Chinese Soul Food Visits the Shop 

Recently, the shop was graced with a visit from Linda Lau Anusasananan, the California-based author of The Hakka Cookbook: Chinese Soul Food From Around the World. Accompanied by her brother Alan Lau - who supplied the book's elegant illustrations -  Linda traced the fascinating journey that began with a lingering desire to explore her grandmother's culinary roots. The result is part memoir, part history and part cookbook.

The former writer and recipe editor for Sunset Magazine has long wanted to write a book based on the heritage of her Hakka ancestors - a nomadic Chinese people who's migration can be traced to many different parts of the world. She compares the wanderings of the the Hakka to a dandelion. "They would land on poor soil, take root, grow and flower," she says. Wherever they settled, they would bring along their traditional recipes. A cuisine the author calls "comfort food for the soul."

Linda goes on describe Hakka cuisine as a sort of "country cousin to Cantonese food, the honest, earthy food of the working man."  A typically rustic dish would include salt-baked chicken or browned pork belly steamed over a bed of dark mustard greens. Guests drank tea and enjoyed a delicious appetizer  of soy-glazed chicken morsels. Signed copies of the book - which offers a unique look at what has been called "the Gypsy cuisine of China." - are available at the shop.