Street Food around the World: An Encylopaedia of Food and Culture, ed. Bruce Kraig and Colleen Taylor Sen.
(ABC Clio, 2013; http://www.abc-clio.com/product.aspx?isbn=9781598849547).
Retail price: $100. Available on Walmart.com for $60.
An estimated 250 million people eat street food every day, and for many, street food is their main source of nutrition. Once associated mainly with developing countries, street food is making inroads into the developed world, especially in North America with the advent of food trucks in major cities. Not to be outdone, top chefs have opened restaurants specializing in street food, and items such as hot dogs, bhelpuri, and tacos have been reincarnated as gourmet items on the menus of upscale restaurants. Television programs, even entire series, are devoted to exploring the culinary delights of the street. Street food is one of the centerpieces of culinary tourism for people in pursuit of unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences.
This encyclopedia is the first book of its scope devoted to this important, endlessly fascinating culinary realm. It surveys the popular street foods of around 100 countries and regions of the world, showing how these ‘fast foods of the common people’ fit into the economy, history, and environment. It covers not only such street food superstars as India, China, Thailand, and Mexico but countries where street food plays a less important role, such as those in northern Europe. Our reasoning was that travelers to these countries might also be search of a street food experience, which may be somewhat harder to find.
Contributors include some of the world’s leading food historians, academics, and journalists who are specialists in their countries. A chapter of recipes lets you taste international dishes at home.
Here are some sample recipes to try at home!
BOILED CHANNA (GUYANA)
(From Gaitri Chandra- Pagach)
2-3 tablespoon vegetable oil for frying
1 medium white onion, cut into thin rings
2 cans chick peas, rinsed and drained (or the same amount of freshly boiled chick peas)
1 red bird chili, finely chopped (or substitute chili powder to taste)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoon ground coriander
salt to taste, if needed
1. Heat the oil in a wok or skillet.
2. Fry the onions until lightly browned.
3. Add the drained chick peas and stir-fry briefly.
4. Add the chili and spices and continue to stir-fry for a minute or two.
5. Taste for salt and add some if needed. Canned chick peas are usually salty enough.
6. Serve warm or at room temperature as a snack, with optional readymade West Indian pepper sauce if you like your food very spicy. (Mexican habanero sauce is also good.)
CHAPLI KEBAB (Afghanistan)
From Helen Saberi
1 pound finely chopped lamb or beef
12 ounces green onions, finely chopped
4 ounces white flour
½ sweet bell pepper (green or red), de-seeded and finely chopped
4 hot green chilies, de-seeded and finely chopped (use less if a milder version is preferred)
3-4 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cilantro seed
Salt to taste
½ cup vegetable oil for frying
¼ cup extra fresh cilantro for garnishing
12 lemon wedges
1. Place the meat, scallions, flour, both kinds of pepper, fresh and ground cilantro and salt to taste in a bowl and mix and knead thoroughly until the mixture is smooth and sticky. Shape the mixture into around 12 flat oblongs about 6” by 4” and ¼” thick.
2. Heat enough vegetable oil in a frying-pan to fry the kebabs (which should be almost covered by the oil), and fry over a medium to high heat until they are brown on both sides and cooked through (about 10 minutes).
Serve with a tomato and onion salad and chapati or naan. Garnish with fresh cilantro and lemon wedges.