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Isabelle Lee thinks she knows everything about Chinese cuisine. After all, during her Chinese-American childhood, she ate it every day. Isabelle may speak only "kitchen Chinese"—the familial chatter learned at her mother's knee—but she understands the language of food. Now, in the wake of a career-ending catastrophe, she's ready for a change—so she takes off for Beijing to stay with her older sister, Claire, whom she's never really known, and finds a job writing restaurant reviews for an expat magazine. In the midst of her extreme culture shock, and the more she comes to learn about her sister's own secrets, Isabelle can't help but wonder whether coming to China was a mistake . . . or an extraordinary chance to find out who she really is.

Published: HarperCollins on Feb 9, 2010
ISBN: 9780061969485
List price: $9.99
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Nice, light summer read.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
2 things I love: China and food. So this was a good match for me. It reminded me of my month in China and all of the things I felt and understood about being a foreigner. I have always dreamed of going back. Maybe even living there in the expat community and really trying to live-live there. So it is interesting to see that while you could accomplish great things there (see: big fish, small pond) Your sense of alienation never goes away.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Although this seems like a memoir, it's fiction inspired by real life. Maybe all fiction is. It's the story of being an outsider,first by being of Chinese origin in America, then the title character goes to China and feels American. Nicly done.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A really interesting look at the growth of Beijing, as well as the inner workings of Chinese families and culture, with a bit of food knowledge sprinkled in. If any of that sounds at all interesting to you, I'd recommend it -- it was a worthwhile read.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Isabelle Lee, Iz, has just been fired from her job as a fact checker for a magazine. Encouraged by her friends she decides she needs an adventure and moves from Manhattan to Beijing, where her older sister Claire, a high-powered attorney, lives. Iz is determined to have an adventure but not to find her Chinese roots as if she were in "an Amy Tan novel". Iz considers herself American at heart, not Chinese. Claire gets her a job at a magazine for expats, Beijing NOW, where she ends up as the food critic. Her Mandarin is limited and she is unfamiliar with a lot of Chinese culture but she has lots of help from her new friends. Claire, the older, successful, introverted sister is a new person in Beijing, but Iz doesn't think she is really happy and is determined to be there for her sister.my review:First things first. Don't read on an empty stomach. This book made me so hungry as Iz made the rounds of restaurants that I think I gained 5 lbs just reading this book. Okay, not from reading, but from getting a snack to keep me from drooling all over the book. If I was reading this on my Kindle, I would have shorted it out.This is a pretty light-hearted, Bridget Jones in China type book; very fun and clever. Isabelle was very likable as were most of the characters. She bumbles around town while trying to get the hang of things.The only thing I didn't like was the obligatory romance part. I felt like shoving Iz off of a cliff during some parts and the ending was just too pat. Must there be romance or can't there just be fun and dating? No matter what happens to girls in these books, the author always needs them to find Mr Right by the end.Does this speak to the readers or is this the only way to market these books? This is why these are considered chick-lit and lose some credibility from otherwise enjoyable novels and Kitchen Chinese suffers the same fate. And we have a decent read instead of a really good one. Mildly disappointed once again! Except for the food. Yummy!my rating 3.75/5read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is decently written humorous chick lit with some delicious descriptions of Chinese food. The Chinese American protagonist loses her boyfriend, and then her publishing job amidst scandal. She decides to make a fresh start in Beijing, despite only knowing "kitchen Chinese" learned around food and the kitchen rather than possessing true fluency. The major appeals of the book are the humorous romantic encounters, descriptions of life in Beijing, mouth watering menus, and insight into the displaced feelings of a 1st gen American emigrating to a country where she blends in physically but not culturally.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I loved this book. Isabelle is a 20 something Chinese American who loses her job at a magazine in NYC and ends up moving to Beijing only knowing a little Chinese and living with her older sister. She gets a job at an expat magazine writing restaurant reviews and discovers that even though she considers herself American people there consider her Chinese.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Wow. Awkward. That's pretty much what I thought through most of the book. Dialogue was weird - the chick was sort of whiny and immature - every single thing that happened was predictable. But man oh man, the food porn. The FOOD in this book made me stick it out and finish. Probably wasn't really worth it though.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Read all reviews

Reviews

Nice, light summer read.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
2 things I love: China and food. So this was a good match for me. It reminded me of my month in China and all of the things I felt and understood about being a foreigner. I have always dreamed of going back. Maybe even living there in the expat community and really trying to live-live there. So it is interesting to see that while you could accomplish great things there (see: big fish, small pond) Your sense of alienation never goes away.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Although this seems like a memoir, it's fiction inspired by real life. Maybe all fiction is. It's the story of being an outsider,first by being of Chinese origin in America, then the title character goes to China and feels American. Nicly done.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A really interesting look at the growth of Beijing, as well as the inner workings of Chinese families and culture, with a bit of food knowledge sprinkled in. If any of that sounds at all interesting to you, I'd recommend it -- it was a worthwhile read.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Isabelle Lee, Iz, has just been fired from her job as a fact checker for a magazine. Encouraged by her friends she decides she needs an adventure and moves from Manhattan to Beijing, where her older sister Claire, a high-powered attorney, lives. Iz is determined to have an adventure but not to find her Chinese roots as if she were in "an Amy Tan novel". Iz considers herself American at heart, not Chinese. Claire gets her a job at a magazine for expats, Beijing NOW, where she ends up as the food critic. Her Mandarin is limited and she is unfamiliar with a lot of Chinese culture but she has lots of help from her new friends. Claire, the older, successful, introverted sister is a new person in Beijing, but Iz doesn't think she is really happy and is determined to be there for her sister.my review:First things first. Don't read on an empty stomach. This book made me so hungry as Iz made the rounds of restaurants that I think I gained 5 lbs just reading this book. Okay, not from reading, but from getting a snack to keep me from drooling all over the book. If I was reading this on my Kindle, I would have shorted it out.This is a pretty light-hearted, Bridget Jones in China type book; very fun and clever. Isabelle was very likable as were most of the characters. She bumbles around town while trying to get the hang of things.The only thing I didn't like was the obligatory romance part. I felt like shoving Iz off of a cliff during some parts and the ending was just too pat. Must there be romance or can't there just be fun and dating? No matter what happens to girls in these books, the author always needs them to find Mr Right by the end.Does this speak to the readers or is this the only way to market these books? This is why these are considered chick-lit and lose some credibility from otherwise enjoyable novels and Kitchen Chinese suffers the same fate. And we have a decent read instead of a really good one. Mildly disappointed once again! Except for the food. Yummy!my rating 3.75/5
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is decently written humorous chick lit with some delicious descriptions of Chinese food. The Chinese American protagonist loses her boyfriend, and then her publishing job amidst scandal. She decides to make a fresh start in Beijing, despite only knowing "kitchen Chinese" learned around food and the kitchen rather than possessing true fluency. The major appeals of the book are the humorous romantic encounters, descriptions of life in Beijing, mouth watering menus, and insight into the displaced feelings of a 1st gen American emigrating to a country where she blends in physically but not culturally.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I loved this book. Isabelle is a 20 something Chinese American who loses her job at a magazine in NYC and ends up moving to Beijing only knowing a little Chinese and living with her older sister. She gets a job at an expat magazine writing restaurant reviews and discovers that even though she considers herself American people there consider her Chinese.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Wow. Awkward. That's pretty much what I thought through most of the book. Dialogue was weird - the chick was sort of whiny and immature - every single thing that happened was predictable. But man oh man, the food porn. The FOOD in this book made me stick it out and finish. Probably wasn't really worth it though.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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