Chinese Menu: The History, Myths, and Legends Behind Your Favorite Foods
By Grace Lin
Children’s Nonfiction

Who doesn’t love egg rolls, sizzling rice soup and General Tso’s Chicken?

Author and artist Grace Lin grew up eating authentic Chinese food cooked by her immigrant mother – but she also loved Americanized Chinese food from her favorite restaurants. This 288-page, lavishly illustrated, “story feast” breaks down the menu at a typical American Chinese restaurant, telling the reader how each dish got its name, where it came from, and how it is typically prepared. 

Lin then tells a story about how the dish (or a similar authentic meal), came to be. Many of these stories are retellings from Chinese mythology, but a few involve Marco Polo, and clever restauranteurs making the best of the ingredients they had on hand. Lin even ties the story of the very-American fortune cookie to a legend from 14th Century China!

This fun and informative book is sure to make you hungry! It is recommended for ages 8-12, but teens and adults may appreciate the culinary history as well.

Reviewed by Lynn Heitkamp
Zauel Library