The Fortune Cookie Chronicles

  • #26 on the New York Times Best Seller List
    and featured on The Colbert Report, Martha Stewart,, CNN, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Charlie Rose Tomorrow, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, and NPR stations coast to coast. Also selected for Borders Original Voices and Book Sense. Follow me on Twitter! Fan me on Facebook.

  • Reviews

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    Poulet du Général Tso, Fortune Cookie Chronicles Reviewed in French

    Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

    The Fortune Cookie Chronicles has now been reviewed in French on Rue89, a cross between HuffPo and Politico in France, by Guillemette Faure, who was a reporter in New York. Guillemette Faure noted it got 2,000 views in 40 minutes, which is remarkable for a foreign book review. The Google Translate from French to English […]

    A Review Haiku by Emily Reads

    Sunday, November 16th, 2008

    I found this haiku  reviewing The Fortune Cookie Chronicles Lee uncovers the sweet and sour history of General Tso

    Columbus Ledger-Enquirer: It’s Our Kind of Chinese

    Sunday, October 26th, 2008

    From the Columbus Paper! (No, not Ohio, in Georgia). It’s more a summary, but I like the fact she quotes on my obsession point at the end. I’d thought no one has ever noticed. Columbus (Georgia) Ledger-Enquirer April 3, 2008 It’s Our Kind of Chinese By Sonya Sorich Nearly everybody has one. Maybe yours is […]

    Washington Times: “With wit and style, she delights with tales about Chinese food in America, and its sometimes hilarious origins.”

    Sunday, October 26th, 2008

    This is from August 31, 2008. It’s a very nice review. One of the kindest in how stylishly it’s written. Washington Times Sunday, August 31, 2008 Chinese food in America By Corinna Lothar Jennifer 8. Lee (8 really is her middle name; when pronounced in Chinese the number denotes prosperity) is a special kind of […]

    The Times of Trenton: Readers are likely to increase their tips after reading about the plight of Chinese restaurant workers

    Sunday, October 26th, 2008

    This is the same as my Newsday review. But wanted to put it down, again. The Times of Trenton March 23, 2008 Chinese food book has right ingredients By HELEN McALPIN Years ago, at a Japanese Benihana steakhouse, my mother-in-law mortified her children by asking for fortune cookies at the end of the meal. As […]

    School Library Journal Reviews: For those who liked Freakonomics and The World is Flat

    Sunday, October 26th, 2008

    Just discovered this too. I was reviewed by School Libarary Journal as an adult book for high school students. I should really look through Nexis more often. I like this: “This title will appeal to teens who are interested in history, Chinese culture, and, of course, cuisine.” I liked this line too: “Recommend it to […]

    Toledo Blade: The book argues for a more honest and complex definition of “authenticity.”

    Monday, June 9th, 2008

    The Toledo Blade, out of the blue, publishes a review by Jennifer Day. And she quotes one of my favorite passages of the book, which has not been mentioned yet — my comparison of the unbroken fortune cookie to an unexpired lottery ticket. Article published Sunday, June 8, 2008 Fortune cookies open the door to […]

    Time: “its many revelations will force readers to consider the often strange routes their favorite dishes — authentic or not — took to the plate.”

    Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

    Ling Woo Liu did a review for just today. When it landed in my Google Alerts, I was like, whoa. Is this a review two.5 months out? She too did not like the around the world chapter. Oh well. Here it goes. The chic and pricey China Club in Hong Kong is about the […]

    Boldtype: “The book balances history and cooking lessons with Lee’s humorous mythbusting expeditions”

    Thursday, May 1st, 2008

    I’m recommended on Boldtype’s list this month (first book!). As their site explains, “Boldtype is a monthly book review focusing on smart, readable works of fiction and nonfiction, from current titles to past gems.” Available everywhere from shacks that sell it alongside hamburgers to highly rated Zagat favorites, Chinese food is one of the most […]

    Philadelphia City Paper: “after you’ve digested all of that cultural insight and fascinating trivia, you’ll still want more.”

    Thursday, May 1st, 2008

    I’m just trolling and catching up with random reviews that I never got around to adding. Here is one from the Philadelphia City Paper. The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food By Jennifer 8. Lee Twelve, 320 pp., $24.99 “This book began as a quest to understand Chinese food,” New York […]

    Boston Globe: “revelations come fast and frequent”

    Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

    Wow. They are still running reviews of my book(!). The Boston Globe today printed its review by Ralph Ranalli. Interesting that he is astute to point out that Chinese food has “a veritable buffet of cheap metaphors” (I will note many of which have been used by headine writers (egg drop scoop, lo mein street, […]

    My first (and only?) review in a college paper, the Harvard Crimson

    Monday, April 7th, 2008

    Denise Xu of The Harvard Crimson writes a largely flattering review of my book. (It’s my alma mater paper). Her quibbles again concern  the structure and the overwhelming amount of information. Imagine if it didn’t have the fortune cookie thread to tie it all together (Ihe original proposal did not), how much more confusing it would […]

    USA Today: “Fortune Cookie is a sweet treat, told in a lively, engaging fashion by a writer who clearly knows, and loves, Chinese cuisine.”

    Thursday, March 20th, 2008

    Leslie Cauley reviews The Fortune Cookie Chronicles for USA Today.  Overall positive, with some interesting criticisms that I hand’t heard yet, basically TMI. Too many details on Chinese food. Things you wanted to know and didn’t. (Shrug)

    Christian Science Monitor: “Where Lee shines most is in the narration of the stories of the real-life people she meets on her worldwide discovery tour.”

    Monday, March 17th, 2008

    Terry Hong reviews my book favorably in the Christian Science Monitor: ‘Fortune Cookie Chronicles’: 40,000 egg rolls… to go A New York Times reporter goes global, tracing the origins of America’s Chinese food. By Terry Hong Luddite me made a surprisingly funny joke to two techies after reading Jennifer 8. Lee’s delightful The Fortune Cookie […]

    LATimes: “a deeply enjoyable meal, for anyone who likes talking or thinking about food.”

    Sunday, March 16th, 2008

    Seth Faison has a review in today’s Los Angeles Times, which focuses a lot on the authenticity aspect of the food. I don’t think this review was on our radar (sometimes you know when a book review is timed to run, and as in this case, sometimes you don’t). My Google alert actually picked this […]

    Hartford Courant: “difficult to imagine a more satisfying book”

    Sunday, March 9th, 2008

    The Hartford Courant publishes a review by Steve Weinberg. Nice phrases: “Alternately breezy and cerebral, it serves as an appetizer platter, a bowl of hot and sour soup, an array of main dishes, tea and dessert — simultaneously.” and “Flashes of insight punctuate the text.” He has his criticism about the writing and structure, which […]

    Bloomberg: Lee whets our appetites with light, easy-to-digest stories.

    Saturday, March 8th, 2008

    Bloomberg News moved a review by Yvette Ferreol. It’s interesting to me how much the business press has taken to it: Forbes (the meanest review I got), Fast Company, now Bloomberg. March 6 (Bloomberg) — China’s Qing-dynasty hero Zuo Zongtang, aka General Tso, probably never had fried chicken. At least not the deep-fried boneless kind […]

    Rocky Mountain News gives The Fortune Cookie Chronicles an A!

    Saturday, March 8th, 2008

    John C. Ensslin reviews The Fortune Cookie Chronicles in The Rocky Mountain News and gives the book an A. I’m like goodness, I haven’t received a grade since senior semester of college! Most interesting critique…the hunt for the greatest Chinese restaurant in the world. Thinks it’s labor intensive (it was) and doesn’t add that much […]

    San Francisco Chronicle: “Prose is thrown out in confident tendrils”

    Saturday, March 8th, 2008

    Wow. The San Francisco Chronicle got the co-founder of, Kevin Smokler, to review my book. (I’m actually in the process right now of figuring out how to convert my .xml file of appearances into a .csv template for book events so I can put events on So is on my mind) I […]

    NYTBR: Wok On and podcast!

    Saturday, March 8th, 2008

    The New York Times Book Review runs its review of my book this Sunday by Jan and Michael Stern. It’s already online now and it actually closed 10 days ago, on a Wednesday. (The Book Review, like the Magazine, has a incredible close-to-distribution lag, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear to me but may involve […]

    NYP: moo shu of riveting, Chinese-food-related anecdotes and facts

    Monday, March 3rd, 2008

    The New York Post review is long and quite nice Another punny headline (“Hot and Sour Scoop”). Best lines: “a moo shu of riveting, Chinese-food-related anecdotes and facts” and “Lee condenses a formidable amount of research into a compact, breezy page-turner.” This is the first review that mentions the conversations with my mom.

    Associated Press: “Go buy this wonderful book”

    Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

    The Associated Press has moved a review that ends by telling readers “Go buy this wonderful book” (okay, but only if they want to find the greatest Chinese restaurant in the world). It is a really flattering review and it will be picked up by papers across the country slowly over the next few weeks. […]

    Newsday says book smacks like chop suey: rich medley of flavors, odds and ends

    Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

    Newsday’s review is more mixed, generally positive with its main criticism (which is not unfair) being: “The Fortune Cookie Chronicles” offers a rich medley of flavors that would be more delicious had the chef exercised some restraint: A clearer chronology and narrative line would allow each ingredient to sing. As it stands, Lee’s concoction, although […]

    The Chicago Tribune: “An information-packed page-turner”

    Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

    Yay. My first newspaper review. And it’s a nice one. My favorite line is where she calls it “also an information-packed page-turner.” I like this line too ” This kind of contextualizing and deepening of understanding is what the best food writing and literary journalism can do.” Chicago Tribune March 1, 2008 Saturday West eats […]

    Five-star review from

    Friday, February 29th, 2008

    Fortune Cookie Chronicles got a nice five star review on from Rhonda Parkinson, (ignore the fact that the NYTimes owns, I have absolutely nothing to do with that). The Fortune Cookie Chronicles is an intriguing exploration into a world of Chinese restaurants, a subculture that remains unknown to most of us. My one […]

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