This week we bring you another restaurant book! But this one is combined with a traveling and adventurous cookbook. You see, Xi’an Famous Food is a very detailed piece of work about everything a food aficionado likes. It does not only cover their most famous recipe dishes, but also the whole story of the restaurant (along with the Chinese region of Xi'an too).
Since its humble opening in 2005, Xi’an Famous Foods has expanded from one stall in Flushing to 14 locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. CEO Jason Wang divulges the untold story of how this empire came to be, alongside the never-before-published recipes that helped create this New York City icon. From heavenly ribbons of liang pi doused in a bright vinegar sauce to ﬂatbread ﬁlled with caramelized pork to cumin lamb over hand-pulled Biang Biang noodles, this cookbook helps home cooks make the dishes that fans of Xi’an Famous Foods line up for while also exploring the vibrant cuisine and culture of Xi’an.
At Xi’an Famous Food Cookbook you will get all kinds of recipes. Some appear very simple, others have plenty of techniques that can be challenging to master! All recipes, no matter how simple they may seem, will have a small detail that one might have not considered and that will make all the difference when you want to make that special dish from such an authentic region of the world. Like this Herbal Hot Pot Broth seasoned with all different typically oriental flavors (that are less known to the western world). It is finished with both sweet meat and all kinds of seafood.
It’s usually helpful when a recipe book has some nice pictures of the dishes that are portrayed. But at XFF Jason Wang goes an extra step and adds explanatory images on how to achieve the technique he requires from his chefs at the restaurant to become masters of noodles, dumplings, etc.
Xi’an Famous Food is a big cookbook! The reason for this is because Jason made sure he didn’t simply share the recipes that made this chain so successful, but also the full story from how it started, all the struggles he and his father went through, as well as the expanding phase where he became a restauranteur.
The chapter “Shit no one tells you about running a restaurant” has probably some of the most direct, honest tips on the difficulties you need to be prepared to embrace if you do want to go down that path.
You cannot go through this book without embracing the importance that this region has for the recipes and the whole story. Therefore, Jason, obviously, mentions the importance that this region has had for his father to have opened the restaurant that became such a huge success in the USA. He also talks about how that region has changed over the last few decades and how it is to “adapt” such a traditional type of cuisine to a globalized culture.
As you can see, it is not straightforward to define what category this falls into. And that is probably its best feature. Xi’an Famous Food Cookbook has everything from storytelling to recipes, techniques, and even life tips for the restaurant industry workers. It is perfect for professionals that want to learn about a (very authentic) cuisine that the western world knows so little about. It is also a lot of fun if you are simply an amateur who enjoys indulging in real-life stories and likes to challenge yourself to try recipes from all difficulty levels.
Xi’An Famous Food is a cookbook with a unique approach. A very out-of-the-box way of thinking both in terms of recipes and stories that lay inside. A great add to a collection for how it differentiates from the others.