We buy food we can point to. We stalk the streets until rush hour and wait for the little hatches to open in the sides of restaurants. From the steamy openings, cooks in overalls sell jiaozi (dumplings) and bowls of thick, sticky, white congee - an unholy cross between soup and porridge. Baozi, steamed white buns, are light as air. I buy them filled with water spinach and nettle - delicious dipped in sharp, black Chinese vinegar.
In 2008, Miranda and her partner set off for one last big adventure before settling down. They chose to travel through South-East Asia. All did not go to plan: Asian flu, falling off boats and the general chaos of a life abroad challenged them at every step, and yet, in the midst of it all, they fell in love with the culture and culinary delights of China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia.
Miranda Davies is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 4 Extrawhere she specialises in abridging books for radio and adapting them for dramaticserialisation. She lives in Wales with her husband and their two daughters.
'Fragrant Heart is a compelling outsider's perspective on the region. The recipes for a range of Asian dishes look pretty good, too.'
'With recipes dotted throughout, think of it as more, Eat, Eat-Some More, Love.'
'an interesting and instructive book in more ways than one.'
'For those ready to explore the variety of Asian cuisine, this is the guide to follow.'