Jen Lin-Liu Launches her Newest Released Book with a Wine Dinner Party at The Orchid
Jen Lin-Liu is now the proud and acclaimed author of two popular food-themed books after the recent release of her newest book, On the Noodle Road: From Beijing to Rome with Love and Pasta.
Coming to China in 2000 as a Fulbright Fellow, she has written extensively about food, culture, and travel for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Saveur, Travel + Leisure, etc. Her first book, a debut nonfiction memoir, Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China, shares her story that begins as a student at a cooking school where she became a nationally certified Chinese chef and follows her food education trail as she worked her way up to noodle-stall and dumpling-house apprentice to interning at a chic Shanghai restaurant.
Jen Lin-Liu’s First Book ‘Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China’
Fast forward five years later, she’s already opened a successful little homestyle Chinese restaurant, she’s now married and that’s the beginning of her newest published book, where she gets curious about Italian pasta after her husband treats her to a pasta-making class where she was struck by the similarities in methods used to prepare Italian pasta and Chinese noodles.
When I first saw this book title, I was immediately reminded of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love, a New York Times best selling book-turned-movie starring Julia Roberts…but without the praying in India or finding love in Bali. I guess the only thing in common is that both stories are personal memoirs of women who embark on life-changing travels that begin with eating pasta in Italy. But after this point, Jen continues her eating adventure. From noodles to dumplings to pasta and other variations of anything made out of flour and water or eggs (a bit of a loose definition of the term noodle), but enough to encourage and inspire her to travel through western China and on into Central Asia, Iran, Turkey, and across the Mediterranean.
Why noodles you ask? I quite like Jen’s explanation for her noodle-seeking obsession in an interview with Bon Appetit here:
“I was only really introduced to Chinese noodles after I moved to China in my early 20s–I wasn’t raised on them, because I’m of southern Chinese heritage, and there’s a big divide between northern and southern Chinese. And then, when I went to Italy and saw the process of making fettuccine, I realized it was the exact same method used for making Chinese noodles, that struck me as something really unexpected. I’ve struggled in my own mind with these ideas about how Eastern I am, and how Western I am, being born in the U.S. but raised by Chinese parents, and I saw noodles as a way to have that identity struggle, and my passion for food, come together in a book.”
Author Jen Lin-Liu Travels the Silk Road to Retrace the Migration of the Noodle
Having published two books is already quite an achievement, but the source of my admiration for Jen Lin-Liu (someone I’ve only met briefly in passing), is her wonderful hidden hutong restaurant + cooking school called Black Sesame Kitchen, one of my favorite restaurants in Beijing to get home-cooked Chinese food. A venue tucked away on Black Sesame Hutong Road just north of the over-crowded Nanluoguxiang aka my worst nightmare, this little restaurant is where many unexpected friendships have begun or blossomed and where I always make a point to bring out-of-town guests to give them quality, delicious Chinese food in a cozy, authentic Chinese kitchen environment. Highlight of Black Sesame Kitchen are their two elderly (and super cute) Chinese chefs prepare all dishes in front of your table and everything is served family-style alongside fine wines.
Though I haven’t read Jen Lin-Liu’s newest book yet, I wanted to share a handful of pretty interesting upcoming events this next week.
Sichuan Snacks Cooking Class & Book Talk with Jen Lin-Liu at Black Sesame Kitchen
Event Details: After living in Chengdu, Sichuan for the last year, Jen Lin-Liu has learnt the secrets of making the local Sichuan snacks.
‘On the Noodle Road’ Launch Party
M Food Talk: On the Noodle Road with Jen Lin Liu
If you had to just pick one, I’d clear your calendar Saturday night on September 7th as she will be celebrating the launch of her new book at The Orchid Boutique Hotel with a casual cocktail dinner with dishes from the Silk Road paired with The Wine Republic wines which sounds like a grand ol time.