that niche. Mah's story uses food as a common ground for making China relatable to a traditional Western audience and does a fine job of describing the unique flavors and unusual dishes that characterize authentic Chinese food. Her descriptions made my mouth water for favorite dishes I had long-since forgotten. Moreover, I enjoyed comparing and contrasting my own experiences adjusting to life in Beijing with Isabelle's. Many things were familiar (Mah and I lived in the city at the same time, though as far as I know we never met), but it was most interesting to read about the particular culture shock of an American-born Chinese. As a distinct foreigner, I had to learn to deal with the stares of the locals rather than the isolation of disappearing into a crowd. I have only two points of criticism with the book. The first is that the romantic plot is very stereotypical chick-lit. Early into the book, that paired with the voice of the writing, actually made me think it was written by a ghost writer. However, I wasn't reading this book for the plot as much as for the setting and its related personal nostalgia. My other issue was that while Mah's background with The Beijinger gave her the skill to explain China's food to the reader, her descriptions of other details of Beijing seemed to come up a bit short. I felt that the book didn't really bring the city to life or offer the casual reader the window into this world that I had hoped it would. Overall, I think Mah's novel was an enjoyable read. Although it's light enough to appeal to a chick-lit audience, it does have a bit of substance and a sense of place. I'd like to hope that readers will come away with (at least in some small measure) a better understanding of China. ...And if nothing else, they will come away with a healthy appetite!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    Kitchen Chinese offers the reader a light and easy to read story. I gave it 4 stars, because I was especially drawn to the adjectives and saliva-producing descriptions used for the meals Li Jia (heroine/lead character) prepared as well as those she enjoyed during her travels throughout China. Will be discussing the book with a group of fellow readers, and am pleased to see my copy of the book has several pages of questions to help stimulate conversation and discussion between us. Also, I am look Kitchen Chinese offers the reader a light and easy to read story. I gave it 4 stars, because I was especially drawn to the adjectives and saliva-producing descriptions used for the meals Li Jia (heroine/lead character) prepared as well as those she enjoyed during her travels throughout China. Will be discussing the book with a group of fellow readers, and am pleased to see my copy of the book has several pages of questions to help stimulate conversation and discussion between us. Also, I am looking forward to preparing some of the recipes listed in the back of the book. Yummy! Would recommend this book as a hiatus from the everyday locale-

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sboysen

    At first I didn't like this book because I'm on vacation in the US and on a break from China. I was soon drawn in by the snippets of Chinese language I'm familiar with(though that's a pet peeve to have foreign language inserted). I was also familiar with many places and dishes mentioned. There were many situations I could relate to as an expat that made this interesting as well. It would be interesting to those without an expat experience to learn of some of these unusual phenomena (i.e. being d At first I didn't like this book because I'm on vacation in the US and on a break from China. I was soon drawn in by the snippets of Chinese language I'm familiar with(though that's a pet peeve to have foreign language inserted). I was also familiar with many places and dishes mentioned. There were many situations I could relate to as an expat that made this interesting as well. It would be interesting to those without an expat experience to learn of some of these unusual phenomena (i.e. being directly stared at or asked very personal questions)too.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Yolanda

    In author Ann Mah's first novel, KITCHEN CHINESE, the main character gets fired from her job and dumped by her boyfriend of eighteen months--all in the same week. A hip and savvy New Yorker, Isabelle Lee is an independent, fashionable, modern young woman who works for Belle magazine. After being fired, Isabelle follows her mother's advice and moves to Beijing, where she shares an apartment with her sister, Claire. In Beijing, Claire arranges for an interview so that Isabelle becomes "the dining edi In author Ann Mah's first novel, KITCHEN CHINESE, the main character gets fired from her job and dumped by her boyfriend of eighteen months--all in the same week. A hip and savvy New Yorker, Isabelle Lee is an independent, fashionable, modern young woman who works for Belle magazine. After being fired, Isabelle follows her mother's advice and moves to Beijing, where she shares an apartment with her sister, Claire. In Beijing, Claire arranges for an interview so that Isabelle becomes "the dining editor at Beijing NOW. . . an English-language magazine for expats." The "kitchen Chinese" of the novel's title is Isabelle's rudimentary Chinese-- which she defines as "Just basic conversation. . . . Simple words I picked up in the kitchen, spending time with my mom." Throughout the book, she struggles to fully understand what people are saying to her. In one scene, she overhears two women in the community bathroom talking about her. She flees the room. Though she looks like everyone else, in Beijing Isabelle regards herself as American. She is constantly having to confront this issue: as she chats in the cab, with her date Charlie, the cab driver realizes she is a "laowai" or a foreigner. When Isabelle is introduced to Kristin at a restaurant, and Kristin compliments her on her English, Isabelle's companion explains, "Isabelle is American. She grew up in New York." Isabelle wonders, "Though I've only been in China for a few months, has my Americanness been erased?" This leads to an identity crisis--for Isabelle, all of China is a social experiment that elicits themes worthy of existential philosophers and posits the question: Are we who we perceive ourselves to be? Or are we whomever others perceive us to be? “As Isabelle, I am articulate, confident, even sometimes, witty; as Li Jia [her Chinese name] I feel . . . slow, able only to understand the edges of a [Chinese] conversation." Ann Mah, the author, is adroit and expert in her use of English. I loved savoring the language, the information on Chinese food, the sense of living in contemporary Beijing. KITCHEN CHINESE feels authentic (especially if you've always wanted to visit China). Each chapter opens with a quote that references Chinese food or history, and is sprinkled with Chinese phrases and an eclectic vocabulary. Of the handful of recipes at the end of the book not one is for Chinese food. And despite the Chinese phrases, Isabelle seems SO American. Moreover, I liked that the novel rendered the inner dynamic of a Chinese family-- mother to daughter, sister to sister. (As a reader, I’d like to see what happens to Isabelle and Claire in a novel sequel.) KITCHEN CHINESE is a wonderful first novel, suffused with the ambience of Beijing, and I eagerly await ANY second book author Ann Mah publishes. ---Yolanda A. Reid

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    I’m going to say that I really enjoyed this book. Sure, there are typos, and the foreshadowing isn’t exactly what I’d call subtle, but it’s just such a fun, frivolous book to read. And when it comes to literature, I’d rank frivolity as one of my favorite traits. Last summer I went through a phase where I became obsessed with reading books about food and foreign countries. Kitchen Chinese was put on my wish list then, but I never got around to purchasing until this semester, after Christmas book s I’m going to say that I really enjoyed this book. Sure, there are typos, and the foreshadowing isn’t exactly what I’d call subtle, but it’s just such a fun, frivolous book to read. And when it comes to literature, I’d rank frivolity as one of my favorite traits. Last summer I went through a phase where I became obsessed with reading books about food and foreign countries. Kitchen Chinese was put on my wish list then, but I never got around to purchasing until this semester, after Christmas book store gift cards, and it wasn’t until this weekend’s trip to Colorado that I sat down to read it. Naturally, it’s one of those books that, once you sit down with it, you don’t get up until you’ve turned the last page and closed the cover. It’s about Isabelle, a twenty-something Chinese American who wants to be a journalist, but is stuck in a dead end job as a fact checker. When she loses her job, she decides to move to Beijing, where her sister is living. She ends up working at an expat magazine writing the food column. But, most of the book is about her settling into Beijing, struggling with her identity as American, when she’s living in China and looks Chinese, learning Chinese/how to live as an illiterate, and (obviously) achieving career success and finding love. I bet it’s pretty obvious now why I was so into this book, as a struggling expat myself. The story was light and hopeful and made me feel great about the decisions I’m making with my life (personally), and the writing was straight-forward, precise, and unaffected. It didn’t get in the way of the storytelling. This book is definitely worth picking up if you’re a fan of light girly fiction. It’s essentially the literary version of a romcom. I recommended it to my mom, a huge Meg Cabot fan, and she read the whole thing in one day, and loved it. So, with our sample size of 2, I’d say 100% found it fantastic.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    “My first meal in Beijing is roasted duck, or kaoya as it’s called in Chinese. Glossy and brown, with crisp skin and meltingly moist flesh, the bird is cut into over one hundred pieces, in the traditional way.” Ann Mah’s novel is definitely a winner. The first words left me salivating and, as I delved into Isabel Lee’s new life in Beijing, I found myself laughing and captivated. The story begins with a twenty-something wannabe journalist, who gets herself fired from a New York fashion magazine. “My first meal in Beijing is roasted duck, or kaoya as it’s called in Chinese. Glossy and brown, with crisp skin and meltingly moist flesh, the bird is cut into over one hundred pieces, in the traditional way.” Ann Mah’s novel is definitely a winner. The first words left me salivating and, as I delved into Isabel Lee’s new life in Beijing, I found myself laughing and captivated. The story begins with a twenty-something wannabe journalist, who gets herself fired from a New York fashion magazine. With a sister already in Beijing, and enough of the Chinese language to get by, this American born Chinese girl gets talked into taking the great leap of faith and moving overseas. Mah gives us a wonderful look into the life of a girl who struggles to navigate a very different culture than the one she was raised in, while at the same time establishing herself as a journalist and flirting with a romance or two. This was such an enjoyable read. I savored every minute of it!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Imagine The Devil Wears Prada meets Bridget Jones--and heads to Bejing to start over. Kitchen Chinese is a delightful story of a young New Yorker, Isabelle Lee, who packs up to move to Beijing after a job-ending mishap at one of New York's top fashion magazines. When she joins her over-achieving big sister, Claire, Isabelle is immersed into Beijing life, where she finds she--and all the other expats who migrate there--can reinvent themselves in ways not possible back in their home countries. The Imagine The Devil Wears Prada meets Bridget Jones--and heads to Bejing to start over. Kitchen Chinese is a delightful story of a young New Yorker, Isabelle Lee, who packs up to move to Beijing after a job-ending mishap at one of New York's top fashion magazines. When she joins her over-achieving big sister, Claire, Isabelle is immersed into Beijing life, where she finds she--and all the other expats who migrate there--can reinvent themselves in ways not possible back in their home countries. The subtitle of this novel involves food, but Ann Mah delicately weaves this aspect into the story so that it doesn't take over the story like some food memoirs or novels tend to do. For more on this book, see my write-up on www.susanbkason.com

  20. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others who like to read about travel, FOOD, and the trials and tribulations of being a young woman searching for identity, love and career satisfaction. It's mainly light-hearted and fun, but it also delves into more serious issues that traditional chick-lit does not. The protagonist, Isabelle, is a likable character - humorous in a self-deprecating kind of way- and I often found myself laughing as I read the book. I also enjoyed the sister's I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others who like to read about travel, FOOD, and the trials and tribulations of being a young woman searching for identity, love and career satisfaction. It's mainly light-hearted and fun, but it also delves into more serious issues that traditional chick-lit does not. The protagonist, Isabelle, is a likable character - humorous in a self-deprecating kind of way- and I often found myself laughing as I read the book. I also enjoyed the sister's character, who was more mysterious but a good contrast to the sister. I would definitely read a sequel to see what happens to the Lee sisters... P.S. The recipes at the end are great!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    An entertaining enough break from Les Miserables, which is the slog of the century. I've been interested in Asian-American experience type books for ages, since I read The Joy Luck Club (many apologies to my Asian American Lit professor--I swear I like Maxine Hong Kingston and Linh Dinh and such as them too!). Kitchen Chinese was not especially well-written, but the food talk is fascinating, and the journey of the Chinese-American woman who uproots her life in New York to move to Beijing is grea An entertaining enough break from Les Miserables, which is the slog of the century. I've been interested in Asian-American experience type books for ages, since I read The Joy Luck Club (many apologies to my Asian American Lit professor--I swear I like Maxine Hong Kingston and Linh Dinh and such as them too!). Kitchen Chinese was not especially well-written, but the food talk is fascinating, and the journey of the Chinese-American woman who uproots her life in New York to move to Beijing is great on its own. If the writing had been a little tighter, this could have been a great book. But it was fun and interesting--a real slice of life, as my mom would say.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Casey

    I loved this book. It provided a perceptive view of contemporary China, leavened with humor and fascinating insights into identity and cross-cultural (mis)communication. Mah is a terrific writer -- she has a flair for the mot juste and has paced the book beautifully. Beijing comes alive. The city's energy and contrasts really jump off the page. The food descriptions were borderline torture -- I had to order take-out Chinese food several times during my reading! I can't wait for Mah's next book! I loved this book. It provided a perceptive view of contemporary China, leavened with humor and fascinating insights into identity and cross-cultural (mis)communication. Mah is a terrific writer -- she has a flair for the mot juste and has paced the book beautifully. Beijing comes alive. The city's energy and contrasts really jump off the page. The food descriptions were borderline torture -- I had to order take-out Chinese food several times during my reading! I can't wait for Mah's next book!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    As an author, I receive lots of requests to write quotes for books. This one jumped to the front of the pack. Ann writes beautifully and has a sharp eye and a fresh perspective. She also has a great blog at http://annmah.net. Here's my quote: "Ann Mah's Kitchen Chines is a delicious debut novel, seasoned with just the right balance of humor and heart, and sprinkled with fascinating cultural tidbits. Read thoroughly. Share with friends." As an author, I receive lots of requests to write quotes for books. This one jumped to the front of the pack. Ann writes beautifully and has a sharp eye and a fresh perspective. She also has a great blog at http://annmah.net. Here's my quote: "Ann Mah's Kitchen Chines is a delicious debut novel, seasoned with just the right balance of humor and heart, and sprinkled with fascinating cultural tidbits. Read thoroughly. Share with friends."

  24. 5 out of 5

    Harvee

    I enjoyed Ann Mah's writing and the way she combined setting and regional cuisine in her story of the two Chinese-American sisters. I could relate to demands or expectations of parents, and the sometimes testy relationship between a younger and older sibling - these seem to be universal. My full review... I enjoyed Ann Mah's writing and the way she combined setting and regional cuisine in her story of the two Chinese-American sisters. I could relate to demands or expectations of parents, and the sometimes testy relationship between a younger and older sibling - these seem to be universal. My full review...

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alaine

    I was expecting a cross-cultural book about a woman who is transported to a world unknown as an expat. What I got was a great fiction cross-cultural story about a woman who is transported into an unknown world and is thrown into the world of expatriates, locals, romance, and the quest for good Chinese food. I love chick lit and I am also very into cross cultural books so this was an exciting marriage of the two genres.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Trudi

    Reminded me of "Foreign Babes in Beijing." Chinese American young woman goes to China and becomes food critic for expat magazine. Her "adventures" in Beijing along with her relationship with her sister who is an attorney in Beijing for an American law firm. Kept my interest, but it's far from a "great" book. Reminded me of "Foreign Babes in Beijing." Chinese American young woman goes to China and becomes food critic for expat magazine. Her "adventures" in Beijing along with her relationship with her sister who is an attorney in Beijing for an American law firm. Kept my interest, but it's far from a "great" book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mindy

    A really interesting look at the growth of Beijing, as well as the inner workings of Chinese families and culture, with a bit of food knowledge sprinkled in. If any of that sounds at all interesting to you, I'd recommend it -- it was a worthwhile read. A really interesting look at the growth of Beijing, as well as the inner workings of Chinese families and culture, with a bit of food knowledge sprinkled in. If any of that sounds at all interesting to you, I'd recommend it -- it was a worthwhile read.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Her Beijing was very different from my Beijing but the food scenes, particularly, brought back so many memories (mostly good) of my time there and in Taiwan. Bookclubs will like this one as will anyone liking yummy food descriptions, light romance, and travel stories.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gillian

    I read this lazing by the pool in Umbria at the end of last summer. A word of warning. DO NOT read this book hungry. I was starving the whole way through! A delightful romp through China, expat life and crazy delicious food.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gwenette

    Ann Mah's first novel -- pretty good. Good characters that you quickly come to like, a little romance, lots of descriptions of food and culture. An enjoyable read. Ann Mah's first novel -- pretty good. Good characters that you quickly come to like, a little romance, lots of descriptions of food and culture. An enjoyable read.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...