Sichuan Cookbook

Sichuan Cookbook (四川菜谱)
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Sichuan Cookbook (四川菜谱) is a legendary classic book. It was compiled by Chengdu Catering Company (成都市饮食公司) and released in Jul 1972. In this book, many traditional recipes are described in detail. Many recipes have been lost now.

The goal of this project is to digitize Sichuan Cookbook properly.

  • [x] Take photos of each page of the book with a digital camera.
  • [x] Process the photos, correct exposure, and perspective distortion, and adjust the type area.
  • [x] Create binary images from the processed photos.
  • [x] Run OCR (optical character recognition) on the binary images.
  • [x] Create a PDF book of the original book from the binary images and the OCR results.
  • [x] Organize each recipe in the book with an abstract data structure, and save them as a $\mathrm{L\kern-.36em\lower-.428571ex\hbox{\small{A}}\kern-.15emT\kern-.1667em\lower.5ex\hbox{E}\kern-.125emX}$ document.
  • [x] Reproduce the appearance of the original book with $\mathrm{L\kern-.36em\lower-.428571ex\hbox{\small{A}}\kern-.15emT\kern-.1667em\lower.5ex\hbox{E}\kern-.125emX}$ typesetting.
  • [x] Render $\mathrm{L\kern-.36em\lower-.428571ex\hbox{\small{A}}\kern-.15emT\kern-.1667em\lower.5ex\hbox{E}\kern-.125emX}$ documents and create a PDF book.
  • [x] Optionally, add comments to the book based on research.

Sichuan Cookbook 1972 Remake

According to the Copyright Law of China, concerning a work of a legal person or other organization, the term of protection for the copyrights to that work shall be 50 years and shall end on Dec 31 of the 50th year after the work's first publication. Thus, after Dec 31, 2022, the first edition of the paperback book, Sichuan Cookbook (四川菜谱), entered the public domain. Therefore, this project has been released to the public on Jan 1, 2023.

Download a digitized copy of the book

Sichuan Cookbook 1972 Remake

For a contemporary eBook, download Sichuan Cookbook 1972 Remake (3.46 MB). This is an A5 paper size (210mm $\times$ 148mm) remake edition of the original paperback book.

Scanned copy

A draft copy of Sichuan Cookbook 1972 (75.6 MB) can be downloaded. This is a 185mm $\times$ 130mm paper size scanned copy with an unproofread OCR text underlayer.

Set up a developing environment

The selection of operating system

Debian or Ubuntu is preferred. But other Linux distros can be used. I do not see any obstruction here. Apple macOS can also be used, if all the command line tools needed are properly installed.

Build a digitized copy of the book

The digitized remaster of the book

Each page of the book was captured by a digital camera, and then processed with Adobe Lightroom Classic for RAW decoding, perspective distortion correction, and some other minor adjustments. To keep large JPEG photos out of the git repository, all the JPEG photos are stored in Download all the JPEG photos with the following command. Please notice the size of all these JPEG photos is around 625 MiB.

make -C jpeg

Or, all the JPEG files can be downloaded in one tarball (625 MB).


The original book has a page size of 185mm $\times$ 130mm. This length-to-width ratio is roughly equal to $\sqrt{2} : 1$. Thus, with a 600dpi resolution, the image size of all the pages will be 4370px $\times$ 3091px.

All the JPEG photos will be processed with ImageMagick, and then OCRed with Tesseract Open Source OCR Engine.

sudo apt-get install imagemagick tesseract-ocr tesseract-ocr-chi-sim


Build the PDF with the following commands.

make -C jpeg
make scan

The LaTeX remake of the book


The book is recreated with $\mathrm{X\kern-.1em\lower.5ex\hbox{Ǝ}\kern-.15emL\kern-.36em\lower-.428571ex\hbox{\small{A}}\kern-.15emT\kern-.1667em\lower.5ex\hbox{E}\kern-.125emX}$.

sudo apt-get install -y fonts-cns11643-kai fonts-hanazono fonts-noto texlive-full

The font - Patch-Kai

A couple of Chinese character glyphs in Unicode CJK Extension E, Extension G do not exist in either Fandol-Kai or TW-Kai. An OpenType font, Patch-Kai is created to fill in the gap. Only a handful of glyphs are in it.

Copy the font file to the local font directory.

cp fonts/Patch-Kai.otf ~/.fonts


Build the PDF with the following command.

make -C latex



For each receipt under the latex directory, proofreading is wanted. If you want to help to proofread, please claim the unassigned working items from GitHub issues.

This A4 paper size scanned copy for printing (80.6 MB) is preferred to be utilized as a reference for proofreading.

Please report typos of a receipt with a new comment on the same issue page you claimed. Of course, pull requests are always welcome!

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