Articles by Ken Hom

Ken Hom OBE is an American-born Chinese chef, author and television-show presenter for the BBC. In 2009 he was appointed honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire for "services to culinary arts". You can find him online at

Bean thread noodles, cellophane noodles, transparent noodles, mung bean threads

These noodles are not made from a grain flour but from ground mung beans, which are also the source of the more familiar bean sprouts.

Bird’s nest

A truly exotic food, bird's nest is one of the most sought-after delicacies of China. Historically, it was most popular in southern China, though served in other parts of China also.

Bean sauce (yellow bean sauce, brown bean sauce, bean paste, soybean condiment)

Seasonings made from germinated soybeans are one of the oldest forms of food flavouring in China. Before 200 B.C., the ancient Chinese used a form of salted and fermented soybeans, as well as another type of thin, salty sauce.

Bean curd (leguminosae glycine max)

Bean curd, which is also known by its Chinese name, doufu, or by its Japanese name, tofu, has played an important part in Chinese cookery since it was discovered during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - A.D. 220).

Bamboo shoots (dendrocalamus; phyllostachys)

Bamboo shoots are the young edible shoots of certain kinds of bamboo (part of the grass family). There are as many different types of bamboo shoots as there are kinds of bamboo - that is, over 100 - and at least 10 of the 100 or so are marketed.

Aubergine/Eggplant (solanum melongena)

A popular and inexpensive food found throughout China, the white-skinned variety was the first that English-speaking people encountered, hence the name eggplant.

Equipment guide

The true tastes and flavours of China can be achieved through the appropriate cooking techniques, and proper technique requires proper equipment. While not absolutely essential for cooking Chinese food, there are a few items which will make it very much easier.

Hunan-style lamb

Lamb is not a standard item on southern Chinese menus. It is much more common in northern and central China. The prejudice against lamb may be discerned in a southern proverb: ‘There are seventy-two ways of cooking lamb; most of them result in something quite unpalatable’. But this is unfair to lamb. As this