Her encyclopedic knowledge of Chinese cooking is why this book made our list. Occasionally, detail is not her forte. Some recipe yields seem improbable. But considering this is not the book for beginner cooks, we presume, most will overcome this minor flaw.Usual cookbook structure is abandoned in favor of this slightly quirky lesson structure, bobbing and weaving through regions, ingredients, themes. But it works. First, because you don't have to start at lesson one, you can easily jump right into, say, "Vegetables as the Way," a short chapter on the tradition of vegetarian dishes cooked as if they were meat. Second, Lo brings serious, convincing method to one of the world's greatest and most complex cuisines. You'll feel the firm hand of a serious teacher committed to tradition.
GIVE THIS TO: The accomplished cook who takes "mastering" seriously and has a good Chinese market nearby. —Robin Bashinsky