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Tyler Cowen engages today’s deepest thinkers in wide-ranging explorations of their work, the world, and everything in between.

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Dec 13, 2023

In her third appearance on the show, Chinese food expert Fuchsia Dunlop joins Tyler and a group of special guests to celebrate the release of Invitation to a Banquet, her new book exploring the history, philosophy, and techniques of Chinese culinary culture. As with her previous appearance, this conversation was held over a banquet meal at Mama Chang and was hosted by Lydia Chang.

As they dined, the group discussed why the diversity in Chinese cuisine is still only just being appreciated in the West, how far back our understanding of it goes, how it’s represented in the Caribbean and Ireland, whether technique trumps quality of ingredients, why certain cuisines can spread internationally with higher fidelity, what we can learn from the different styles in Indian and Chinese cooking, why several dishes on the table featured Amish ingredients, the most likely mistake people will make when making a stir fry, what Lydia has learned managing an empire of Chinese restaurants, Fuchsia’s trick for getting unstuck while writing, and more.

Joining Tyler, Fuchsia, and Lydia around the table were Dan Wang, Rasheed Griffith, Fergus McCullough, and Sam Enright.

Special thanks to Chef Peter Chang, Lydia, and all the staff at Mama Chang for the wonderful meal.

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Read a full transcript enhanced with helpful links, or watch the full video

Recorded November 9th, 2023.

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Photo Credit: Anna Bergkvist