Cookbook Review: Lucky Rice Stories and Recipes from Night Markets, Feasts, and Family Tables

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Lucky Rice is such a fun book to read and cook from. Initially, I thought it would focus on Asian street foods but was happy to find many dishes that are quintessential to Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, and many southeast Asian cultures. Broken into 10 different chapters of street food, funky food, soup, rice, desserts, cocktails, and many more, you can definitely find something to try.

I decided to tackle the easy recipes first to get a feel for how the recipes work. The kimchi pancakes were delicious and easy to make even though I used store bought kimchi . Chang does offer a recipe for homemade kimchi that I will definitely try at another time. The pickled cucumber was another easy dish to make and definitely tasted comparable to the ones we get from the Chinese restaurants. My favorite so far is the Indonesian fried rice, also known as nasi goreng! I had to substitute an Indonesian soy sauce, kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) with a Japanese sweet soy sauce because I couldn’t find it at the regular Asian supermarkets. It still turned out delicious given how different in taste it was to the regular Chinese fried rice. Those prawn crackers brought the extra yummy factor! The only recipe that I didn’t like so far is the Vietnamese lemongrass chicken. The flavor was mild compared to what I grew up with. This recipe might have worked better with chicken thighs instead of the whole chicken. Overall the recipes are simple with easy to follow instructions.

Other recipes that I can’t wait to try are the Taiwanese beef noodle soup and tonkatsu ramen. Ninety percent of the time that we go out for Chinese food, I would order the Taiwanese beef noodle and can’t wait to make it at home. Chang’s tonkatsu ramen recipe will definitely go up again the tonkatsu recipe from my favorite Japanese cookbook, Japanese Soul Cooking. There are also so crazy looking cocktails and delicious desserts that I would love to try.

Lucky Rice is a beautiful homage to Asian food with a nice variety of traditional Asian dishes peppered with some unorthodox ones like pastrami egg rolls, US Army stew, tomato soup, and kimchi tacos. I’ll probably stay away from the first three but will definitely give the kimchi tacos a go! The photography by Christina Holmes is gorgeous and make every dishes drool worthy. I wish there was a photograph for every picture since I like to see the finished product. Lucky Rice is a fun and approachable cookbook for those interested in taking a tour of Asian food. I definitely like this book a lot more than Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes.

*I received this book to review complementary of the publisher