8 books to add to any food lover's collection

From insights into some of the world’s most popular restaurants to delectable recipes with which you can upgrade your home cooking skills.

Compelling titles for the foodie at heart

Hippocrates was known to say ‘Let food be thy medicine’. Given how food nourishes the body and soul, he could not have been more correct. Here are eight books bound to satisfy a craving or two.


The Everlasting Meal Cookbook
by Tamar Adler

Weighing in at an average of 1.3 billion tons per annum, food waste is one of the largest contributors to landfills today. Despite that, using up ingredients and leftovers before they all go bad can be quite the challenge. Enter The Everlasting Meal Cookbook. Containing more than 1,500 recipes on how to be clever with what’s already in the kitchen, Tamar Adler teaches us to make the most out of the extra scraps and dregs. From a fried rice lunch using a leftover burrito to stale doughnuts transformed into bread pudding, this is a book for those looking to keep the trash bags empty and their stomachs (and wallets) full.


by Jeremy Chan

If there is one thing that chef Jeremy Chan of two Michelin-starred restaurant Ikoyi is best known for, it is the signature incorporation of bold heat in his dishes. Having lived and worked in Hong Kong, Canada, sub-Saharan Africa and Europe, Chan and childhood friend Iré Hassan-Odukale combined expertise to bring a diverse and unmatched experience to the diners of London. In the book that shares the restaurant’s name, he dives into topics like seasonal produce and his culinary inspirations over the course of 80 recipes, unfolding what makes Ikoyi fare hot (literally and otherwise) in the process.


Strong, Sweet and Bitter 
by Cara Devine

Those who love to host friends and family in the comfort of their own home would know well the importance of keeping glasses full and spirits high. In Strong, Sweet and Bitter, Cara Devine, hostess of hit YouTube series Behind the Bar, offers the perfect read for those looking to graduate from their cork popping days. Here, she introduces the titular elements of the “flavour triangle” that, when combined in the right ways, allow one to create a beverage out of almost anything on hand. The perfect 101 guide to creating cocktails for all moods and occasions, this is a staple for both seasoned bartenders and mixology novices.


Of Cabbages and Kimchi
by James Read

In an age of superfoods and good gut health, the art of fermentation and fermented foods have become a cornerstone in modern cooking. James Read demystifies the science behind the 10 greatest “living” ferments and gives readers a closer look at the microbial process. From kimchi to kefir, this book shows how to recreate the magic in your own kitchen and use it in your cooking, no special equipment needed. Brought to life with gastro-surrealist watercolour illustrations by artist Marija Tiurina, Of Cabbages and Kimchi is targeted towards foodies passionate about produce and probiotics.


Dark Rye and Honey Cake
by Regula Ysewijn

Food is always better served with a side of cultural and historical significance, and that sentiment echoes loud and clear in author and historian Regula Ysewijn’s book. Shining the spotlight on rustic Belgian bakingDark Rye and Honey Cake recalls the long-forgotten recipes and traditions that have roots in the seasonal feasts and festivals of the Low Countries of Europe. Delve into the wonders of Christmas winter breads and waffles, Kermis vlaai and fried dough, Candlemas pancakes and more — all while getting familiar with the meaningful baking culture that lies at the heart of Belgium.


by Erchen Chang, Chung Shing Tat + Chung Wai Ting

A Michelin Bib Gourmand pick, London’s Bao restaurants grew from humble beginnings as a single food stall into the city’s top dog for Taiwanese-inspired eats. With six restaurants dotted throughout the city, Bao has amassed a hungry cult following for its namesake steamed buns, Taiwanese fried chicken, beef noodles and other lip-licking bites. In its first ever opus that is part cookbook and part manifesto, the founders of Bao pull back the curtain on 100 of their signature recipes, accompanied by personal stories and evocative photography and illustrations that are sure to tantalise the senses of its devotees and home cooks alike.


The Home Café
by Asia Lui Chapa

Café culture is all the rage, and drinks that look as good as they taste are a key reason. With Asia Lui Chapa’s help, avid café hoppers may now unleash their inner baristas and get creative with their caffeine at home, whether that be in the form of coffee, tea or matcha. Focusing on bringing the ambience and warmth of a café into the home, this book takes a tour through dessert-inspired lattes, fruity spritzes and other delectable sips. Much more exciting than your run-of-the-mill instant brew, the drinks concocted from the recipes here promise a morning pick-me-up in more ways than one.


Sweet Enough
by Alison Roman

Even with the help of a tried and tested recipe, executing an elaborate dessert can be a daunting task that many shy away from. Luckily for those still determined to get the better of their oven, pastry chef Alison Roman wants to prove that baking can be as effortless as it can be strenuous, and that working smarter and not harder often pays off. From salted lemon pie to toasted rice pudding, Roman’s recipes require little more than two hands and a couple of mixing bowls. The key takeaway? The best things in life are sweet and, sometimes, the easy option can also be the best one.


This article first appeared on Aug 14, 2023 in The Edge Malaysia.

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