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The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook

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From rising culinary star Danny Bowien, chef and cofounder of the tremendously popular Mission Chinese Food restaurants, comes an exuberant cookbook that tells the story of an unconventional idea born in San Francisco that spread cross-country, propelled by wildly inventive recipes that have changed what it means to cook Chinese food in America Mission Chinese Food is not e From rising culinary star Danny Bowien, chef and cofounder of the tremendously popular Mission Chinese Food restaurants, comes an exuberant cookbook that tells the story of an unconventional idea born in San Francisco that spread cross-country, propelled by wildly inventive recipes that have changed what it means to cook Chinese food in America 
Mission Chinese Food is not exactly a Chinese restaurant. It began its life as a pop-up: a restaurant nested within a divey Americanized Chinese joint in San Francisco’s Mission District. From the beginning, a spirit of resourcefulness and radical inventiveness has infused each and every dish at Mission Chinese Food. Now, hungry diners line up outside both the San Francisco and New York City locations, waiting hours for platters of Sizzling Cumin Lamb, Thrice-Cooked Bacon, Fiery Kung Pao Pastrami, and pungent Salt-Cod Fried Rice. The force behind the phenomenon, chef Danny Bowien is, at only thirty-three, the fastest-rising young chef in the United States. Born in Korea and adopted by parents in Oklahoma, he has a broad spectrum of influences. He’s a veteran of fine-dining kitchens, sushi bars, an international pesto competition, and a grocery-store burger stand. In 2013 Food & Wine named him one of the country’s Best New Chefs and the James Beard Foundation awarded him its illustrious Rising Star Chef Award. In 2011 Bon Appétit named Mission Chinese Food the second-best new restaurant in America, and in 2012 the New York Times hailed the Lower East Side outpost as the Best New Restaurant in New York City.  The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook tracks the fascinating, meteoric rise of the restaurant and its chef. Each chapter in the story—from the restaurant’s early days, to an ill-fated trip to China, to the opening of the first Mission Chinese in New York—unfolds as a conversation between Danny and his collaborators, and is accompanied by detailed recipes for the addictive dishes that have earned the restaurant global praise. Mission Chinese’s legions of fans as well as home cooks of all levels will rethink what it means to cook Chinese food, while getting a look into the background and insights of one of the most creative young chefs today.


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From rising culinary star Danny Bowien, chef and cofounder of the tremendously popular Mission Chinese Food restaurants, comes an exuberant cookbook that tells the story of an unconventional idea born in San Francisco that spread cross-country, propelled by wildly inventive recipes that have changed what it means to cook Chinese food in America Mission Chinese Food is not e From rising culinary star Danny Bowien, chef and cofounder of the tremendously popular Mission Chinese Food restaurants, comes an exuberant cookbook that tells the story of an unconventional idea born in San Francisco that spread cross-country, propelled by wildly inventive recipes that have changed what it means to cook Chinese food in America 
Mission Chinese Food is not exactly a Chinese restaurant. It began its life as a pop-up: a restaurant nested within a divey Americanized Chinese joint in San Francisco’s Mission District. From the beginning, a spirit of resourcefulness and radical inventiveness has infused each and every dish at Mission Chinese Food. Now, hungry diners line up outside both the San Francisco and New York City locations, waiting hours for platters of Sizzling Cumin Lamb, Thrice-Cooked Bacon, Fiery Kung Pao Pastrami, and pungent Salt-Cod Fried Rice. The force behind the phenomenon, chef Danny Bowien is, at only thirty-three, the fastest-rising young chef in the United States. Born in Korea and adopted by parents in Oklahoma, he has a broad spectrum of influences. He’s a veteran of fine-dining kitchens, sushi bars, an international pesto competition, and a grocery-store burger stand. In 2013 Food & Wine named him one of the country’s Best New Chefs and the James Beard Foundation awarded him its illustrious Rising Star Chef Award. In 2011 Bon Appétit named Mission Chinese Food the second-best new restaurant in America, and in 2012 the New York Times hailed the Lower East Side outpost as the Best New Restaurant in New York City.  The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook tracks the fascinating, meteoric rise of the restaurant and its chef. Each chapter in the story—from the restaurant’s early days, to an ill-fated trip to China, to the opening of the first Mission Chinese in New York—unfolds as a conversation between Danny and his collaborators, and is accompanied by detailed recipes for the addictive dishes that have earned the restaurant global praise. Mission Chinese’s legions of fans as well as home cooks of all levels will rethink what it means to cook Chinese food, while getting a look into the background and insights of one of the most creative young chefs today.

30 review for The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook

  1. 4 out of 5

    Justin Sorbara-Hosker

    I'm probably not going to cook much from this cookbook - its some pretty next level stuff, and I tend to like my food more traditional, not put through some new cuisine/high end/fancy food filter (also, if its inevitable that I can go to a restaurant and eat the same dish but done better, I'll leave it to the experts - i.e pho, which is one of my favourite things, and I'll never master it). Not to mischaracterize Bowien - he seems to care what food tastes like, rather than what it looks like, as I'm probably not going to cook much from this cookbook - its some pretty next level stuff, and I tend to like my food more traditional, not put through some new cuisine/high end/fancy food filter (also, if its inevitable that I can go to a restaurant and eat the same dish but done better, I'll leave it to the experts - i.e pho, which is one of my favourite things, and I'll never master it). Not to mischaracterize Bowien - he seems to care what food tastes like, rather than what it looks like, as he should, IMO ... in other words, his food doesn't seem pretentious. There's a lot of Asian recipes in here, and he includes recipes for traditional southern US BBQ, too. Dude does what he wants. But you should know that these recipes are generally for ambitious cooks. But: as a younger person, I worked in kitchens, and considered the cooking route for my working life, and its always good to find a cookbook that is more than a cookbook - cookbook/bio, or cookbook/how the restaurant business works are my favourite kinds of cookbooks, and this is one of those. There's a thing about cookbooks that you read while not in the kitchen. Wish there were more like this; but they probably don't sell as well as the regular kind.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Forgottendreamr

    Restaurant recipes, so a lot of prep. Not good for regular home meals.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carla

    Lots of Q&A with the chef, a few recipes.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Shuting

    coming from China and having been to the Mission Chinese restaurant twice, I really like how this book unfolded the story around Daniel personally and the restaurant. Now I understand why they wouldnt change the restaurant's name on the store front - well they feel very attached to Lung Shan, the original Chinese restaurant and now the partner of Mission Chinese and would not want to erase the connection there. I like how this interview/conversation effectively brings out some of the most intima coming from China and having been to the Mission Chinese restaurant twice, I really like how this book unfolded the story around Daniel personally and the restaurant. Now I understand why they wouldnt change the restaurant's name on the store front - well they feel very attached to Lung Shan, the original Chinese restaurant and now the partner of Mission Chinese and would not want to erase the connection there. I like how this interview/conversation effectively brings out some of the most intimate and important memories and facts about the establishment. I could not imagine what Bowien has experienced as a young line cook in NYC and he described the bullying, suffering, surviving so well with his plain but powerful words. On the recipes side, I think this book shows a very good understanding of Chinese cooking, and I have been to Sichuan twice just for food so I know that the recipes in this book are reasonable and a good adaption of Chinese recipes instead of irresponsible appropriation. It takes lots of courage and talent to be able to make a cuisine from another culture with lots of integrity and originality. Yet some of the recipes are slightly overly complicated and too much of restaurant style for me. For example, I would not use tomato paste in my mapo tofu sauce.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bookworm

    Interesting if you are a fan. Can't remember what drove me to get this book but it sounded intriguing. I've never been to the Mission Chinese restaurants but I enjoy the stories of cooks, chefs, etc. and thought it might be a good read.   Part-cookbook, part biography, part interview with Danny Bowien, Chris Ying and some of the people they've worked with, etc. the book itself is trying to be too much of everything without being any one thing. I think I was under the impression it was more of a co Interesting if you are a fan. Can't remember what drove me to get this book but it sounded intriguing. I've never been to the Mission Chinese restaurants but I enjoy the stories of cooks, chefs, etc. and thought it might be a good read.   Part-cookbook, part biography, part interview with Danny Bowien, Chris Ying and some of the people they've worked with, etc. the book itself is trying to be too much of everything without being any one thing. I think I was under the impression it was more of a cookbook/biography of Mission Chinese itself (as in the restaurant but not necessarily the people behind it).   There are some really gorgeous pictures (the book itself also has a nice picture of a dish on the front cover) but I wouldn't be compelled to make any of the recipes since I am not the type to put in that effort and would trust the experts a lot more. I also wasn't all that interested in either of Danny or Chris (or anyone else's!) stories in the book.    Based on Yelp reviews it seems to be they found some sort of way to make Americanized Chinese food/Americanized Asian fusion food, etc. into a "thing" which is odd because it's not a new concept.   As you can tell, I don't get the hype. Skip it unless you really like the concept or like cookbooks.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Haley

    I've eaten at Mission Chinese a couple of times and have always been intrigued by the clearly-not-really-chinese nature of it. I've explained to Andre that it's very very good as long as you approach it from the angle of "this is a brand new thing" rather than expecting authenticity or familiarity. It was a lot of fun, then, to read this book, which is essentially half memoir (as a long-format interview) and half recipe book. It's mentioned early on that the recipes are written pretty much exactl I've eaten at Mission Chinese a couple of times and have always been intrigued by the clearly-not-really-chinese nature of it. I've explained to Andre that it's very very good as long as you approach it from the angle of "this is a brand new thing" rather than expecting authenticity or familiarity. It was a lot of fun, then, to read this book, which is essentially half memoir (as a long-format interview) and half recipe book. It's mentioned early on that the recipes are written pretty much exactly as prepared at the restaurant, without regard for practicality in the home kitchen. But as someone without a smoker or 100,000 BTU burner for the wok, I wasn't really expecting to come away from this book with new weeknight recipes. Rather the value in this book, to me, was the story and the creativity shown in the dishes, with some fun local tidbits of culinary history thrown in. That being said, the most valuable part of the book cooking-wise to me is the in-depth directory of condiments, oils, and sauces at the end of the book. A mix of DIY and their favorite store bought brands (with photos!) plus techniques makes this section something I'll be returning to. .... but for now, I'm really craving some Kung Pao pastrami......

  7. 5 out of 5

    Julien

    I didn't really connect with the stories in the book and there we're enough recipes to make it a solid cookbook. It was more like a book of autobiographical vignettes, punctuated by recipes. I was hoping for more recipes to work with.

  8. 4 out of 5

    JDAZDesigns

    Not what I expected. More than I wanted.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Very frank, personal memoir with recipes from one of the best Chinese restaurants I’ve ever visited.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Katie Johnstonbaugh

    So being from Oklahoma, I have a bit of loyalty to Danny, (whose roots came from here), but this was a great read. I love cookbooks that not only have recipes but a narrative weaving through them as well. you get quite the peek into the rise of Chinese Mission and the trials and tests of opening a restaurant. The recipes sound amazing but if you don't have a good Asian market, you'd be hard pressed to find some of the ingredients, although the Internet opens ingredients to all. This is not a coo So being from Oklahoma, I have a bit of loyalty to Danny, (whose roots came from here), but this was a great read. I love cookbooks that not only have recipes but a narrative weaving through them as well. you get quite the peek into the rise of Chinese Mission and the trials and tests of opening a restaurant. The recipes sound amazing but if you don't have a good Asian market, you'd be hard pressed to find some of the ingredients, although the Internet opens ingredients to all. This is not a cookbook for the beginner, but due to the popularity of his three restaurants, I believe the recipes are probably really great.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    Had the good fortune to finally eat at the SF restaurant this weekend so it made reading the book all the more yummy after eating the Salt Cod Fried Rice, Kung Pao Pastrami and Sichuan-peppercorn-numbing chicken wings. I will never make a single dish in this book, but I will now look to find Mapo Tofu on menus. Loved the personal stories shared here.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    Enjoyed Bowien's story (both personal and professional) but the fun of the narrative's dialogue style wore off after a few chapters. All your favorite Mission Chinese recipes are covered, nice photography, and the chapter on stocking your pantry was helpful.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Derek Barnes

    A feast of exciting new umami-bombs from Danny Bowien.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Eric Dowdle

    There are tons of memoir/cookbooks out there, but this is one of the best I've ever read on both counts.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Eye Summers

    ("the sauce with the angry old lady on the jar")

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nikki Ference

    It's not just a cookbook. It's a journey. It's a memoir. It's amazing!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Kosiec

    This isn't a traditional cookbook, but a raw and personal account of Mission Chinese. I'm in awe of Danny's creativity.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    Three and a half to four stars The recipes didn't interest me as much as the memoir and interviews did

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mickey

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kelcie

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kim Williams

  22. 5 out of 5

    Oliver

  23. 5 out of 5

    Judy

  24. 4 out of 5

    Harry Mills

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

  27. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nick

  30. 5 out of 5

    Zerina Bajramovic

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