Sharon’s Favorite Asian Cookbooks & Authors

Sharon pictured with chef Martin Yan Sharon's Favorite Asian Cookbooks & Authors

Every so often, readers will ask me what Asian cookbooks would I recommend. I would say that it just depends! There are so many Asian cookbooks, covering different ethnic cuisines and styles, ranging from traditional recipes to fusion. One caveat is that most Asian cookbooks will not have allergy aware substitutions. You will need to apply some of the Allergy Aware Asian Fare substitutions or check out What’s in Nut Free Wok’s Cupboard? Allergy Aware Ingredients that I have shared to adapt the recipes to suit your needs. 11/19/2023 Updated post: minor edits for readability and added a few more favorite recommendations.

Disclaimer: Please check that all ingredients are suitable for your allergies and be sure to ask your medical care team regarding any allergy related questions (I do not share medical advice). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Chinese Instant Pot Cookbook by Sharon Wong

I have such enormous respect and admiration for all of the chefs, restaurant owners, and cookbook authors below. It’s an honor to have the opportunity to write Chinese Instant Pot Cookbook! I love being the person to help make Asian food recipes more accessible with simple substitutions. If you haven’t heard about my cookbook, you can read more about it. I have a few recipes from the cookbook available on the blog:

Grace Young, Stir Fry Master

I have great admiration for Grace. Her writing is lovely, her stories touch my heart, and her recipes are exactly the way my mom and relatives would make their dishes. She is the author of three Asian cookbooks: The Breath of a Wok (affiliate) is a primer on how to select and properly use a wok with many recipes.

The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen captures the spirit and cultural beliefs expressed through Chinese cooking and personal stories. Even though the stories are of Grace and her family, they are relatable. I learn something about myself and my family every time I read her cookbook. I highly recommend this book for Chinese-Americans. The stories are especially relatable to Cantonese families from San Francisco.

Her third book, Stir Frying to the Sky’s Edge, is a collection of stir fry recipes and stories from all parts of Asia and the rest of the world. It’s a very interesting Asian cookbook!

Grace has been a tireless advocate for preserving Chinatowns in the US over the last few years and most received the 2022 Humanitarian of the Year Award from the James Beard Foundation. Congratulations, Grace!!!

Andrea Nguyen, Viet World Kitchen

I follow Andrea Nguyen on social media, read her blog, and have two of her Asian cookbooks, Asian Dumplings (affiliate) and The Banh Mi Handbook (affiliate). I love to read Asian Dumplings to learn her dumpling making methods. Andrea is thorough and analytical writing about food, ingredients, and methods. She speaks to my inner geekiness about cooking.

I finally ordered a copy of Asian Dumplings when she published her Vietnamese sandwich cookbook, The Bahn Mi Handbook. It’s pretty amazing that she could fill an entire cookbook with basically sandwich recipes. She’s thorough and creative. She also has two other cookbooks about Vietnamese food and tofu.

Ming Tsai, East Meets West

Ming Tsai’s Asian cookbooks have an East meets West theme, Asian fusion. He’s also notable for advocating for food allergy restaurant safety protocols in the state of Massachusetts.

Ming Tsai has written a few cookbooks, Blue Ginger, which might be well suited for those who enjoy fine dining and Simply Ming, which is more about simple techniques for East meets West cooking.

I haven’t read Simply Ming One-Pot Meals yet. But I will definitely be on the look out for it as the recipes look very delicious and I love the simplicity of cooking everything in one pot.

Martin Yan, Yan Can Cook

I grew up watching Martin Yan cook and entertain on his PBS television show “Yan Can Cook.” He has written many books. My favorite Martin Yan cookbook is my autographed copy of Martin Yan’s China. It’s a gorgeous cookbook that gives an overview of regional Chinese cuisine. His recipes are written clearly and remind me of my family’s Chinese meals.

Asian Cookbooks
My fan girl photo op with Chef Martin Yan at a cooking demo!

My family and I had a chance to meet him at a cooking demo and book signing. The highlight was his demonstration of how to relax a chicken for months. We talked about how to relax a chicken for weeks! If you want a good laugh, watch the video! It’s the best 2 minutes of your day and we just need a little bit of lighthearted fun in our lives.

The Gluten Free Asian Kitchen by Laura B. Russell

One of the first allergy-friendly Asian cookbooks is The Gluten Free Asian Kitchen. It’s a great collection of gluten free Asian recipes. Most of the recipes use naturally gluten free ingredients such as rice flour and adapt traditional recipes by using simple substitutions such as a gluten free tamari sauce instead of soy sauce. Some recipes are more complicated recipes which adapt wheat based recipes into gluten free ones. I think that the recipes are clearly written and stay true to traditional methods. Some of the recipes might  require some adaptations to be nut free, dairy free, soy free, etc.. When I first read the cookbook, our family didn’t have any gluten intolerance so I didn’t try the recipes.

Discovering Korean Cuisine: Recipes from the Best Korean Restaurants in Los Angeles

This Korean cookbook is collection of recipes of favorite recipes from the best Korean restaurants in Los Angeles. One of the reasons I love it is that I learned a lot about typical ingredients found in Korean cuisine, which dishes contain nuts, and what are they called in Korean. The information helps me to understand a Korean menu while dining out or an ingredient list when grocery shopping.

Williams-Sonoma: Food Made Fast (Asian)

I love Williams-Sonoma cookbooks and this Asian cookbook does not disappoint! William Sonoma recipes are always high quality and well written. They turn out exactly the way one would expect. I enjoy the Williams-Sonoma: Food Made Fast series (affiliate link) as the recipes are easy, fast, and simple but still taste good. I highly recommend this Asian cookbook for those who are learning to cook for themselves. This Asian cookbook also uses ingredients that are available in most supermarkets.

Dim Sum: the Art of Chinese Tea Lunch by Ellen Blonder

I love Ellen Blonder’s dim sum cookbook (affiliate). It’s beautifully illustrated with her watercolor drawings and she shares stories that are so familiar to me. She’s also author of another cookbook, Every Grain of Rice, which has homestyle recipes that I grew up with and love so much. Every Grain of Rice is out of print and sometimes used copies sell for an exorbitant amount. I wish I bought a copy when I had a chance and still look for it at used bookstores!

The Nom Wah Cookbook by Wilson Tang

The Nom Wah Cookbook was published in 2020 when everyone was at home cooking and few people were able to dine out. And if you know me, you know I love dim sum and cheung fun (rice rolls). I reviewed the cookbook and shared their recipe for a shrimp rice noodle roll recipe aka ha cheung. The restaurant is so iconic and I’m so glad they shared their recipes.

The Woks of Life: Recipes to Know and Love From a Chinese American Family

I saw The Woks of Life cookbook at the library right after it was released. Of course I checked it out from the library and read it from cover to cover. I enjoyed reading about the stories and experiences of the Leung family. The recipes were well-written and very relatable recipes, with a good combination of home-style recipes as well as restaurant favorites.

Your Suggestions?

I tend to like Asian cookbooks with some stories about their families and traditions. I like cookbooks which stay true to traditional cooking methods. Then it’s easy to understand how to make allergy related substitutions so that I don’t end up with something random. But it’s also fine to have some fun and create Asian inspired meals. What are your favorite Asian cookbooks and Asian cuisines?

Related reading: Favorite Food Allergy Books


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About Sharon Wong 275 Articles
Welcome to Nut Free Wok, a blog about Allergy Aware Asian Fare. I hope that you will find my food allergy mom experiences helpful and enjoyable to read as I write about recipes, cooking techniques, Asian ingredients, and food allergy related awareness and advocacy issues. My professional experiences include education, teaching, and a little bit of science and computers. Thank you for visiting! ~Sharon Wong, M.Ed.


  1. I like Fuschia Dunlop’s books. She was the first woman to study as chef at the Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine. I went to amazon to link to the book I have, and it’s only selling used from $94. I would be happy to sell it for $90 LOL! But, she has other books that are not out of print. One, I got from the library, , but it is a memoir not a cookbook. It was what prompted me to get one of her cookbooks.

    • I’ve seen some of her cookbooks at the library too but I didn’t look carefully. I will have to check her out again and thanks for your offer to sell your book for $90. You’re too funny, Holly! LOL <3

  2. I bet I would love the Ming Tsai book. I’ve followed him on various cooking shows through the years. He has a restaurant here in Massachusetts too. Thanks for the recommendations.

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