XO sauce, Portuguese chicken, and family recipes fill 'A Very Chinese Cookbook'

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Jeffrey Pang (left) and his son, Kevin, make Cantonese family recipes in their YouTube series, "Hunger Pangs." Photo courtesy of America's Test Kitchen.

While some fathers and their adult sons watch football, work on cars, or play golf, Kevin and Jeffrey Pang prefer a more gustatory form of bonding. They co-host Hunger Pangs, a cooking show from America's Test Kitchen. 

Inspired by his mother as well as by his love of food, the elder Pang began posting videos on YouTube to share his recipes. Kevin first learned about the videos from an email his father sent, which he recalls promptly deleting. When his mother revisited the subject, the video of his dad making the family's scallion pancake recipe had already garnered tens of thousands of likes. The duo were invited to cook side-by-side, at the counter of ATK, where their convivial bickering has become part of their recipes. 

Kevin recalls a baked and broiled dish known as Portuguese chicken that he ate every Wednesday as a child. Chicken thighs are cooked in a creamy, coconut curry sauce and served over rice. "To Hong Kong kids, it's like mac and cheese," says Kevin. "It's so evocative of childhood. I have a son of my own and I try to make it for him from time to time."  

Portuguese chicken is the Hong Kong version of mac and cheese, says Kevin Pang, who recalls eating it every Wednesday as a child. Photo courtesy of America's Test Kitchen.

The first time he tasted orange chicken was as a college student at USC, and the Panda Express dish wasn't anything like the moo shu pork or egg foo young he ate growing up. He reconciled the regionality and breadth of Chinese cuisine and came to recognize American Chinese food as its own genre.

A Very Chinese Cookbook features recipes that traveled with the Pangs in a dog-eared notepad when the family emigrated from Hong Kong. It also showcases recipes for popular American Chinese dishes.

Kevin explains that his childhood followed a typical immigrant experience, where he received side glances at his lunch at school and was dismissed for his off-brand clothing and shoes. Photo courtesy of America's Test Kitchen.

"We might be at the crest of XO sauce mania," says Kevin Pang. Photo courtesy of America's Test Kitchen.

"A Very Chinese Cookbook" features family dishes and popular American Chinese recipes. Photo courtesy of America's Test Kitchen.