21 January 2012

Weekend Cooking: Street Food by Carla Diamanti and Fabrizio Esposito

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Some food books are for cooking from, some are to read, and some take you to exotic places in the world. Carla Diamanti and Fabrizio Esposito's Street Food does all three.

Every page of this informative book is chockfull of photos of mouth-watering foods from around the world. The dishes aren't from 5-star restaurants but are from the carts, booths, and food trucks you find on the streets of almost every city in every country.

Street Food is divided into sections by area (Europe, Chindia, Middle East, for example), and then by country and/or city. The introduction to each region and city gives us some culinary history, describes typical meals, and tempts us with descriptions of flavors. We not only learn what dishes to seek out but also how to eat the food properly.
[Lebanon's fuul soup] is served in ceramic bowls to patrons who eat standing outside the shop and in cardboard bowls to those in a hurry. (p. 80)

Regardless of whether we're talking about street food or a restaurant meal, Japanese etiquette is very strict about eating. (p. 113) [the text includes advice]
The authors also name streets, squares, and other specific locations to seek out the best of the best in street food. Whether you're traveling to a big city in America or to small town in Senegal, you'll want to check out Street Food before you go.

The book includes about two dozen recipes for typical street foods. It appears that the recipes were chosen to be accessible to most people, wherever you live. No very strange ingredients are called for, though you'll want to go to a well-stocked supermarket. Frankly, I was less interested in cooking from Street Food than I was in reading it and looking at the beautiful photographs. Here are some of the recipes:
  • Arancini (fried rice balls) from the Mediterranean
  • Baklava from the Middle East
  • Dragon's beard candy from Chindia
  • Samosa from Africa
My only complaint about the book is that the pages are dense. There is no spacing between paragraphs and paragraphs are set flush left (no indentation), so the text is solid on the page. Of course, there are two to four photographs on every spread, so readers aren't faced with acres of type, but it does make the book slow going.

Recommended reading for travelers (armchair and literal) and food lovers.

Street Food at Powell's
Street Food at Book Depository
These links lead to affiliate programs.

Published by Tandom Verlag / h.f.ullmann, 2011
ISBN-13: 9783833156151
Source: Review (see review policy)
Rating: B-
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Too Fond 1/21/12, 6:37 AM  

Yum--this is definitely the kind of travel book I can appreciate! I love the authenticity of street food, which can give you a real "taste" of local cultures.

Uniflame 1/21/12, 7:02 AM  

I love street food :) It would be nice to have a peek around the world :)

cessie 1/21/12, 8:14 AM  

This totally sounds like a book I would like!! I love love street food and I love reading about food and everything connected ;)
I like this meme too, might give it a try soon!
Enjoy your weekend!

Anonymous,  1/21/12, 8:35 AM  

mmmmm Street food.. What could be better? When I was little, I was always psyched to go into NYC for those roasted nuts you can get at vendors. That looks worth the investment!

Margot 1/21/12, 8:40 AM  

Oh, this is my kind of book. I'm fascinated with what and how various people eat around the world. Sounds like great reading.

caite 1/21/12, 8:42 AM  

I would love to check this book out..even with the dense thing..which I would not like.

The whole street food thing is a great subject..I remember the roasted ears of corn in Turkey, which struck me as odd.

(Diane) bookchickdi 1/21/12, 8:52 AM  

I live in NYC, and am so lucky that there are many food trucks from which to choose. I have the tweatit app, which lets you know where the closest food trucks are, which is cool.
We're heading to Barbados soon, and can't wait to try the roadside rum shacks.

bermudaonion 1/21/12, 9:08 AM  

Did you make note of some places for us to try in New York? This sounds like a great book!

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity 1/21/12, 9:26 AM  

We don't have any street vendors in Dallas (that I can think of) but I do enjoy street food from some of the bigger cities that I've visited. Think my favorite has got to be spiced nuts. Mmmm. I would die if I encountered Baklava on a street cart. YUM!

Julie P. 1/21/12, 9:33 AM  

Unique premise for a cookbook!

Jesse 1/21/12, 10:17 AM  

Oh wow, this looks like a great book... perfect for quite a few armchair vacations! I love that recipes are included as well. My boyfriend isn't a very adventurous eater, but I sure am! I love making food from other cultures on nights when he has other plans (which are quite often, as a football/baseball coach!)

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 1/21/12, 10:18 AM  

Where is it that grilled corn is a popular street food - Africa? I've always been intrigued when I've read about this type of street food.

And, I second Kathy's question - what should we look for in NY, aside from stale pretzels and swampy dogs?

Heather @ girlichef.com 1/21/12, 10:19 AM  

I think I could forgive those flaws in lieu of the pictures and premise of this book. It sounds fabulous and I'm off to see if my library has it! Thanks for the great review =)

Carol @ Always Thyme to Cook 1/21/12, 10:47 AM  

I think I would love this cookbook, if not for the recipes then for the reading and pictures alone! Enjoyed the review, thanks!

Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick 1/21/12, 10:55 AM  

It sounds like, while the recipes and subject are lovely, it's set up as almost like a textbook with the formatting. But, I do think I'd pick up it up strictly because I'd love to see the "street food" from around the world. And I'd really love to try to make baklava, I've always been too intimidated!

Esme 1/21/12, 11:07 AM  

Food stands can be so enticing. I love wandering around a foreign country and smelling the scents from the street. I will check this out.

natalie @ book, line, and sinker 1/21/12, 12:15 PM  

i am such a wimp when it comes to street food--the only thing i'll order from a truck in NYC is ice cream. :) as for this book, the photos alone sound worth it!

Esme 1/21/12, 12:29 PM  

I could only wish that I could make a pie crust that pretty.

Joy Weese Moll 1/21/12, 12:50 PM  

That sounds like a really fun travel book!

Linda 1/21/12, 1:09 PM  

Yum, I love street food!

MizB 1/21/12, 1:51 PM  

Beth -- sorry I posted the wrong link... I put in the "Small Favours" link, but linked straight to the blog. It's my sister's site. :) Should've read the instructions here, first. :-?


Peggy@Peggy Ann's Post 1/21/12, 2:00 PM  

We just watched a show on Travel Channel about food carts and truck and how popular they are becoming. Sounds like a great book!

Robin M 1/21/12, 2:02 PM  

Sounds like a great book - very unique.

Heather 1/21/12, 2:08 PM  

I have watched a few television shows that feature street foods and find it fascinating the range of choices. wow. We don't have much variety beyond hot dogs and sausages here, but then again, smaller town. I can enjoy them vicariously and save the calories. Thanks.

Belle Wong 1/21/12, 2:58 PM  

One of our favourite cookbooks is THE WORLD OF STREET FOOD. I'm definitely adding this book to the to-get list!

Amanda 1/21/12, 4:52 PM  

I adore street food, especially Middle Eastern street food (chicken kebabs in hummus, falafel pitas, mmm...), so I think I would love to look at this, even if I don't read it all. The blocked dense text sounds obnoxious...

Heidenkind 1/21/12, 6:31 PM  

There isn't a big street food culture where I live (I imagine this is the case for most places in the US), so I rarely think about that as an option even while I'm traveling. I did have some roasted chestnuts in Italy once, but that's about it!

Zibilee 1/22/12, 7:05 AM  

I have always wanted to know how to make Baklava, and a few other recipes that you mentioned sound wonderful as well. I need to check this book out! Thanks for sharing!

Diann 1/22/12, 12:42 PM  

I think is the kind of book I would just enjoy reading and gazing at the fun pictures! Thank you for hosting!

Leslie @ This is the Refrain 1/22/12, 3:41 PM  

I love street food! This is definitely a book I think I'd love. Thanks for sharing :)

Libby 1/23/12, 8:16 PM  

You sold me on this one! I am a devoted armchair traveler!


Libby 1/23/12, 8:16 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heather 1/25/12, 12:41 PM  

oops, I accidentally added link 32 for Natalie's Cheesy Potato Chowder, I was intending to add it to my blog, she already posted here. Sorry.

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