These cookbooks don't just share famous dishes from fascinating places. Each one takes you inside the life of the restaurant and, sometimes, even into the psyche of the chef.
L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food by Roy Choi
By the Numbers: 87 recipes that follow the contours of the Korean-American chef's career: his mother's kimchi cure-all stew, high-end restaurant dishes (seared scallops with chive beurre blanc), Mexican street food (beef cheek tacos) and the stoner mash-up cuisine (Spam banh mi) he pioneered as the founder of Los Angeles's Kogi BBQ food trucks. Choi is the rare chef whose life story—which includes working with chef Eric Ripert and a weeklong crack cocaine binge—is as compelling as his food.