As mentioned earlier, John Pomfret's Chinese Lessons is a powerful and well-structured new book. A weirdly appropriate complement is Rachel DeWoskin's Foreign Babes in Beijing, published last year. Genuinely funny, frivolous by design, and as far as I can tell, insightful.
Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.