Fu Pei-mei
Born(1931-10-01)October 1, 1931
DiedSeptember 16, 2004(2004-09-16) (aged 72)
Years active1962–2002

Fu Pei-mei (Chinese: 傅培梅; pinyin: Fù Péiméi; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Pòo Puê-muî; 1931 – 16 September 2004) was a Taiwanese waishengren[1] chef. She wrote over 30 cookbooks on Chinese cuisine, and produced and hosted cooking programs on Taiwan Television and Japan's NHK. In 2012, she was posthumously awarded the special award at the 47th Golden Bell Awards ceremony.


Fu was born in 1931 in Dalian, under Japanese rule at the time. Aged 15, she left the city due to the events of the Chinese Civil War, and took on clerical work, where her company provided meals to its workers.[2] Fu moved to Taiwan at age 18, as Chinese Communist forces consolidated control over the mainland.[3] Before becoming a cook, she worked in a trading company and appeared in television commercials promoting electrical appliances.[3] Fu left her career behind to marry Cheng Shao-ching, whom she met on a blind date. Cheng expected Fu to cook, and she tried to learn while raising a family, but she did not have time to focus on cooking until her children began attending school. Fu sought chefs from several well-known restaurants in Taipei to teach her how to cook, mailing a note that read, "Seeking famous chefs to learn cooking from, high pay."[2] Fu spent two years, 1957 and 1958, as well as the entirety of her dowry, on sessions with these chefs, then began teaching students of her own in 1961.[2][4] At first her audience were mainly Taiwanese housewives. Fu later taught wives of United States Armed Forces stationed in Taiwan.[2][5] It was one of those students that helped her contact a producer at Taiwan Television, where she began her television career.[3][2]

For forty years, from 1962 to 2002, Fu hosted a series of cooking programs at Taiwan Television, presenting over 4000 Chinese cuisine dishes. Her programs were exported to Japan, the United States, the Philippines and other Asian countries.[3] Fu's show won a Golden Bell Award in 1997.[2] She could speak English, Mandarin, Japanese, and Hokkien.[6] Fu was frequently invited to appear on Japan's NHK,[7][3] while her English-language programs were aided by a daughter.[7] Fu published an English–Chinese bilingual edition of her first cookbook in 1969, translating the text herself.[6] Pei Mei’s Chinese Cook Book ran for three volumes.[8] Fu wrote over 30 cookbooks in Chinese and English and ran a cooking class.[6][9] Fu helped develop a number of flavorful precooked food products, including Manhan Noodles, an instant noodle product marketed by Uni-President, and a product line of five entrees for Ajinomoto.[10][11]

Fu died on 16 September 2004 of pancreatic cancer, aged 73.[3]


In 1971, Raymond A. Sokolov of The New York Times stated that Fu Pei-mei "could be called the Julia Child of Chinese cooking."[12] Fu Pei-mei had a positive reception to the comparison.[13]

In 2012, she posthumously received the special Golden Bell Award.[14] In October 2015, a Google Doodle was dedicated to her.[15]

A mini-series was made about Fu's life titled "What She Put on the Table", and it aired in Taiwan during the summer of 2017. It was available globally starting in the fall of 2018 through the online streaming platform, Netflix.[16][17]

TV shows





  1. ^ King, p. 16. "As a result,[...]including Fu herself.[...] These war- time refugees, who came to be known as “mainlanders” (waishengren,[...]"
  2. ^ a b c d e f Han Cheung (12 September 2021). "Taiwan in Time: It's Fu Pei-mei time". Taipei Times. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Legend of Chinese cooking dies at 73". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2017-05-31.
  4. ^ "A woking ambassador". Free China Journal. 1 September 1992. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  5. ^ Davis, Emily (17 August 2020). "The Joy of Chinese Cooking". University of North Carolina. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  6. ^ a b c Tsai, Luke (27 June 2019). "She Raised a Generation of Taiwanese Home Cooks". Taste. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  7. ^ a b Newman, Jacqueline M. (2005). "Fu Pei Mei---Tribute to a Recipe Master". Flavor and Fortune. Vol. 12, no. 3. pp. 31, 35. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  8. ^ Tsai, Luke (17 November 2020). "Why a Small Sebastopol Farm Has 1,000 Copies of This Iconic, Out-of-Print Chinese Cookbook". Eater. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  9. ^ Islands Magazine. April 1999.
  10. ^ "Three Minutes to Go". Taiwan Journal. 1 June 2007. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  11. ^ "Fast, Fresh And Fancy". Free China Journal. 1 September 1992. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  12. ^ Sokolov, Raymond A. (1971-07-25). "Pei‐Mei's cold (and hot) salads". The New York Times. p. 39 (SM section). - To view the narrative content, one must go into the "TimesMachine" as the HTML page does not yet display the relevant text as of 12/18/2023.
  13. ^ Pan, Chien-wei (2020). A Bite of Taiwan Culinary Intimacy in Contemporary Taiwanese Food Narratives (PDF) (Thesis). University of Edinburgh. p. 99.
  14. ^ Chung, Jake (27 October 2012). "Golden Bells honor living and dead". Taipei Times. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  15. ^ "Pei Mei Fu's 84th Birthday". www.google.com. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
  16. ^ (Taiwan), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (2017-08-02). "Four Taiwan TV series made available globally on Netflix - Taiwan Today". Taiwan Today. Retrieved 2018-11-15.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ "What She Put on the Table | Netflix". www.netflix.com. Retrieved 2018-11-15.