Top 15 of The Best Asian Cookbooks To Spice Up Your Cooking

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The vibrant flavors found in Asian cookbooks have enthralled aspiring home chefs of all levels. From the colors, textures and flavors, you can easily spice up your weekly menus with exotic tastes.

Even though Asian cuisine is extremely popular, cooking the traditional recipes is intimidating for many home cooks.

This list of the best Asian cookbooks from Korea to Japan, China and more can guide novice to experienced cooks.

Featured recipes in these Asian cookbooks make it easy to recreate your favorite authentic flavors from Asia at home. 

With clear instructions, substitutions for hard to find ingredients, food culture and cooking tips, surprise yourself by mastering Asian cooking.

Get inspired and begin or perfect your journey of Asian cooking with this list of 15 best Asian cookbooks.

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Table of Contents

Our Top Picks For The Best Asian Cookbooks

Best Overall Asian Cookbook

Jet Tila – 101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die

Best Asian Cookbook on Korean Cooking

Maangchi Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking: Authentic Dishes for the Home Cook

Best Asian Cookbook For Dumplings

Andrea Nguyen – Asian Dumplings: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More – A Cookbook

Best Korean Cookbook

1 – Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking: Authentic Dishes for the Home Cook

This comprehensive cookbook reveals the vastness of Korean cuisine from wholesome one pot meals to elaborate spreads made popular by Korean eateries.

Rice, noodles, stew and soup, the four cornerstones of this cuisine, find ample representation. Real Korean Cooking has entire chapters dedicated to these kimchi, pickles and banchan or sides.

Throughout this cookbook, delicious dishes made in authentic traditional styles are featured. Some are lesser known and have never been published in English before.

Maangchi, who’s name is Emily Kim, makes Korean cooking fun on her popular YouTube channel.

The step-by-step photos featured in her cookbook along with gorgeous food images make you want to eat delicious bulgogi right away. 

Catering to a wide audience, she also provides valuable tips and substitutions for ingredients for many of her recipes..

Maangchi has written a delightful and excellent guide on authentic and doable Korean recipes for home cooks of all skill levels. 

+ Who is It For? This cookbook is a great introduction to authentic Korean cooking for beginners.

– Not For? Someone who regularly cooks Korean food and wants to dive deeper into Korean cuisine.

Best Thai Cookbook

2 – Simple Thai Food – Classic Recipes From The Thai Home Kitchen

Recognized as a top home chef, Leela Punyaratabandhu is all too aware that Thai cuisine can seem intimidating to home cooks.

With her cookbook, she tries to bridge this gap with simple and quick Thai recipes that combine great flavor with convenience. 

With homes in Chicago and Bangkok, she recognizes challenges faced by home cooks in America trying to recreate Thai dishes.

With that in mind, the recipes are detailed and provide substitutions for ingredients. Leela also notes include cooking shortcuts wherever applicable and online shopping sources.

The 100 plus recipes are arranged into four main sections covering small bites, rice sides, one bowl/plate meals and desserts.

Considered a “Top 20 cookbook of 2014” by leading US publications, Simple Thai Food brings authentic flavors to American homes.

+ Who is It For? Best for busy home cooks who appreciate the richness of Thai cooking and are looking to expand with new simple recipes. 

– Not For? Those unwilling to seek out specific Thai ingredients as some may be hard to source.

RELATED: 10 Best Thai Cookbooks For Learning How To Cook Authentic Thai Food

Best Chinese Cookbooks

3 – Easy Chinese Cookbook: Restaurant Favorites Made Simple

Easy Chinese Cookbook does what it says – brings a collection of popular and easy takeout recipes to your kitchen.

Chris Toy uses his expertise as a cooking instructor to make Chinese cooking accessible to home cooks. He offers quick and tasty recipes including Shrimp Lo Mein, General Tso’s Chicken, Mongolian Beef and more.

The clear and entertaining step by step instructions will teach you easy and fast cooking shortcuts.

Common ingredients, and extensive pantry notes makes cooking Chinese restaurant copycat recipes a breeze. 

Detailed sauce recipes and gorgeous images add to this well organized Chinese cookbook.

Easy Chinese Cookbook is the perfect Asian cooking guide for those seeking to make  Chinese cooking style restaurant meals at home. 

If you love Chinese cuisine and have ever wanted to cook your favorite Chinese foods at home, start with this cookbook. Impress your friends and family with homemade delicious Chinese food.

+ Who is It For?  For anyone who loves Chinese cooking, especially adapted for American taste buds.

– Not For? Not for a seasoned homecook looking to go beyond simple Chinese dishes or those looking for regional Chinese recipes.

4 – Gok Cooks Chinese

This UK Fashion stylist and TV personality brings you a straightforward Asian cookbook starring family recipes.

A health enthusiast, Gok shares easy recipes that are nourishing, balanced and flavorsome. They contain accessible ingredients and are made the way he and his family cook Chinese food. 

To help you perfect these recipes, he shares personal experiences and references alternate foods for specific items. 

With over 80 recipes, Gok Cooks Chinese entices you to recreate flavorful dishes and healthy versions of street food in your kitchen.  

With a focus on balance, health, flavor and fun, this cookbook demystifies Chinese ingredients and cooking techniques.

We recommend this cookbook for anyone who wants to make delicious, healthy, and incredibly simple Chinese dishes. 

+ Who Is It For? Home cooks of all levels who are looking to experiment with Chinese cooking and create fun and healthy dishes.

– Not For? Not for someone looking for an in depth cookbook about mainland authentic chinese dishes or interested in learning about Chinese food traditions.

Best Indian Cookbooks

5 – Indian-ish: Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family

Priya Krishna book is not your standard cookbook on timeless Indian dishes. While the recipes are inspired by the cuisine and her mom’s cooking they are tempered with American food influences. 

Indian-ish with its quirky take on Indian cuisine was considered one of the Best Cookbooks of Spring 2019 by the New York Times. 

Indian ingredients get cozy with American tastes to create easy, one-of-a-kind recipes like roti pizza and cheddar tomato rice. 

The funny anecdotes, heartwarming family stories and illustrated artwork add to the charm of this cookbook.

A great cookbook for American home cooks who want to make basic and accessible Indian foods in their kitchens.

+ Who is It For? For beginners and experienced cooks who enjoy Indian foods and fusion cooking in that order. 

– Not For? Someone who is looking for a comprehensive cookbook about traditional Indian cuisine.

6 – Indian Instant Pot® Cookbook: Traditional Indian Dishes Made Easy and Fast

Urvashi Pitre has given Indian cooking techniques a modern makeover in her cookbook.

Indian Instant Pot® Cookbook has over 75 delicious stovetop recipes that have been customized for cooking in an Instant pot.

While it’s impossible to cover the entire repertoire of Indian foods, this book does a pretty good job of presenting popular recipes for weekday meals.

Straightforward recipes, simple instructions, pantry and spice tips, and gorgeous images make Indian cuisine more approachable for inexperienced cooks.

If you enjoy Indian flavors, easy recipes, and own an Instant Pot, this is the perfect cookbook on spicy comfort foods.

+ Who is It For? For anyone seeking a niche cookbook based on Indian cuisine and fast cooking.

– Not For? Those who prefer a comprehensive book on traditional Indian cooking or different cooking styles.

Best Japanese Cookbooks

7 – Atsuko’s Japanese Kitchen: Home-cooked Comfort Food Made Simple

London based cooking instructor, Atsuko offers a glimpse into Japanese home cooking with her wholesome cookbook. 

The author takes you on a culinary journey across eight major regions in Japan. She lays bare the secrets of the Japanese kitchen and expands your knowledge on varied cooking styles. 

Atsuko’s Japanese Kitchen covers everything about Japanese food. From one plate meals and noodle dishes all the way to scrumptious desserts, you can make at home.

She showcases hearty meals found in traditional Japanese kitchens rather than the delicate restaurant fare. 

One of the best cookbooks for anyone who wants to get comfortable cooking Japanese food at home. 

+ Who is It For? For someone who is looking to master balanced and delicious Japanese cooking.

– Not For? This cookbook is better suited to those who are already familiar with Japanese food and with access to Japanese ingredients.

8 – Sushi Cookbook for Beginners: 100 Step-By-Step Recipes to Make Sushi at Home

Chika Ravitch brings this delicious food art to your kitchen with her cookbook on everything sushi.

With over 100 easy recipes, this guide is aimed at beginners on their journey to master sushi making at home.

Page after page of Sushi Cookbook for Beginners is filled with sushi variations from the classic tuna roll to the innovative fried mozzarella rolls.

The author pairs chosen recipes with beautiful photographs that document the process of creating the perfect sushi. 

Get advice on equipment, pantry staples and instructions for preparing and presenting the sushi. 

+ Who is It For? This cookbook will impress sushi lovers who are beginner cooks. Experienced cooks will find some non-traditional recipes in this collection.

– Not For? Not for those seeking a broader understanding of Japanese food and culture beyond making sushi at home.

9 – Ramen Obsession: The Ultimate Bible for Mastering Japanese Ramen

This ramen cookbook, by Naomi Imatome-Yu, brings together 130 of the finest ramen recipes.

Ramen Obsession provides you with techniques, cooking tools, detailed instructions, shopping and pantry suggestions to create delicious bowls of ramen.

An authority on Japanese cuisine, Naomi delves into the history of ramen making as well as the variety of regional flavor profiles.

As you learn about ramen and its evolution across the globe, you’ll create seemingly simple bowls of spicy miso, hakata ramen and more.

While making ramen might seem overwhelming, this book will help you learn to build bowls from scratch and cook up zesty broths and sauces. 

You’ll also learn how to make impressive entertaining bowls with traditional and modern toppings. 

This is the ultimate one among Asian cookbooks for ramen enthusiasts.

+ Who is It For? Exhaustive by ramen standards, this cookbook is for those looking to perfect their noodle making skills.

– Not For? Cooks seeking to enhance their knowledge of Japanese cooking or looking for a comprehensive collection of recipes.

Best Vietnamese Cookbook

10 – Vietnamese Food Any Day – Simple Recipes For True, Fresh Flavors

Award-winning author, Andrea Nguyen shows you how to create Vietnamese flavors at home along with knowledge about the cuisine and culture.

Nguyen uses simple language to highlight traditions and cooking styles of this vibrant food culture.

She guides you through the Vietnamese kitchen with cooking notes, ingredient options, simple instructions, and mouthwatering food photos.

Vietnam Food Any Day helps you create quick, accessible and authentic Vietnamese food for weekday meals from banh mi to pork riblets.

For someone who loves Asian dishes, this is another Asian cookbook with scrumptious Vietnamese offerings to add to one’s kitchen.

+ Who Is It For? If you are new to Vietnamese cooking, this book provides easy and everyday recipes to get you started.

– Not For? Someone looking for a comprehensive book or looking to cook lesser known traditional Vietnamese dishes.

RELATED: The 10 Best Vietnamese Cookbooks You Want To Have In Your Kitchen

Best Filipino Cookbooks

11 – I am Filipino: And This is How We Cook

A 2019 James Beard Award finalist, this book transports to a typical Filipino kitchen and its culinary adventures.

This coobook is from the trailblazing owners, Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad of the famous Maharlika and Jeepney restaurants in New York City.

The recipes capture the vibrant and diverse flavors of modern Filipino cooking in a playful and accessible manner.

An immersive book into Filipino culture and history, you’ll learn the different cooking techniques, specialties and flavor profiles.

From mouth puckering Sinigang, to Chinese influenced lumpia, you’ll get a taste of the, Chinese, American and Spanish influences on the food.

With simplicity in mind for home cooks, all the recipes feature ingredient substitutions, shortcuts and cooking tips.

Bright and gorgeous food photos bring the delicious and unfamiliar recipes to life. I am Filipino covers everything from food history to essential cooking methods and necessary ingredients.

This Filipino cookbook filled with  Southeast Asia flavors is an encouraging voice as you learn to master the food of the Philippines.

+ Who is It For? For those looking to dig deeper into the sour, sweet, bright, rich and tangy, of Filipino flavors.

– Not For? Beginners looking for simple and quick recipes. Some of the recipes are involved and require new cooking processes along with patience.

12 – Let’s Cook with Nora: A Treasury of Filipino, Chinese and European Dishes Compiled and Kitchen Tested

For millions of Filipino moms in the 1960s  to the 1980s, Nora Daza, was a household name that inspired many everyday meals.

A celebrated TV show host, cookbook author and restaurateur Nora Daza celebrated Filipino culinary culture with straightforward recipes from across the archipelago.

The recipes in Let’s Cook with Nora are simple for even a cook with minimal knowledge about Filipino foods. 

The ingredients are basics with no fancy cooking techniques. The instructions are easy and uncomplicated for novice home cooks and affirmations of classics for experienced cooks.

Let’s Cook with Nora is an iconic Filipino cookbook. The 300 recipes are a good mix of everyday dishes and festive foods from hearty meals to savory sides and soups.

An excellent Filipno cookbook on Asian cuisines and all the influences that have shaped Filipino cooking. 

+ Who is It For? Best for those looking for simple and creative Filipino recipes and seeking to become better home cooks.

– Not For? Not for experienced cooks looking for modern and involved Filipino recipes and cooking techniques.

RELATED: Filipino Food Guide: 15 Authentic Filipino Dishes You Want To Have

Best Asian Specialties Cookbooks

13 – The Essential Wok Cookbook: A Simple Chinese Cookbook for Stir-Fry, Dim Sum, and Other Restaurant Favorites

If you have a wok at home that’s probably not used often, now is the time to pull it out. With this versatile pan, you’ll learn to make the Chinese restaurant dishes you love with ease. 

With a focus on healthy Chinese cooking, the easy to make wok dishes make mealtimes fast and fun for busy home cooks. 

The author guides you on the best ways to cook with a wok interspersed with funny stories about American makeovers of original recipes.

With over 100 recipes, the Essential Wok Cookbook focuses on healthy versions of popular Chinese foods that are not authentic or classic.

True to its name, it prominently features American Chinese dine-out delights with simple instructions and cooking techniques.

+ Who is It For? Those who love cooking popular Chinese recipes and want easy one wok meals.

– Not For? Experienced cooks looking for traditional or regional Chinese recipes beyond restaurant favorites.

14 – 101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die: Discover a New World of Flavors in Authentic Recipes

101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die reads more like a magazine rather than the average recipe book.

One of the most famous Asian chefs, Jet Tila, shares his knowledge of authentic Asian cuisine from growing up in a Thai and Chinese family.

The cookbook features dishes that are authentic and drawn from Jet Tila’s unique background and travels.

The dishes are approachable, easy to understand and easy to execute at home.

Beautiful images, clear instructions and ingredient swap notes equip you with necessary skills to master Asian cooking techniques.

The chapter covering essential dipping sauces like Sriracha, Peanut sauce, Teriyaki and more is worth a read.

If you fancy bold and killer dishes like the famous drunken noodles, pad thai, roasted black cod and more, this is the perfect choice.

The cooking instructions emphasize flavor without hours of prep or trips to specialty Asian stores. If you want to elevate Asian food in your kitchen, this is the book for you.

+ Who is It For? Best for home cooks looking to learn a variety of Asian cooking recipes and impress their friends and family.

– Not For? Not for experienced cooks looking to dive into Southeast Asian cooking and the traditional recipes of individual countries.

15 – Asian Dumplings: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More – A Cookbook

When a prominent chef and celebrated food writer like Andrea Nguyen talks about dumplings, you sit up and take notice.

Andrea guides uninitiated cooks starting on their dumplings adventures with specific steps, suggestions and cultural insights. 

Preparing dumplings is easy and fun when you follow her meticulous instructions and clear illustrations. 

One of the best Asian cookbooks for dumplings, you can try recipes from the Malaysian kitchen, Indonesian food, Vietnam, India, Nepal and more.

Sorted into sections by dough types allows you to plan your recipes in advance. You’ll also find chapters dedicated to wrapper making as well as make ahead tips and storage instructions. 

With over 75 food recipes curated from twelve countries, Asian Dumplings will help you recreate delicious dough-based delights in your own kitchen.

Lovers of dough and dumplings will love the recipes and add this book to their must-have collection of Asian cookbooks. 

+ Who is It For? Experienced and beginner cooks who love everything dumpling and other Asian food parcels.

– Not For? Someone who wants to cook a broader range if Asian recipes beyond steamed or fried dumplings.

What is your best Asian cookbook? Please let us know in the comments below!

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21 comments

  1. I love the diversity of Asia food and flavors and these cookbooks capture that. In a way, they are stories of each Asian country told through food. On the other hand, I do appreciate that you always include Filipino cuisine in your food articles, as well as the Filipino cookbook in this post.

    Reply
  2. I’m part Japanese and grew up with a lot of amazing food prepared by my aunt and grandma. I have never really tried making it on my own though. I’d love to try that Japanese book with the easy recipes!

    Reply
  3. Thanks for sharing your favorite cookbooks! I added a few of these to my kindle, cannot wait to try a few new recipes.

    Reply

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