Non-Fiction Review: Kenny Lao’s “Hey There, Dumpling!”

I’ve had dumplings and steamed buns for two days straight now, and I still want more! These recipes are delicious! And a lot of fun to make. A big part of Mr. Lao’s book is urging you to get together with friends and family to make his recipes, and I can assure you, it is just as much fun as he says!

The very first thing you notice about this book is Mr. Lao’s enthusiasm! His passion for life, family, and food – especially dumplings – spills from each page, and it is impossible not to get excited as you read! You will be eager to dive in and make the recipes. This was something that stuck with me, as often I have either found dry cookbooks that are just a recitation of ingredients, or books that are more narrative with a few recipes thrown in. Both initially interest me, but after a few uses, they sit untouched on the shelf. However, Mr. Lao’s book reminds me of meals with friends and family, where “delicious, how did you make that?” and “I’ll write the recipe down for you” are passed around the table as often as the serving dish. Actual excitement for sharing the food! I was very impressed.

What sold me, as any good cookbook should do, was the great, mouth-watering pictures of the dishes! Be forewarned, they will most likely make you hungry. And as Mr. Lao’s writing style is to encourage the reader and explain all the ways that you CAN do it, all factors combine to stoke the reader’s eagerness to cook! (And subsequently, eat!)

Speaking of pictures, as we made our different dough for the buns and dumplings, I was often asked if it looked right. Mr. Lao gives great description, but no pictures, of the basics, which would have been helpful. His personalized notes and descriptions were of great help, however, so our attempts still turned out very tasty!

There are personal touches, comments, and drawings all throughout the book, which are both helpful and fun. For example, many help the reader get a sense of what sort of flavors are in a dish, and who might like or dislike it. I really appreciated those when choosing which recipes to do with different groups of friends.

I used the e-book version and found the links within the recipes to different places in the book to be very helpful. For those using the print edition, I would recommend a good cookbook stand with bookmarks on different recipes, as there is a lot of turning back and forth from dough, to filling, to dip.

Highly recommended, and on my Great Gifts to Give list!

I received a review copy of this work from the Publisher through NetGalley

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