Book Reviews - Expat Living Singapore

Book Reviews

Fun with Asian Food: A Kids’ Cookbook

Recipes Devagi Sanmugam, illustrations Larijke de Ouden

Periplus | 32 pages


This beautifully illustrated cookbook features 12 recipes with Asian origins. It’s also a brief introduction to the cuisine and culture of Asia. An index section about Asian ingredients is helpful, as is the introductory information about cooking preparation and safety tips. The instructions are easy to follow, but it’s probably better suited to children aged eight and above who can read independently. The Balinese banana pancakes were a hit with the whole family.



Step-by-step Cooking for Kids:
Recipes from around the world

Marshall Cavendish | 103 pages


A selection of recipes from 48 countries should keep the keenest cook busy during the long school holidays. Clear, step-by-step instructions and photographs mean the recipes are simple to follow and straightforward. Additional information about each country including culture, history and geography adds to the learning experience. My kids cooked Australian Anzac biscuits and Mexican guacamole – with great results!



Bella’s Chinese New Year

Stacey Zolt Hara ; illustrations by Steve Pileggi


“Look, a blue taxi – just like the ones we get!” “Is Bella taking the bus to Sentosa?” “When you get on the bus you have to put your card on the box.” “Nihao means hello.” These were just some of the comments my daughter made as she looked through this colourful illustrated children’s book set in Singapore.


She’s only three, but I expect that readers up to seven or eight will find plenty to enjoy in Bella’s Chinese New Year, not least of all the main character, Bella, a five-year-old with a head of wild, red curls to match the red qipao she wears.


Aside from the images of iconic Singapore scenes – from streets full of shophouses to the tossing of a traditional lo hei salad – the text is full of fun cultural references. There’s even a simple Mandarin glossary at the back for budding young linguists.


Available at Motherswork, The Children’s Showcase at Loewen Gardens, Littered with Books and




Lily Chili Alamak!



Here’s a gently humorous and generally charming new book from Dutch cartoonist Iskander, who has been living and working in Singapore for nearly 15 years. It contains a collection of 180 comic strips featuring a feisty young Singaporean girl and her family – including a long-suffering little brother – and touches on topics such as durians, cockroaches, construction noise, torturing your cousin and loo-roll juggling. See also



Writing for Lonely Planet


DANIEL McCROHAN was recently in Singapore to research the next edition of the Lonely Planet guide to the island and to promote the first edition of LP’s Discover China, which he co-authored. We cornered him for 10 minutes in Borders.


You’re from the UK, but where do you live?


Beijing. I went backpacking in China for a month with no intention of staying any longer than that, but fell in love with the country. When I went back to the UK, I looked into ways of spending more time in China. I found a teaching job in Beijing, and six years later, I’m still living there and loving every minute of it.


How did you get the Lonely Planet gig?


Kind of by chance. I was in Uzbekistan, on a monster overland trip from Beijing to London. I bumped into an author who was compiling the LP Central Asia guide. Like everyone, I said, “Wow, you’ve got the best job in the world!” He said, “You’re a writer, you’re in Uzbekistan so you obviously love travelling, so why don’t you do it, too?” So, I went home, applied, and got accepted. I specialise in China and India, the two countries I’ve done the most travel in over the years.


What do you like about travelling in China?


It’s one big adventure. Everything is so different from the UK: culture, history, people, language, food. Sure, there are difficulties with travel: the language barrier, and the sheer size of the country. But the people you meet in China are so helpful to foreigners – someone always helps you out.


Read the full interview at Discover China is available in all major bookstores. Dan has also written a new iPhone App, Beijing on a Budget, with excellent advice for making the most of the Chinese capital. Find it at the App Store.


Read more from the interview here.