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 Passmore (Asia the Beautiful Cookbook, not reviewed) was inspired to put together this group of Asian noodle recipes when she left Hong Kong and experienced ``noodle withdrawal,'' and she has done a bang-up job of collecting and replicating dishes. In fact, this book's only major flaw is that the recipes are a little too authentic for Western taste buds. Perhaps that's why the final chapter, containing Passmore's own vigorous innovations, like cold sesame noodles with grilled eggplant and squash, is so pleasing. Descriptions of unfamiliar products like dried rice sticks and bean-thread vermicelli are helpful, and margin notes are innovative and fun, covering everything from creating scallion-curl garnishes to noodle-slurping and how to avoid it. Sometimes, however, cross- referencing is out of whack. A note on how to fry tofu is mentioned in one recipe where fried cubes are called for, but other recipes command the reader to fry without explaining how. Not all of these recipes are foolproof, either. Three of the ingredients in a recipe for spicy Chinese bean threads are listed separately as seasonings but must be added along with the other ingredients, a move that is sure to cause confusion in the middle of a stir-frying frenzy. And in a cookbook calling not only for exotic noodles but also for hard-to-find items like kecap manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce) and lap cheong (Chinese pork sausages), it's thoughtless not to include a list of mail-order sources. Far above Spaghetti-Os but not quite up to Tampopo standards on the noodle achievement scale. (14 illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-02-594705-2
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1994