Book Review: On the Noodle Road – Jen Lin-Liu

On the Noodle Road coverTitle: On the Noodle Road: From Beijing to Rome with Love and Pasta
Author: Jen Lin-Liu
ISBN: 9781594487262
Pages: 400
Release Date: July 25, 2013
Publisher: Riverhead
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir, Travel, Food
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Jen Lin-Liu is a food writer and cooking instructor who loves, above all, trying and savoring new food. One day she began to wonder who invented the noodle, and that stray thought sparked a journey over many months and thousands of miles. This book is the author’s chronicle of her travels along the Silk Road, from China to Italy, in search of delicious, soul-nurturing food.


On the Noodle Road is a book that fans of travelogues and foodie books alike will absolutely adore. The author’s descriptions are so vivid; readers will appreciate how she describes her travels and the places she visits. It really brings these locations alive for the reader. Additionally, the descriptions of food are absolutely mouthwatering. Lin-Liu finds great delight and pleasure in what she eats, and that comes through on every page of the novel. As a result, you’ll find yourself reading this book slowly, wanting to savor the amazing food the author discusses on every page.

But On the Noodle Road isn’t just a travelogue. It’s also a personal story, a bit of a memoir. Lin-Liu was married soon before she began writing the book, and she still hadn’t quite discovered what her role should be in her marriage. She’s not sure she likes being a “wife” because of all the expectations and subtleties that come with the term. Over the course of the book, her thoughts on her marriage change with what she experiences. It’s so interesting to see how Lin-Liu comes to terms with what kind of wife she wants to be and how what she sees helps her grow as a person.

Lin-Liu’s chatty tone is warm and inviting in On the Noodle Road. It makes the book fly by, as it’s very easy to read. Readers will feel like they’re a friend along for the ride, a confidante of the author’s who is privy to her doubts and insecurities. It’s so interesting to see all these disparate places through the author’s eyes; it’s so nice that she visited so many countries and locales that are off the beaten path, with their own unique cultures and customs. It makes the book singular, and thus worth reading.

One warning: Don’t read On the Noodle Road on an empty stomach. The mouthwatering food descriptions, combined with the intriguing recipes, will have you heading straight for the fridge. This is a thoughtful, well-written book, and along with the wonderful descriptions are interesting questions about life, love, marriage, and the unique customs of others. Fans of memoirs, travel writing, and food writing shouldn’t hesitate to pick this book up.

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  1. I had seen this floating around, but wasn’t sure what to think of it – you make it sound fantastic! I just finished a similar book that was a little too foodie/long-winded for my taste, and I wish it had been more like this.

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