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The Chile Pepper in China Reviews

The Chile Pepper in China by Brian R. Dott

The Chile Pepper in China: A Cultural Biography

Brian R. Dott

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1 review

Imprint: Columbia University Press
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 3 Apr 2020
ISBN: 9780231195324

Brian R. Dott explores how the non-native chile went from obscurity to ubiquity in China, influencing not just cuisine but also medicine, language, and cultural identity. The Chile Pepper in China sheds new light on the piquant cultural impact of a potent plant and raises broader questions regarding notions of authenticity in cuisine.

4 stars out of 5
Fuchsia Dunlop
20 Jun 2020

"Dott shows in detail how the chilli was incorporated into existing local traditions"

It has also become associated with female sassiness and sexiness, from the peppery character Wang Xifeng in the classic 18th-century novel Dream of the Red Chamber to a modern pop song, ‘Spicy Girls’, by the Hunanese singer Song Zuying (the chilli-laced video of this song, available on YouTube, is fun to watch). The Chile Pepper in China is a valuable resource for anyone interested in Chinese culinary culture or the global history of the chilli as symbol — ‘vitamin, vegetable, preservative and spice’. Dott’s research is extensive, while his writing is entertaining, digestible and peppered with much fascinating information.