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Invitation to a Banquet

The Story of Chinese Food

Fuchsia Dunlop

Invitation to a Banquet
Invitation to a Banquet

Invitation to a Banquet

The Story of Chinese Food

Fuchsia Dunlop

Paperback | English
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A brilliant, passionate and spellbinding tour de force

A brilliant, passionate and spellbinding tour de force

Fuchsia Dunlop is one of the world's best writers on Chinese food. This book is ample proof of that. Each chapter becomes a course, written in her usual erudite manner but entertaining and informative at the same time. I found the book irresistible, addicting and mouth-watering. If you love Chinese food then you must accept the invitation to her banquet!

Fuchsia Dunlop is such a gifted writer that the reader cannot help being swept along by her masterful, yet intimate, account of a cuisine that is unmatched not only in its refinement and diversity, but also in the richness of its history of nutritional experimentation and speculation. Invitation to a Banquet is destined to become a classic of travel literature and ethnography as well as food writing

A brilliantly informative appreciation of Chinese food past and present, told through a series of essential ingredients and dishes… Her sensory writing is so vivid that I felt I was actually there with her in the food markets of China

Dunlop's erudite historical account tells the story of China’s multifarious cuisine in lip-smacking detail... A compelling blend of scholarship and passion

Dunlop travels from the wheat-eating north to the rice-loving south, dishing up meaty nuggets of history, morsels of politics and, above all, lip-smacking descriptions of food… A paean to Chinese gastronomy as refreshing as a bowl of grandma’s bitter melon and pork rib soup

In 30 years of exploring and documenting the country, Fuchsia Dunlop has done for China what Elizabeth David did for Mediterranean food and Claudia Roden did for the Middle East

An authoritative new book… Dunlop makes a compelling case for the superiority of Chinese cuisine, but in a delighted and expansive rather than a chauvinistic way

A vivid account of China’s food culture, going back to its mythical past to trace the diversity of flavours, textures and techniques that blossomed in the millennia that followed

Hailed as one of the finest food writers, Dunlop understands that to simply describe food is stagnant. Her style is wickedly erotic… While one is lulled by her words, it is easy to forget how clever her construction. Like a fugue, her motifs echo and dance us to the end

A landmark love letter to Chinese food

As a young Chinese food writer, Fuchsia Dunlop's books were my Harry Potter. She introduced me to the vibrant, expansive, magical world of Chinese gastronomy beyond the four walls of my Cantonese home. Next to my parents, there's no person I've learned more about the cooking of my people than Fuchsia Dunlop. Invitation to a Banquet just might be her magnum opus: the richest English-language accounting of China's culinary history I've ever read. I'm grateful this magnificent book exists

There are cooks who write and writers who cook, but very few succeed in blending both arts to perfection in the way Fuchsia Dunlop does. The flavours arising from these pages are sprinkled with insight and experience, its narrative is infused with anecdote and historical depth. This book is the perfect dish for anyone curious about the story of Chinese cuisine and a joy for those among us simply in need of food for thought

Fuchsia understands Chinese cuisine better than any other foreigner I know

Fuchsia Dunlop's expertise in Chinese cuisine is both remarkable and enlightening. She has devoted her life to intricately intertwining China's rich history with its culinary traditions, making significant contributions in sharing this delicious knowledge. Invitation to a Banquet offers a captivating glimpse into Chinese culture, served as a mouthwatering feast. Indeed, there's no better way to understand a culture than through its food, and Fuchsia captures this notion with mastery

How the scales fall away from the eyes reading this masterpiece. Invitation to a Banquet enthrals as it enlightens as it delights. Fuchsia Dunlop has a way with words and cooking quite unique and mesmerising. I have had to put the book down only out of necessity and wish only that instead of mounting a bicycle headed to work, I had boarded a train bound for China, book in hand, with a blanket, chopsticks and a hamper brimming with dishes prepared by Fuchsia

One of our very finest chroniclers of food cultures, I want to read everything Fuchsia Dunlop writes

Any book by Fuchsia Dunlop is cause for celebration, but this one is very special. Heart-felt and beautifully researched, Invitation to a Banquet serves up an entirely new way to enjoy Chinese food. It is a gift to everyone who ever picked up chopsticks

Fuchsia Dunlop is one of the world’s foremost authorities on Chinese cuisine... Dunlop’s storytelling is superb

Dunlop delves into a complex, subtle cuisine with an insider’s expertise

Written in lively prose and with a sensitivity to the emotional content of food in culture, [the book] offers a whistle-stop tour of Chinese cuisine... Taking in everything from the right consistency of rice to the ideal texture of chicken testicles, it’s a lip-smacking read

A fantastically accomplished deep-dive into the history of Chinese food, and its place in today’s culinary world. It’s difficult to think of anybody better placed to put such a book together

Rapturous... Invitation to a Banquet reveals a universe of delights, innovation and versatility so deep and broad it will subdue even readers who believe they know all about the cuisine

The book that has stuck with me from 2023 is Fuchsia Dunlop’s Invitation to a Banquet Without touching on politics, Dunlop’s book is more illuminating about the arc that China has travelled — from humiliation to eminence — than a shelf load of geostrategic tracts called things like Dragon Rising

Fuchsia Dunlop was the first Westerner to train as a chef at the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine, and has been travelling around China, researching and cooking Chinese food, for some 30 years. Her award-winning and bestselling books include The Food of Sichuan, Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper, Every Grain of Rice and Land of Fish and Rice, several of which are now published in translation in China. Based in London, she speaks, reads and writes Chinese.


  • Publisher
    Penguin Books Ltd
  • Pub date
    May 2024
  • Pages
  • Theme
    Cultural studies: food and society
  • Dimensions
    198 x 129 x 20 mm
  • Weight
    327 gram
  • EAN
  • Paperback
  • Language

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