Weeks into COVID lockdown in California, Samin Nosrat (author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat) found herself craving crispy kimchi pancakes from her favourite neighbourhood restaurant. So she set out to recreate the dish for herself, based not on a recipe but her recollection of how it tasted; much to her frustration she, an experienced chef, couldn’t nail it, finding her home-cooked versions just weren’t quite right. Translate this to our backyard and Auckland cooks rejoice; you don’t need to experience that trial and error and ultimate disappointment as here the team at Lazy Susan has gone right into the kitchen of your favourite eating spots and cajoled the chefs into giving up the recipes for their most-loved iconic dishes. So, for those occasions when going out to eat is just not an option, now you can whip up a dish of spicy numbing chicken from Mr Hao, ota ika from Bar Céleste, beef pho from Sen or Cassia’s famous Goan lamb chops with spiced crème fraîche. But be warned, as the authors say themselves some of the magic of the dishes comes from eating them in their true homes. As Nosrat learned from her pancake experience, Koreans have a word, son-mat, meaning the specific taste of someone else’s cooking, an essence that cannot be replicated based on the cook’s experience, passion and the knowledge gained from constant cooking. TRACY WHITMEY