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9 new cookbooks that celebrate AAPI history and cuisine

Develop a deeper understanding of flavor and learn how to make hand-pulled noodles.
Illustration of three New cookbooks from AAPI chefs
TODAY Illustration / Amazon

During Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, TODAY is sharing the community’s history, pain, joy and what’s next for the AAPImovement. We will be publishing personal essays, stories, videos and specials throughout the entire month of May.

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, a period dedicated to honoring and celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. And when it comes to paying homage to the delicious and diverse foods of these communities, there is no shortage of incredible chefs and writers sharing stories and recipes from their cultures through cookbooks.

From Michelin-starred chef, Brandon Jew's debut book, "Mister Jiu's in Chinatown" to a surgical resident's love letter to Shanghai, here are nine new cookbooks — including some recommended by chefs — to add to your collection.

New AAPI-author cookbooks recommended by chefs

"Mister Jiu's in Chinatown," by Brandon Jew and Tienlon Ho

"Innovative and inspiring," was how chef Melissa King, described this new release from Jew. "The book features creative recipes from his Michelin-star restaurant, Mister Jiu's. The book is one of few that I’ve seen that truly celebrates modern Chinese-American cuisine and uplifts the food of our community."

Anita Lo, chef and author of "Solo: A Modern Cookbook for a Party of One," also recommended the book. "I love that it has recipes from scratch for many of the condiments I’ve been buying premade, such as hoisin, and the stories are wonderful," she said.

"Lemongrass and Lime," by Leah Cohen and Stephanie Banyas

Lo said that she loves this cookbook from Leah Cohen, the chef and owner of Pig and Khao in New York City. "This easy-to-follow guide to South East Asian flavors benefits from Leah’s keen palate and insistence on balance of flavors," she said.

"Filipinx," by Angela Dimayuga and Ligaya Mishan

While this book isn't out until October, you can preorder it now — and it's not one to miss. "This is a book you’ll want to sit and read cover to cover," Lo said. "The narrative is peppered with a fascinating history and in the end, you’ll be hosting Filipinx dinner parties with ease."

"Cook Real Hawai'i," by Sheldon Simeon and Garrett Snyder

"Almost every Asian culture exists in Hawai'i and they're all immigrants," said Dale Talde, chef and author of "Asian-American: Proudly Inauthentic Recipes from the Philippines to Brooklyn," who recommended this book from chef Sheldon Simeon. "There are Koreans, there's Japanese, there's Chinese — everybody's out there and they're all adding their own flavor into this pot." But besides going to a luau and eating Kalua pork, Talde said not many people know what true Hawai'i food is. But this cookbook can serve as a guide. With flavorful recipes and poignant stories, Simeon shares the influences and recipes, like wok-fried poke and crispy cauliflower katsu, that define Hawaiian cooking.

More new cookbooks from AAPI authors

"Xi'an Famous Foods," by Jason Wang and Jessica Chou

Xi’an Famous Foods started as a small stall in a mall in 2005 and has since expanded into a beloved New York restaurant chain with multiple locations. In this celebrated cookbook, CEO Jason Wang explores the history of his family's now-iconic chain and shares recipes from his hometown Xi’an, China. Readers can learn how to make hand-pulled biang-biang noodles, caramelized pork and so much more.

"The Flavor Equation," by Nik Sharma

Nik Sharma moved to the United States from Mumbai, India, to study molecular genetics before transitioning to a career in food. In his second book, "The Flavor Equation," released in late October, the cookbook author and recipe tester uses his unique knowledge to dive deep into the science of cooking. Through personal essays, stunning photographs and more than 100 mouthwatering recipes, readers can develop a deeper understanding of flavor — and the many elements that play into our perception of taste.

"My Shanghai," by Betty Liu

Food writer and surgical resident Betty Liu's parents grew up in Shanghai, and she grew up eating its food. In her debut novel, Liu delves into the delicious cuisines of the Chinese city, sharing recipes for authentic street food, as well as family favorites that have been passed down through the generations. From her mom's lion’s head meatballs to the flowering chive and pork slivers, there are 100 recipes to cook your way through. The book is organized by seasons, to emphasize the freshness of the city's cuisine.

"The Honeysuckle Cookbook," by Dzung Lewis

This cookbook, which came out in September, is filled with easy and tasty Asian-inspired recipes. Author Dzung Lewis, whose parents immigrated from Vietnam, has been sharing her delicious creations on YouTube for years. In this book, she combines some of the most popular selections from her channel along with new recipes for things like one-pan dinners and easy-to-make meals. Readers can expect to see twists on common foods, like mac and cheese with kimchi or quinoa pilaf with miso-curry dressing.

"Chaat," by Maneet Chauhan and Jody Eddy

Chaat in Hindi means "to lick," and the term refers to snacks or small bites, many of which can be found in the train stations across India. In this cookbook, celebrity chef Maneet Chauhan shares recipes and stories inspired by a journey traveling cross-country by rail, snacking on chaat all the way. Released in October, this cookbook was named "one of the best cookbooks of the year" by multiple publications.

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