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Finding art on a plate in Shanghai

By Mike Peters | China Daily | Updated: 2016-02-26 08:00

Finding art on a plate in Shanghai

American Piper Stremmel collects recipes from chefs in Shanghai, where she lived for more than two years, to come up with the book Shanghai Chefs: A Cookbook. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Piper Stremmel will be the first to tell you that she's not a food writer. Her background is arts, and that was her beat as a freelance writer for the two-plus years that she lived in Shanghai.

But ask her where she and her boyfriend most liked to eat, and it's suddenly clear how this young dynamo came to produce Shanghai Chefs: A Cookbook, a 270-page coffee-table book that was published late last year.

"Oh gosh! The pork spare ribs at Di Shui Dong! That's a cool Hunan restaurant just down street from where we lived. The food is traditional and soooo spicy. We must have eaten there two or three times a week. Celebrations, birthdays, going-away parties, you name it. It's a bustling place with a lively staff, all from Hunan so there is a real family feeling there. When my parents came, it was the first place I took them.

"The ribs are a bit like Xinjiang food-all that cumin and red pepper," she sighs. "It was the dish everyone ordered. We became friends with the manager because we were local, but I didn't think they would give me the recipe. That's the recipe in the book I was proudest to get."

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