Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cookbooks: The World’s Best Street Food by Lonely Planet

Having long been the ultimate word on travel with a twist, Lonely Planet now delivers on the current widespread interest in street meat with The World’s Best Street Food: Where to Find It and How to Make It, which is really a pretty terrific book.

Though it’s a bit of a reach and the whole thing could easily have gone badly, this book really works! If there is a country not included here, I can’t discern what it is. All of the expected international favorites are here, as well as many that those who have not traveled to the country in question could never have imagined. “This is a book dedicated to some of the greatest eating in the world,” Tom Parker Bowles writes in an introduction. “Clasp it to your chest and hit the streets. Gastronomic bliss awaits.”

Each example of street food is represented by a two page spread: the food itself in situ on the left -- what is it, how to find it, variations and origins. On the right is how to make your own version at home, with possible substitutions in cases where it is necessary. For instance, the book points out, the cheese curds found in every Montreal supermarket and one of the basic ingredients in Poutine is not widely available anywhere else. The book points out that mozzarella makes an acceptable substitution.

The foods included are as varied and interesting as the places themselves. Meat pies from Australia. Lobster Rolls from Maine. Red Red from Ghana. Stinky Tofu from Taiwan. Tamales from Mexico. Som Tam from Thailand and the sandwich that’s gotten to be such a favorite in much of the west of late, Banh Mi from Vietnam.

This is a great book. It’s sure to make you hungry or want to travel. Or both. ◊


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