The food of Southern China is noted for its abundance of seafood and the simple preparation techniques that allow the natural flavours and textures to carry the dish.

Salted black beans are used to impart a savoury taste, and shredded ginger and chopped coriander are used to counteract any overpowering fishiness.

Terry Tan’s The Food and Cooking of South China (Aquamarine, £19.99), with photographs by Martin Brigdale, is one of those colourful, mouth-watering cookery books which have you salivating by page 10. Most recipes provide pictorial step-by-step instructions, which means that even some of the more complex recipes can be created in a home kitchen.

Fish-stuffed vegetables, sweet-and-sour snapper and chilled pickled crab are some of the many delicious fish recipes. Light bites, family feasts and many unsual chicken dishes are included, too. The soy-braised duck, crispy quail and classic Cantonese roast pork add an extra dimension.

There are also sweet things, thoughTan points out they are not necessarily served at the end of the meal, but included on the menu as an between-meal snack or for special and festive occasions such as the Lunar New Year.

Once you have the top ten ingredients in your store cupboard that are essential to cooking Chinese food, and a few favourites such as oyster or yellow bean sauce – the rest is easy. All you need is Ching-He Huang’s Chinese Food Made Easy (HarperCollins, £16.99).

The recipes follow the BBC 2 TV series Chinese Food Made Easy, shown earlier in the year. The eight chapters include our favourite take-away recipes, spicy Sichuan dishes, street food, celebration food and desserts, drinks and side dishes. Some may seem familiar, but they have a modern twist.

Ching not only tells you all you need to know about using a wok, she shares her passion for Chinese food and Chinese culture, too. Some recipes have been simplified to demonstrate how healthy, light and simple Chinese cooking can be.

her Great Wall of China green tea ice cream with candied walnuts is a dessert made to share. Five-spice beef with sesame dressing is particularly tasty and her roast pork pastry puffs absolutely delicious.