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Beyond the Great Wall - Recipes and Travels in the Other China
(Random House) ISBN 978-0679314776 0679314776

Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid created this photographic cookbook after more than twenty years of travel in China. Beyond the Great Wall documents some of the rapid changes in China with recipes and personal stories. Written like a cultural anthropology, this coffeetable book addresses the foods and cooking styles of diverse non-Han cultures from Tibet to Xinjiang, and from Inner Mongolia to Yunnan.

The tone of this 376-page cookbook is warm and friendly. It's a joy to share travel experiences with this culturally-sensitive couple. Duguid and Alford convey profound information about the minority peoples of China.

Hui cooking

For example, in their chapter on the Hui minority nationality, they explain that the last China census identified a population of 10 million Hui, but the designation was based on religion, not language or ethnicity. The introduction to the Hui people goes on to describe their population, locations, language influences, clothing preferences, religious observances, food specialties, markets and restaurants.

Organized by major food groups, Beyond the Great Wall interweaves travelogs, cultural descriptions and recipes, with comments about the settings in which they were found (villages, markets or home kitchens).

Location of Chinese minorities

Many beautiful full-page and smaller color images (studio photos by Richard Jung and location photos by the authors) depict the cuisine, ingredients and recipes, as well as the people, their costumes, markets, businesses and activities. A color-coded map depicts the location of 13 non-Han minority groups in China.

Beyond the Great Wall provides insights to the minority groups of China and their way of life through their cuisine. There are 55 official minorities, comprising eight per cent of the population, or about 125 million of the 1.5 billion people in China.

Travel tips

Alford and Duguid include recipes and cultural information for 13 non-Han minorities in China (Dai, Dong, Hani, Hui, Kazakh, Kirghiz, Miao, Hmong, Mongol, Tajik, Tibetan, Tuvan, Uighur and Yi). They also convey interesting facts, e.g., the five stars in the Chinese flag represent the major groups: Han, Tibetan, Mongol, Manchu and Muslim (Uighurs and Hui).

The back of the Chinese food cookbook suggests itineraries to Yunnan, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, the Silk Road, Guizhou and Guangxi. Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid include the best time to travel, how to get there, what to see and do, and permit requirements.

Recipes from Tibet, Mongolia and Yunnan

A glossary defines and describes Chinese foods and ingredients like celtuce (Chinese stem lettuce or asparagus lettuce), tsampa (ground, roasted barley flour) and jinjiang black rice vinegar (made from glutinous rice, water and salt). The authors provide a list of websites and stores for Asian ingredients like dried seaweed and tofu, as well as equipment, such as bamboo steamers and hotpots.

Market stall fresh tomato salsa. Yunnan Hills ginger paste. Tsampa soup. Silk Road tomato bell pepper salad. Kazakh cabbage stir-fry with lamb. Tibetan ratatouille. Hui vegetable hot pot. Steamed Tibetan momos (succulent filled dumplings). Mongolian hot pot. Hani slow-baked pork jerky. Miao pork with corn and chiles. Sesame balls with sweet red bean paste.

Beyond the Great Wall


  • The Land
  • The People
  • The Food
  • Condiments and Seasonings
  • Soups
  • Salads
  • Mostly Vegetables
  • Rice and Grains
  • Breads
  • Fish
  • Chicken and Eggs
  • Lamb and Beef
  • Pork
  • Drinks and Sweet Treats
  • Travel Beyond the Great Wall
  • A Note on Sinicization and Cultural Survival
Sources for Equipment and Ingredients


Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid won many awards for their previous five cookbooks featuring food in a cultural context.

More Naomi Duguid cookbooks:

Burma: Rivers of Flavor

More things to see and do in China:

Shanghai Guidebook

Xian China Tour

Southwest China Guide

Beijing Travel Guidebook

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