Cookbooks of Asia and the Pacific

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from Asia, Hawai‘i,
and Oceania

Authentic cookbooks that have been personally tested and reviewed, enabling you to make easy and reliable cookbook selections. My experience with these cuisines comes from close to 30 years of cooking the foods of Asia and Oceania, extensive travel in Asia, and living in Hawai‘i.

General Asian Cookbooks
Chinese Cookbooks
Indian Cookbooks
Indonesian Cookbooks
Japanese Cookbooks
Korean Cookbooks
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Thai Cookbooks
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General Pacific Cookbooks
Hawaiian Cookbooks

BOOKS about the
ingredients used in Asian
and Pacific cuisines

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Art Culinaire
Bon Appetit
Chile Pepper
Cooks Illustrated


Hawaiian Cookbooks
(New books added at end of list)
The Food of Paradise The Food of Paradise, Exploring Hawaii’s Culinary Heritage - by Rachel Laudan - Culinary history, market and garden tours, personal memoirs, and a sampling of authentic recipes are nicely integrated throughout the thoroughly interesting and informational Food of Paradise. The chapters include Local Food, Ethnic Food, Kama‘aina Food, and Hawaiian Food. No pictures of finished dishes, but many photos of the old times through the present here in Hawai‘i.
Sam Choy's Kitchen Sam Choy's Kitchen - by Sam Choy, et al (Hardcover 1999) - Sam Choy's Kitchen is a great sampling of easy to follow, good to eat, down home Hawaiian cooking with all of its cultural influences, by our own Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine master. These recipes are from his popular TV show. Recipes are as varied as the people who live here, from New Wave Marinated ‘Ahi Salad to Chicken Long Rice - ubiquitous at the luau, and for the hot day - Poha Berry Bisque (just go pick the papaya, the poha berries, and the mango), to the hearty Portuguese Sausage Corn Soup. They are all so ONO? Open the fridge and see what’s inside.
A Taste of Hawaii A Taste of Hawaii: New Cooking from the Crossroads of the Pacific - by Jean-Marie Josselin - A traditional French chef moves to Hawaii and immerses himself in the local foods, and multicultural cooking methods. Here are recipes that are some of the finest examples of Hawaiian Regional Cuisine. His sauces, chutneys, dips and relishes are some of the best. I cannot say the recipes are all easy, but they are awesome, i.e. Wok Seared Sea Scallops with Green Curry-Coconut-Basil Sauce, Hawaiian Pesto, or Samoan Crab Meat Ravioli with Crab-Lemongrass Sauce. Photos of many of the plated dishes.
Fruits of Hawaii Fruits of Hawai‘i - by Carey D. Miller, Katherine Bazore, Mary Bartow - Fruits of Hawaii is a helpful book for people who live the tropics or have an interest in recipes and information on tropical fruits. Each fruit has sections on its description, history on the islands, nutritional value, supply & recipes. It's a great book to have when you are wondering what in the world to do with all that lilikoi, baskets of poha berries, and bags of lychee and rambutan.
Sam Choy's Sampler Sam Choy's Sampler: Welcome to the Wonderful World of Hawai‘i's Cuisine - by Sam Choy (Spiral-bound) - A great introduction to the cooking of Sam Choy. A sampling of 80 of some of his best recipes, always simple, always ono (delicious). If you have a few of his books, you won’t need this one, if not, it is a good first choice. Many pictures.
The Choy of Cooking The Choy of Cooking: Sam Choy's Island Cuisine - by Sam Choy, Catherine Enomoto - Another Sam Choy book that you can't go wrong with. There are some fusion and a lot of local recipes in here. Grandma's Meatloaf, Local Boy Smoked Pork, Da Wife's Bean Soup, Hawaiian Pineapple Barbecue Sauce and Stuffed ‘Ahi with Hana Butter and Papaya Coulis. They are all so simple and so satisfying.
Hawaiian Cookbook Hawaiian Cookbook - by Roana and Gene Schindler (paperback) - The recipes present a good example of local food, are clearly presented and simple to prepare. The Hawaiian Cookbook includes a chapter on planning and having a lu‘au complete with sample menues. Much useful information is included throughout the book. No photos, but drawings help with folding and cutting methods.
Sam Choy's Poke
Sam Choy's Poke - by Sam Choy, et al - Sam Choy hosts a poke contest in Hawai‘i every year. There are lots of ways to make poke and he has more than a few delicious ones. If you can get fresh seafood and fish and like poke, this is your kind of book.
Ethnic Foods of Hawaii Ethnic Foods of Hawai‘i - by Ann Kondo Corum - This classic has a great collection of ethnic Hawaiian recipes. Hawaiian, Japanese, Okinawan, Chinese, Filipino, Thai, Portuguese, Puerto Rican, Samoan, Vietnamese and Korean dishes that are commonly consumed all over the islands. No photos. Concise descriptions of each cuisine and culture, that are amazingly informative given the space allotted. Helpful glossary included.
A Taste of Aloha A Taste of Aloha: A Collection of Recipes from the Junior League of Honolulu - A Taste of Aloha is a surprisingly good collection of all kine local recipes, mostly home cooking utilizing local ingredients, with an occasional recipe from island restaurants. It is always interesting to see how recipes from around the world get morphed here. A recipe on each of hundreds of pages, no pictures.
Another Taste of Aloha Another Taste of Aloha - by Junior League of Honolulu - The same but more. There are a lot of good recipes to come out of Honolulu, and hey, it is for a good cause.
Great Chefs of Hawaii Great Chefs of Hawaii (hardcover) - (spiral bound) - by Kaui Philpotts - This book is a companion to the International TV series by the same name. There are many fine Pacific Rim Fusion and Hawaii Regional Cuisine recipes in this book from outstanding restaurants - Merriman’s, Sam Choy’s, Roy’s, The Plantation House, Hali‘imaile General Store, and La Mer just to name a few. The recipes appear to be more complicated than they are because each recipe is actually a whole dinner ie. Blackened Jawaiian Spice Chicken Breasts with Banana-Rum Sauce and Chili Corn Cakes.
The Choy of Seafood - by Sam Choy - You cannot go wrong with this cookbook, filled with Sam Choy's creative seafood recipes. Examples: Ginger Pesto-Crusted ‘Opakapaka with Coconut Cream Sauce, Mahimahi Black Beans with Stir-Fried Vegetables, Coconut Mac-Nut Shrimp with Guava Sweet and Sour Sauce. These recipes are a little more complicated than others of his, but quite doable and delicious. He ads useful information about the ingredients, or the kind of fish used, for each recipe. Lots of nice pictures of the final product. Even if you have other cookbooks of his, this is a valuable addition.
The Choy of Seafood
D.K.'s Sushi Chronicles from Hawaii D.K.'s Sushi Chronicles from Hawai‘i : Recipes from Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar - by Dave "D.K." Kodama - Sushi Fusion!! Foie Gras Nigiri!! And much more. This book has excellent recipes; Goat Cheese & Wild Mushroom Ravioli with Balsamic Syrup and Sweet Shoyu (name almost as long as the recipe), Prosciutto-Wrapped Mahi Mahi with Truffle-Asparagus Cream, and fantastic desserts too. Not too sure about the PMS Roll - haven't tried that yet.
The Mauna Loa Macadamia Cooking Treasury
The Mauna Loa Macadamia Cooking Treasury - by Leslie Mansfield - A very attractive cookbook featuring recipes with macadamia nuts.
The Hali‘imaile General Store Cookbook The Hali‘imaile General Store Cookbook: Home cooking from Maui - by Beverly Gannon, et al - Many good recipes, some fairly complex. The Hali‘imaile General Store has an interesting blend of French or European recipes melded with Hawaiian fresh ingredients. Many color photos of finished dishes
Mochi Lovers Cookbook Mochi Lovers Cookbook - by Teresa DeVirgillio-Lam - If you want lots of photos and don't like mochi please don't buy this book. Love Mochi? Just want really good mochi recipes? This IS the book for you. Every kind imaginable and many have several variations. For example, there are 4 different butter mochi recipes and 3 Cascaron recipes. There is a great poi coconut mochi and even a steamed Thai mochi.
SPAM Hawai‘i's 2nd Spam Cookbook - by A. Corum (Paperback) - Like SPAM? This is the cookbook for you (along with the first one). Any way you want it - for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks. Neat little book with over 100 recipes, no photos.
A Hawaiian Luau Sam Choy & the Makaha Sons' A Hawaiian Lu‘au: Recipes, Music and Talk Story - by Sam Choy - This is one really nice little spiral bound book, on heavy coated stock, and packed with absolutely delicious recipes. Even comes with a Makaha Sons‘ CD, Hawaiian and hapa selections. Includes instructions for imuing a pig the traditional way, an alternative and hints for hosting one giant party.
Flavors of Hawaii Flavors of Hawaii - Recipes that Celebrate Hawaii's Diversity- from members and friends of the Child and Family Service Guild - Another local cookbook, Flavors of Hawaii celebrates the islands’ rich diversity of cultures and cuisines. The book begins with a wide selection of pupus (appetizers), then main dishes and vegetables (Guava-Glazed Yams and Bananas, Simmered Kabocha with ginger), and ends with a chapter of recipes from celebrity chefs. The book is spiral bound, close to 300 pages of recipes, no photos.
The Limu Eater The Limu Eater - by Heather J. Fortner - This out of print book is worth trying to find if you live in Hawai‘i and want to know more about what you are seeing in the ocean or eating on your plate, or if you have an interest in Hawaiian ethnobotany. The Limu Eater is a well researched book that is packed with information about edible seaweed. It includes drawings, collection methods, recipes and old black & white Bishop Museum photographs.
101 Great Tropical Drinks 101 Great Tropical Drinks: Cocktails, Coolers, Coffees and Virgin Drinks - by Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi - 101 Great Tropical Drinks is perfect for the bar - spiral bound, coated paper, lots of fun and delicious concoctions. There is even a primer on smoothies, photos of many drinks, and a list of 50 of Hawai‘i's best bars and lounges.
Ethnic Culinary Herbs Ethnic Culinary Herbs: A Guide to Identification and Cultivation in Hawai‘i - by George Staples, Michael S. Kristiansen - Though not a cookbook, this little book is packed with information on description, distribution, use, propagation methods, and cultural practices for herbs commonly found in Hawaiian gardens. Ethnic Culinary Herbs is a good book for the serious gardener and cook.
New Wave Luau: Recipes from Honolulu's Award Winning Chef - by Alan Wong (hardcover) - Alan Wong's Hawaiian Regional Cuisine recipes are accompanied by Hawaiian vintage images and close-up photos of the final dishes. New Wave Luau is for the serious cook who wants to have fun re-creating the chef's culinary masterpieces.
New Wave Luau
Hawaii Cooking with Aloha
Hawai‘i: Cooking with Aloha - by Elvira Monroe, et al
Classic Hawaiian dishes.
Hawaii Tropical Rum Drinks & Cuisine by Don the Beachcomber Hawai‘i's Tropical Rum Drinks & Cuisine - by Don the Beachcomber - For the first time, Don's recipes are revealed. The Original Mai Tai, the Vicious Virgin, the Zombie and Marlene Dietrich's favorite the Beachcomber's Gold are just a few of the drinks in this spiral bound book. Many are made with rums I have never heard of and probably could never afford, luckily, substitutions are given. All that is needed is a little ambiance and a paper umbrella after reading about the history of his ventures and adventures. Great coffee drinks and bar fare too.
Hawai‘i's Home Cooking Hawai‘i's Home Cooking: Local Recipes from Alu Like's Kupuna - Elizabeth Meahl ed. - Each Kupuna includes favorite recipes with a glimpse of what it was like growing up in Hawai‘i many years ago. This is down home Hawaiian cooking for the family table, mostly simple, filling and nutritious recipes. Although, the Pork & Long Rice adds more ingredients than usual and is about the best I have ever had. A nice addition, but should not be your only Hawaiian cookbook unless you are familiar with Hawaiian ingredients. Spiral bound.
Pupus Plus - by Sachi Fukuda - A small spiral bound book. In this second Pupu book, the author expands to other dishes as well, many compiled from her friend's recipes. It is a good sampling of Hawaiian and ethnic dishes, many commonlly found at local potluck picnics. Others are given creative twists, still remaining simple recipes for the most part. This book should be an addition, not your only Hawaiian cookbook. If you don't have ti leaves or know what Hawaiian salt is - she offers no substitutions. Some photos of finished dishes are provided. Some photos.
Pupus Plus
Kathy Cooks Naturally Kathy Cooks...Naturally - by Kathy Hoshijo - This is a one-of-a-kind book that is unfortunately out-of-print. You can still buy it used. Kathy Cooks is a must have, particularly if you live in Hawai‘i or the tropics. Over 1000 healthy, natural, vegetarian recipes from the host of the very popular TV program, Kathy’s Kitchen. The book is arranged by kinds of fruit and vegetables and each chapter includes great gardening, cooking and shopping tips. Expect black & white drawings and photos, some of Old Hawai‘i, and a cornucopia of interesting recipes such as Avocado Ice Cream and an Italian sauce that uses cumin, asafetida and cinnamon!!
Roy's Fish and Seafood Roy's Fish and Seafood: Recipes from the Pacific Rim - by Roy Yamaguchi - Another book for the serious cook who likes to tackle dishes as "braised soy-glazed pacific salmon with green tea somen noodles and wasabi-ponzu sauce". The chapters are arranged by type of fish and seafood. Many photos of the catch of the chapter and the finished plating. His Waikoloa restaurant is one of the best I have been to on the islands.
Kona on My Plate Kona On My Plate: A Hawai‘i Community Cookbook - by Kona Outdoor Circle - This attractive book features almost 1000 recipes and the artwork of Avi Kiriaty. It was given the Tabasco Community Cookbook Award, among others. Kona On My Plate would make a great gift, not only for the person you are buying it for but for the non-profit's Educational Center, Sadie Seymour Botanical Gardens and Kealakowa‘a Heiau. The chapters include the normal appetizers through desserts as well as one for Luau and Local Food and Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine. This last chapter is made up of recipes from well known Hawaiian chefs. The recipes stress local, fresh ingredients. Spiral bound.
Hawai‘i's Favorite piineapple Recipes Hawai‘i's Favorite Pineapple Recipes - by Joannie Dobbs and Betty Shimabukuro - I was really glad to have come upon this cookbook. From June till late summer we are inundated with white pineapple (not complaining!!!). I am always adding them to breakfast, lunch and dinner so this book gave me some new ideas from drinks and salads to savory dishes and desserts. Such as: Pineapple Pecan Stuffing or Pineapple-Mint Tabbouleh. Lots of photos. Spiral bound.
Hawai‘i Cooks with Taro - by Marcia Zino Mager - Taro is a remarkedly versatile food. It can be used just like a potato. It can be made into bread, used in stuffing, soups and stews, salads and last but certainly not least, to make poi. This book tells how to do it all with the corms, stalks and leaves. Hawai‘i Cooks with Taro also gives background information on the plant, such as where and how taro is grown, varieties, taro in Hawaiian culture, nutrition facts, preparation and cooking. Then come the recipes. Lots of good ideas in this spiral bound book.
Hawai‘i Cooks with Taro
Hawai‘is Best Pupu & Potluck Hawai‘i's Best Pupu & Potluck - by Jean Watanabe Hee - This book is largely comprised of simple recipes that are commonly seen at parties and picnics here. Most gatherings are potluck and guests almost always bring a dish to share, so it is wise to have a repitoire of simple, tasty fingerfood or popular dish you can prepare. Spiral bound, some photos.
Hawai‘i's Best Local Dishes - by Jean Watanabe Hee - A good sampling of local foods that are commonly cooked in the home and found in all of the plate lunch places on the islands: Tonkatsu, Pork Adobo, Lau Lau, Shoyu Chicken, Chicken Long Rice, and Kau Yuk are just a few of the recipes found in Best Local Dishes. Spiral bound, some photos.
Hawai‘i's Best Local Dishes
©2005 Cookbooks of Asia and the Pacific, P.O. Box 1255, Pahoa, HI 96778