My interest in home cooking Asian vegan food has increased dramatically over the last two years. In fact, my interest increased so much that I have personally invested in loads of “Asian vegan cookbooks”.
Moving back to Oslo from Shanghai forced me to make a big shift in my diet. I miss Asian food so much. But I’ve desperately tried to compensate by making tasty and healthy Asian dishes in my (small) kitchen here in Norway.
It’s just something about healthy, spicy food inspired by Asian countries that make me melt. Especially if I know that the food doesn’t contain any meat or dairy products. I’m not 100 % a vegan, but I tend to make three or four vegan dinners every week now.
During my research period, I understood that there wasn’t a dedicated list online that recommended Asian cookbooks that focused on vegan food. All I found were some biased (and paid for..?) articles about one or two books from the same author.
I decided to change that. After spending hundreds of dollars on Amazon, I had one mission in mind: to tell my readers about which Asian vegan cookbooks you should buy – and which you shouldn’t buy. 🙂
Table of Contents
- Best Asian Vegan cookbooks
- Runner’s up: Books that almost made the list
- What makes a great Asian vegan cookbook?
- Still looking for inspiration?
- Related articles
Best Asian Vegan cookbooks
- Absolute bestseller: East Meets Vegan: The Best of Asian Home Cooking, Plant-based and Delicious
- Spicy Indian: Veganbell’s Indian Vegan Cookbook: 90 Easy, Plant-Based recipes from India
- Chinese food at its best: The Chinese Vegan Kitchen: More Than 225 Meat-free, Egg-free, Dairy-free Dishes from China
- Vegan dishes to cook in a bowl: Bowl: Vegetarian Recipes for Ramen, Pho, Bibimbap, Dumplings, and Other One-Dish Meals
- Full education about Asian vegan food: Farm to Table Asian Secrets: Vegan & Vegetarian Full-Flavored Recipes for Every Season
I’ve done it easy for you: all the books are listed on Amazon.
I guess that’s where we all go to buy our stuff online.
Absolute bestseller: East Meets Vegan: Best of Asian Home Cooking
When you scroll through the pictures, recipes, and text in this book, you clearly understand why it became an international bestseller.
Sasha Gills’ “East Meets Vegan” brings you delicious vegan recipes from almost all of the large Asian countries – Thailand, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and China.
I was highly impressed by the extreme amount of research that has been required to write this book – especially since the author isn’t even Asian…
Top notch. Great cookbook.
What’s great about this book?
- Brings you vegan recipes from all over Asia
- Comes with GREAT pictures of the food
- A lot of cool stories about the food culture in countries like Japan, China, and Thailand
- And…SO many people can’t be wrong? Can they? This is a bestseller!
90. That’s the number of Indian dishes that can be found in this book.
Ninety delicious recipes are more than enough to explore the beauty of vegan food from India.
The book isn’t just perfect if you want to try out some Indian vegan dishes. It also offers a great introduction to how Indians make their food in general.
Personally, I found several tips in this book that I also apply to non-vegan dishes when I want to impress someone that’s coming over for dinner.
What’s great about this book?
- Most of the 90 dishes are actually quite easy to make
- Indian food offers a great variety of tastes (sweet, sour, salty, etc.) – so it’s definitely something there for everyone
- It also features how leftover rice and vegetables easily can be turned into a proper meal, which will reduce food waste
Chinese food at its best: The Chinese vegan kitchen
When I lived in China, some vegans told me that it was hard living there as a vegan.
To me, that just reveals something about their lack of communication skills. I’m 100 % sure that it’s not the lack of delicious Chinese vegan food that made them struggle.
This cookbook taught me a lot about which vegan dishes can come out of a restaurant in Beijing. The book contains no less than 225 (!!) Chinese-inspired vegan dishes – which are all very well described.
Even though I’ve only made a handful so far, I look forward to the rest.
What’s great about this book?
- You’ll find LOADS of dishes in this book
- The dishes are inspired by all different regions and cultures in China – From Xinjiang in North-West until Xiamen in South-East
- Most dishes are just like non-vegan Chinese dishes; low on fat and sugar
Vegan dishes to cook in a bowl: Vegetarian Recipes for Ramen, Pho, Bibimbap, Dumplings, and Other One-Dish Meals
When I traveled to Vietnam, I saw everyone eating some “noodle stuff” from a bowl. Apparently, that was the most famous Asian dish ever invented: pho.
A big part of South East Asian food culture is to boil water, put some ingredients in that boiling water and…make something that tastes fantastic.
I’ve never been a big fan of cooked meat. However, boiling food is one of the most efficient and less time-consuming ways to cook.
Therefore, I thought: what about cooked Asian-inspired vegan dishes?
Well. It’s a match. I love it.
If you want to read about Asian vegan dishes that are easy to make and contains a lot of hot water: buy this book.
You won’t regret.
What’s great about this book?
- These recipes are easy to make – even for someone without any cooking experience
- The book has been a bestseller for years
- You almost don’t need any kitchen equipment to make these recipes
Education manual on Asian vegan food: Farm to Table Asian Secrets
This book wasn’t put on top of the list simply because it’s not the best and most precise cookbook that I’ve read (I’m just being honest here…).
But it’s the most complete book about Asian vegan dishes that can be found on the market.
This book will learn you how to cook:
- Starters and snacks
- Full dinner set for the whole family
- Small dinner and lunch for 1-2 people
If you only plan to buy one book about Asian vegan cooking, I’d probably go for this one.
What’s great about this book?
- Doesn’t contain only vegan, but also vegetarian recipes
- Each recipe is very precisely written
- Gives you recipes on everything from small snacks to large dinners with 20 people
Runner’s up: Books that almost made the list
As you might have already figured out, there are “only” five Asian vegan cookbooks that I can really recommend.
They are placed on the list above – and got the proper introduction they deserved.
However, there’s a handful Asian vegan cookbooks that I can mention as well:
Why aren’t these Asian vegan cookbooks on the ‘absolute recommend’ list?
These books are all good, but there’s probably one or two elements why they didn’t make it to the list.
“What elements is that?“, you might ask.
Well, below the picture that you can see below, I’ve written about my criteria for the test. That’s when you will quickly understand why some books have been recommended – and why some books are placed in the “runner’s up” list.
Also, many books have been dropped completely from this article. 🙂
What makes a great Asian vegan cookbook?
I’ll be honest and upfront with you about the criteria that were used in this “test”. My recommendations are purely based on the factors that have been written below:
- No “teaspoon of some spice that can only be found on the Himalaya mountain and bought for 100000 $ in special shops in Zimbabwe.” What I mean by that is that certain cookbooks ask you to add an awful lot of ingredients that are not available in most normal shops where you live.
One of the cookbooks, that obviously didn’t make the list, had one recipe of something that looked delicious. The problem? Well, only 5 out of 16 ingredients could be bought in my local shop.
- Doesn’t require any special equipment to make the food. In my kitchen, I have a microwave, an oven, a stove, and the basic kitchen equipment that “everyone has”.
When a cookbook asks me to get my “citrus juice sprayer” ready – or to put the dough into a “Marinade-Infusing Meat Tenderizer”, I’m out. If you can’t come up with recipes that most people in a normal kitchen can make, I’m not gonna recommend your cookbook.
Most Asian kitchens are quite small and easily equipped. Stop making it too fancy.
- Great pictures. If the pictures are too good, you might lose your confidence in your own cooking abilities. 😉
But having great pictures that illustrate each and every recipe is important. I want to get tempted!
- A little text about the background of the dish, but not too much.
To be completely honest, I don’t really care that this snack was the favorite of Mao Zedong – or that this specific Indian dinner was served to all Indian soldiers during the infamous Battle of Delhi in the year 1757.
I just need to know whether or not it’s easy to make, how many people it can be served for – as well as how it tastes. 🙂
- Not all dishes are vegan.
You clicked this article to find vegan recipes. Some of the books on the “runner’s up list” contain recipes that are vegetarian, not vegan.
I probably sound very negative in this part of the article. But that’s simply because I browsed through so many bad cookbooks that simply weren’t precise or good enough.
Read this article to learn why cooking at home is eco-friendly.
I’m writing this question down because I know there are many fellow coriander haters out there.
Even though many of the recipes in these books use coriander, it’s 100 % OK to drop it. Just take the coriander out of the equation every time – and you are completely fine. Don’t worry about that soap taste at all.
This is something that surprised me as well.
I spoke to a friend of mine. Her parents run a couple of Chinese restaurants in Norway. She told me that getting inspiration from an Asian food culture, but understanding the taste buds of “western people” was super helpful for the author of cookbooks.
In other words: several of these successful Asian cookbooks are written by “Western people” because they have the ability to understand what the market wants, what most people have in their kitchen, which ingredients can be bought in a normal supermarket in Europe/the US, etc.
In the list on the top of this article, you will find a lot of great alternatives.
I’ve personally read them all – and have only included well-written books on the list.
Still looking for inspiration?
Well, if you’d like to see some Asian vegan dishes being made “live”, I can recommend the video below.
The video uploaded on a Youtube channel called “East Meets Kitchen” – and it’s quite educational if you want to learn a thing or two of how to make proper Asian vegan food:
If you enjoyed this article, I think I got a couple of more that you should check out.
The more time you spend on my website, the happier I become.
Articles about food and veganism
- 10 creative marketing campaigns for vegan products
- Active Facebook Vegan Groups & Pages (long list!)
Articles about my journeys in Asia
- 10 crazy facts about plastic pollution in China
- 10 ways China is contributing to an Environmentally Friendly Planet
If you know other Asian vegan cookbooks or just want to say hello: feel free to add a comment in the comment section below. I love to connect with my readers – and I promise to answer you regardless of your request! 😉
6 thoughts on “Review: 10 Top Asian Vegan Cookbooks”
Hi Amund, thanks for this list. It helped me find the book I had heard of but whose title was eluding me! (Sasha Gill’s East Meets Vegan.)
On a side note, as a web site dedicated to sustainability, would you reconsider the affiliate links to Amazon? Danny Caine’s book How to Resist Amazon and Why may provide some inspiration. (More info here: https://microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/zines/12043 but, ironically, you can buy it from Amazon of course as it may be challenging to get it from a small local bookstore in Norway.) Just a thought!
Thanks again for your blog and I look forward to reading more from you!
Hello Brigitte, thanks for your comment.
What you’re writing about Amazon is correct. I was previously working with that company as an Amazon FBA seller, but stopped doing that business because I could see it was harmful to the planet to ship plastic stuff from China to USA only to sell them for a 10 times higher price. So that journey ended after about a year.
In regards to monetization on Sustainability Matters Daily, it’s not exactly a lot of choices. There are some affiliate programs in various niches in the US, but in that case I have to join like 10 different affiliate programs. The reason why I work with Amazon is simply because it’s so easy – and because they have all products available.
You also have to remember that Asian vegan food isn’t the same as in Western countries. Traditionally, countries like Vietnam, China, Philippines and Thailand have been SUPER POOR. And many of them still are.
The problem was that we didn’t have access to meat like chicken and beef. So we were forced to make our food based on what we had in our gardens and on the market in town, which was mainly loads of rice and vegetable.:)
That’s why I think writing an Asian vegan cookbook is so good – because the recipes are based on traditions that has been used in South East Asian countries for decades.
Very well point! The fact that so many Asian countries have been in the “developing stage” for so many years has forced them to use vegetables and rice in their diet. Thanks for giving the great insight! 🙂
Obviously, Asian people know more about Asian cooking than me….I’m just here to let you guys know which asian cookbooks that worked wonders for me.
I’m a Filipina chef who works in Europe. Your article is not only good, but it also gives an introduction to the best Asian cookbooks that can be found on the English-speaking market.
I want to buy one as a Christmas gift to my husband so he can stop making all that greasy English food and rather make some vegan asian dishes 😀
Hello! 🙂 That’s cool. I know quite a lot of people from The Philippines. Your food is amazing!
Keep working on trying to convince your husband – I’m sure you can make it.
That being said: it’s not like all English food is greasy and unhealthy. They have a lot of great food in that country as wel.