10 AAPI Cookbooks You Need On Your Shelf

Amazon / Amazon

The best cookbooks are more than just collections of recipes—they're personal and reflective, showing the relationship a person has to their environment through specific dishes. As the late Anthony Bourdain said, “I think food, culture, people and landscape are all absolutely inseparable.” And when you examine the story of a culture's food, you can learn so much about its people.

If you want to further explore the breadth and depth of Asian cuisine and culture during AAPI Heritage Month, here are 10 cookbooks from a range of authors that aim to enlighten.

1. The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook // Patricia Tanumihardja

Sasquatch Books/Amazon

There’s a reason why the phrase “just like grandma used to make” gets tossed around so often. In this cookbook, writer Patricia Tanumihardja compiles generations-old recipes from grandmothers of Asian descent—including Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Korean, Indonesian, Thai, and Indian—and tells the stories of the women who cooked them. The recipes were passed down among a number of families and showcase a wide variety of flavors. The book even includes an exhaustive glossary of terms for anyone unfamiliar with what you'll need for each dish.

2. East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing // Meera Sodha

Flatiron Books/Amazon

Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or looking to incorporate more plant-based cooking into your meals, Meera Sodha has something for you. Her cookbook takes inspiration from a variety of Asian cuisines, including kimchi pancakes, curries, and desserts like salted miso brownies.

3. The Chinese Cook Book // Shiu Wong Chan

Forgotten Books/Amazon

Author Shiu Wong Chan originally wrote this book in the early 1900s in order to introduce Chinese cuisine to an audience that largely knew nothing about it. The result is a mix of authentic Chinese recipes and Westernized dinner ideas like chop-suey, Chinese frankfurters, and the poetic “Food of the God of Law Horn” [PDF].

4. Maangchi's Big Book of Korean Cooking // Maangchi

Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Amazon

Dubbed “YouTube’s Korean Julia Child” by The New York Times, Maangchi regularly introduces the staples of Korean cooking to her 5 million-plus subscribers. From vegan Buddhist fare to homemade rice liquor and inventive street food, this cookbook compiles some of Maangchi’s favorites and explores the variety and vibrancy of Korean cooking. You'll also find a chapter on cooking techniques that can be applied to each recipe.

5. Mister Jiu's in Chinatown // Brandon Jew

Ten Speed Press/Amazon

Brandon Jew, of the Michelin-starred Mister Jiu’s restaurant, connects the fundamentals of Chinese cooking, the impact it's had in the West, and his own family history to create this deeply personal cookbook. Inside, you'll find recipes for favorites like orange chicken wings, liberty roast duck, classic dumplings, and more.

6. Vietnamese Food Any Day // Andrea Nguyen

Ten Speed Press/Amazon

With decades of experience and personal memories, Andrea Nguyen brings the authentic flavors of Vietnam into any home. Nguyen has tips and tricks for creating Vietnamese food from ingredients available in any market, so there's no need to make a trip to a specialty grocer. You'll learn how to make main courses and desserts like banh mi, chili garlic chicken wings, no-churn Vietnamese coffee ice cream, and more.

7. Coconut & Sambal // Lara Lee

Bloomsbury Press/Amazon

Take a look into Indonesian cooking and culture with chef and food writer Lara Lee as your guide. Containing over 80 recipes, Lee uses simple techniques and accessible ingredients to tell the story of Indonesia's cuisine. Coconut & Sambal also mixes in stories about Indonesia's history and travel photography that will have you anxious with wanderlust.

8. Japanese Home Cooking // Sonoko Sakai

Roost Books/Amazon

In Japanese Home Cooking, Sonoko Sakai, a food writer and cooking teacher, introduces ingredients, techniques, and 100-plus recipes for cooks of all levels who want to introduce Japanese flavors into their kitchen. In addition to recipes and guidelines for cooking, you'll also get unique photo essays focusing on the men and women preserving traditional cuisine in California and Japan.

9. I Am a Filipino: And This Is How We Cook // Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad


San Diego native Nicole Ponseca moved to New York to pursue a career in advertising but found herself constantly seaching for the authentic Filipino food she was accustomed to. Eventually, she opened two restaurants, Maharlika and Jeepney, and wrote a cookbook detailing how to eat and cook like a Filipino. While many dishes retain the Chinese, Mexican, and Middle-Eastern influences that are so important to Filipino food and its history, others are wholly unique to the region.

10. Milk & Cardamom // Hetal Vasavada

Page Street Publishing/Amazon

Former MasterChef contestant and founder of the blog Milk & Cardamom, Hetal Vasavada draws inspiration from her Indian-American upbringing to make delicious desserts with vibrant flavors. It's a great book for anyone with a sweet tooth looking to try new spins on traditional pastries and other desserts.