Enjoy amazing stories crafted by Asian-American and Pacific Islander authors with this collection of books celebrating family, history, and love.
by Tan Twan Eng
by Linda Furiya
When Linda Furiya decided to move to China with her boyfriend at the age of thirty, she hoped to find romance and ethnic kinship. Expecting common ground with locals as an Asian American, Furiya struggled with her ambition as a food writer in a nation where notions of race and gender are set in stone. During the six years she lived in Beijing and Shanghai, Furiya experienced a wide range of experiences—loneliness, isolation, friendship, and love—tied together by one common theme: food.
Ultimately, Furiya surpassed these challenges and found inspiration from the courageous Chinese women who graced her life. The sensuous experience of preparing and eating authentic Chinese cuisine follows Furiya throughout her journey, and ultimately reveals the intimate, nurturing side of the Chinese culture and people. Part insightful memoir, part authentic cookbook, How to Cook a Dragon is a revealing look at race, love, and food in China.
Look closely at any typically "American" article of clothing these days, and you may be surprised to see a Japanese label inside. From high-end denim to oxford button-downs, Japanese designers have taken the classic American look-known as ametora, or "American traditional"-and turned it into a huge business for companies like Uniqlo, Kamakura Shirts, Evisu, and Kapital. This phenomenon is part of a long dialogue between Japanese and American fashion; in fact, many of the basic items and traditions of the modern American wardrobe are alive and well today thanks to the stewardship of Japanese consumers and fashion cognoscenti, who ritualized and preserved these American styles during periods when they were out of vogue in their native land.
In Ametora, cultural historian W. David Marx traces the Japanese assimilation of American fashion over the past hundred and fifty years, showing how Japanese trendsetters and entrepreneurs mimicked, adapted, imported, and ultimately perfected American style, dramatically reshaping not only Japan's culture but also our own in the process.
Japanese ingredients have long been known for their distinctive tastes and healthy qualities. From the tang of yuzu to the bite of matcha to creaminess of soy, they present a wide range of delicious flavors. In Kyotofu, award-winning baker, Nicole Bermensolo, presents 75 classic American sweets, like cheesecake, brownies, and muffins, combined with Japanese ingredients to create one-of-a-kind desserts. Try recipes like Green Tea White Chocolate Cupcakes, Black Sesame Caramel Mousse, Kinako Waffles, and Nashi Pear Crumble.
Perfect for beginners to Japanese cooking, Kyotofu is divided by Japanese ingredient, includes a glossary of foreign terms, and suggests where to buy less familiar products. Plus, for those who want a healthier dessert, all the recipes can be made completely gluten-free thanks to Nicole's cup-for-cup flour recipe.
by Ani Phyo
Recipes include: Mixed Vegetable Skewers with Almond-Butter Sauce, Creamed Curry Saag, Vegetable Tempura with Orange Lemongrass Dipping Sauce, Marinated Shiitake Mushroom Dumplings, Corn Fritters with a Hot and Sour Cucumber Dipping Sauce, Dosas, Moo Shoo Vegetables, and more.
by Dale Talde
With JJ Goode
The eagerly awaited cookbook from Dale Talde, Top Chef favorite and owner of the acclaimed Brooklyn restaurant Talde.
Born in Chicago to Filipino parents, Dale Talde grew up both steeped in his family's culinary heritage and infatuated with American fast food--burgers, chicken nuggets, and Hot Pockets. Today, his dual identity is etched on the menu at Talde, his always-packed Brooklyn restaurant. There he reimagines iconic Asian dishes, imbuing them with Americana while doubling down on the culinary fireworks that made them so popular in the first place. His riff on pad thai features bacon and oysters. He gives juicy pork dumplings the salty, springy exterior of soft pretzels. His food isn't Asian fusion; it's Asian-American.
Now, in his first cookbook, Dale shares the recipes that have made him famous, all told in his inimitable voice. Some chefs cook food meant to transport you to Northern Thailand or Sichuan province, to Vietnam or Tokyo. Dale's food is meant to remind you that you're home.
"We were a family of three girls. By Chinese standards, that wasn't lucky. In Chinatown, everyone knew our story. Outsiders jerked their chins, looked at us, shook their heads. We heard things."
In this profoundly moving novel, Fae Myenne Ng takes readers into the hidden heart of San Francisco's Chinatown, to the world of one family's honor, their secrets, and the lost bones of a "paper father." Two generations of the Leong family live in an uneasy tension as they try to fathom the source of a brave young girl's sorrow.
Oldest daughter Leila tells the story: of her sister Ona, who has ended her young, conflicted life by jumping from the roof of a Chinatown housing project; of her mother Mah, a seamstress in a garment shop run by a "Chinese Elvis"; of Leon, her father, a merchant seaman who ships out frequently; and the family's youngest, Nina, who has escaped to New York by working as a flight attendant. With Ona and Nina gone, it is up to Leila to lay the bones of the family's collective guilt to rest, and find some way to hope again.
Fae Myenne Ng's luminous debut explores what it means to be a stranger in one's own family, a foreigner in one's own neighborhood--and whether it's possible to love a place that may never feel quite like home.
by Lucy Tan
After years of chasing the American dream, the Zhen family has moved back to China. Settling into a luxurious serviced apartment in Shanghai, Wei, Lina, and their daughter, Karen, join an elite community of Chinese-born, Western-educated professionals who have returned to a radically transformed city.
One morning, in the eighth tower of Lanson Suites, Lina discovers that a treasured ivory bracelet has gone missing. This incident sets off a wave of unease that ripples throughout the Zhen household. Wei, a marketing strategist, bows under the guilt of not having engaged in nobler work. Meanwhile, Lina, lonely in her new life of leisure, assumes the modern moniker taitai -a housewife who does no housework at all.
She is haunted by the circumstances surrounding her arranged marriage to Wei and her lingering feelings for his brother, Qiang. Sunny, the family's housekeeper, is a keen but silent observer of these tensions. An unmarried woman trying to carve a place for herself in society, she understands the power of well-kept secrets. When Qiang reappears in Shanghai after decades on the run with a local gang, the family must finally come to terms with the past and its indelible mark on their futures.
From a silk-producing village in rural China, up the corporate ladder in suburban America, and back again to the post-Maoist nouveaux riches of modern Shanghai, What We Were Promised explores the question of what we owe to our country, our families, and ourselves.
by Kien Nguyen
The Fortune Cookie Chronicles speaks to the immigrant experience as a whole, and the way it has shaped our country.
by Karoline Kan
A deeply personal and shocking look at how China is coming to terms with its conflicted past as it emerges into a modern, cutting-edge superpower.
Through the stories of three generations of women in her family, Karoline Kan, a former New York Times reporter based in Beijing, reveals how they navigated their way in a country beset by poverty and often-violent political unrest. As the Kans move from quiet villages to crowded towns and through the urban streets of Beijing in search of a better way of life, they are forced to confront the past and break the chains of tradition, especially those forced on women.
Raw and revealing, Karoline Kan offers gripping tales of her grandmother, who struggled to make a way for her family during the Great Famine; of her mother, who defied the One-Child Policy by giving birth to Karoline; of her cousin, a shoe factory worker scraping by on 6 yuan (88 cents) per hour; and of herself, as an ambitious millennial striving to find a job--and true love--during a time rife with bewildering social change.
Under Red Skies is an engaging eyewitness account and Karoline's quest to understand the rapidly evolving, shifting sands of China. It is the first English-language memoir from a Chinese millennial to be published in America, and a fascinating portrait of an otherwise-hidden world, written from the perspective of those who live there.
The New York Times bestselling inspirational story of impoverished children who transformed themselves into world-class swimmers.
In 1937, a schoolteacher on the island of Maui challenged a group of poverty-stricken sugar plantation kids to swim upstream against the current of their circumstance. The goal? To become Olympians.
They faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The children were Japanese-American and were malnourished and barefoot. They had no pool; they trained in the filthy irrigation ditches that snaked down from the mountains into the sugarcane fields. Their future was in those same fields, working alongside their parents in virtual slavery, known not by their names but by numbered tags that hung around their necks. Their teacher, Soichi Sakamoto, was an ordinary man whose swimming ability didn't extend much beyond treading water.
In spite of everything, including the virulent anti-Japanese sentiment of the late 1930s, in their first year the children outraced Olympic athletes twice their size; in their second year, they were national and international champs, shattering American and world records and making headlines from L.A. to Nazi Germany. In their third year, they'd be declared the greatest swimmers in the world. But they'd also face their greatest obstacle: the dawning of a world war and the cancellation of the Games. Still, on the battlefield, they'd become the 20th century's most celebrated heroes, and in 1948, they'd have one last chance for Olympic glory.
They were the Three-Year Swim Club. This is their story.
What to Read Next