Accomplished chef Trevor Lui shares delectable, Asian-inspired recipes in his inventive The Double Happiness Cookbook.
These recipes, which break the bounds of cuisine and culture, begin with Lui’s story. He grew up as a first-generation Canadian with Chinese parents, and spent hours of his youth in a commercial kitchen. Many years later, he declared himself a “food guy.” Lui knows that there are strong connections between food and identity, and each recipe names its own influences and inspiration.
Beginning with a list of pantry essentials that explains ingredients like sambal oelek and doubanjiang paste for those who are unfamiliar, the book makes use of generally available items. For Western-style cooks, this will be a vital primer. Dozens of creative dishes with international influences are then organized by type. The book’s street snacks section includes small bites that are packed with flavor, and its sections on family style dishes and cooking with friends, which includes recipes from other chefs, emphasize the social element of cooking and eating.
While fusion food may seem too cliche, these recipes show the beauty of cultural melding. They include Mexican-Asian delights, like Bulgogi Beef Tostadas and Guacamame (edamame guacamole). But they also exhibit true reverence for their culinary roots, with classics like tea eggs and egg drop soup. Recipes are marked when they are gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegetarian; variations are suggested for taste and dietary needs.
Like eating, this book is a multisensory experience. Its photographs are vibrant, and there’s even a kitchen playlist. Between sections, the book includes personal stories and reflections on the dishes and the art of cooking, all packed with pop culture references. Helpful sidebars on the finer points of flavor, like a sidebar on garnishes, also factor in.
The Double Happiness Cookbook celebrates both cooking and culture.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.