Gift Guide: For Cookbook Collectors

December 13, 2016

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If someone on your list is a collector of unusual cookbooks, here’s a suggestion. New York’s great cookbook store, Kitchen Arts and Letters, stocks every current cookbook and food magazine, along with a fine array of food history and out of print books. They also scour the world for unusual foreign cookbooks which are available nowhere else in this country.

At the moment I’m taken with this series, which they import directly from Singapore, about the great ethnic cuisines of that country.  The Peranakan recipes are from the descendants of the early Chinese migrants who settled in Singapore and intermarried, creating an original (and utterly delicious) cuisine with names like otak otak and gado gado.

The Hokkien recipes are from the Fujianese people who came to Singapore from southeastern China.  The book contains a number of fascinating recipes, including one for kong pak bau – braised pork belly buns with lettuce..

The South Indian recipes offers dishes like vinegar chicken, stuffed squid in black ink gravy and tomatoes in yogurt.  There’s also a great recipe for vaduvam, the exotic spice that swept Paris a few years ago. A little bottle of vaduvam, come to think of it, would also make a great gift.

Should these not be unusual enough, you might want to consider this rather mad volume:

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Nobody planning a trip to Shanghai should consider leaving home without it.

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