Jennifer 8. Lee

Oppressed immigrants serve us delicious noodles

There is writing about food, and there is writing about money. New York Times reporter Jennifer 8. Lee essentially does both in The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food (Twelve Books, $24.99). Herself the daughter of immigrants, Lee charts the hardscrabble path many peasants must follow from the Chinese provinces to cities all over the U.S., where they work off debt to snakeheads by working long hours for low pay. But the news isn’t all bad in her book. She also samples the most renowned Chinese eateries in the world, including a stop at Zen up in Vancouver, B.C. There, in a location near an auto-repair shop, she finds immigrant chef Sam Lau successfully selling fresh fusion cuisine to first-generation Chinese newcomers, who are traditionally suspicious of Westernized dishes. As a result, you may want to make reservations before you drive north over the border. Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main St., 624-6600, Free. 7:30 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Mon., March 31, 7:30 p.m., 2008

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