This is a glorious exploration into the area of Yunnan in China. Freedman has travelled and lived in the area extensively and this densely written book is full of fascinating stories of the area. The breadth of knowledge is apparent on every page, the writing is engaging, full of snippets and the recipes are inviting. I can’t wait to cook the dumpling-like momos, the chicken and chestnut soup and oyster mushrooms with Sichuan peppercorn oil.

The book is arranged by geographic regions that roughly mirror the culturally diverse population and in turn the wide diversity of the cuisines. Given the limitations of trying to document all of the myriad possibilities, Freedman has given each region a tight focus that showcases the predominant flavours and cooking styles.

The glossary and header notes provide plenty of information and substitutes but by and large most ingredients used would be readily available here, and the recipes themselves are deceptively simple.