When it comes to combining cooking skill with showmanship, no one tops Martin Yan. His shows are entertaining, and his cookbooks are an excellent resource - both for the recipes and the added information about Asian ingredients and cooking techniques. He takes the mystery out of Chinese cooking and makes it fun as well!
If you purchase only one book on Chinese cooking, this should be it. Yan thoroughly covers every aspect of Chinese cuisine, from cooking techniques to choosing and using both Asian and western ingredients. There's even a quick how-to on reading a USDA poultry label. The recipes, while good as always, really take second stage to the wealth of information. An excellent resource.
This book would make a great companion to "Chinese Cooking for Dummies". The recipes, from appetizer to dessert, are excellent. One of my readers says Yan's recipe for Har Gau dough is the best she's found: yet - easy to work with and producing a very translucent skin. Yet the recipe itself is quite simple. An added bonus are recipes for regional Asian specialties such as Nonya Top Hats.
Written following a trip to China for his television series, Yan explores China's four main regional cooking schools. But don't worry about scouring the market for exotic ingredients like bird's nest or shark's fin - the over 120 recipes consist of home-cooked dishes you might find eaten in any Chinese household. Yan's personal observations of the different regions enliven each section.