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Street Food around the World: An Encyclopedia of Food and Culture [Hardcover]

Bruce Kraig , Colleen Taylor Sen Ph.D.
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 9, 2013 1598849549 978-1598849547

Street foods run deep throughout human history and show the movements of peoples and their foods across the globe. For example, mandoo, manti, momo, and bāozi: all of these types of dumplings originated in Central Asia and spread across the Old World beginning in the 12th century. This encyclopedia surveys common street foods in about 100 countries and regions of the world, clearly depicting how "fast foods of the common people" fit into a country or a region's environments, cultural history, and economy. The entries provide engaging information about specific foods as well as coverage of vendor and food stall culture and issues. An appendix of recipes allows for hands-on learning and provides opportunities for readers to taste international street foods at home.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The American experience of street food might be primarily limited to hot-dog vendors, although, recently, American street food has seen an upswing in terms of visibility with food trucks popping up across the country—and even the Food Network is hopping on the bandwagon with a reality competition show. Internationally, though, street food varies from country-to-country, a difference that this volume attempts to break down. The book is well-researched and thorough and contains a lot of informative material. Sections begin with an overview of the region and are then broken down into countries, with information on the socioeconomic makeup and how that might influence the food found in that particular country. With roughly 10 reviews per country, including desserts and drinks, readers will get a good idea of the flavor profile and what kinds of foods are expected in each region of the world. However, Street Food around the World would greatly benefit from the inclusion of color photographs, as the few black-and-white ones scattered throughout don’t do justice to the scenes or the food items. The descriptions of the food from various countries are detailed, but sometimes the writing feels as though something is lacking, doing little more than stating ingredients. Simply reading about a Chicago-style hot dog, for example, doesn’t do much to entice readers to hunt one out in the Windy City. Although the included recipes are a nice touch, they feel a bit out of place in a book that is meant to describe an experience in a country. (Sure, you could make mohinga—a spicy noodle soup from Myanmar—at home, but it might taste better eaten amid the hustle and bustle of its homeland’s busy thoroughfares.) Overall, this is a secondary purchase for most libraries. It’s a bit of a misfire because it doesn’t know what it wants to be—a travel guide or a cookbook—but it might inspire budding on-the-road foodies; for large collections. --Erin Linsenmeyer


• Presents an international survey of street foods in representative countries and regions that includes interesting facts and recipe to illustrate many of them

• Supplies the historical and environmental background of the country's street food

• Includes sidebars with fun facts and statistics about street foods

• Provides highly useful information for students studying geography and for travelers

"A solid overview of street food worldwide for travelers and researchers."


Library Journal

"This book should be of interest to anyone traveling internationally or wanting to experience how the natives obtain a great portion of their food."



"This interesting reference title will whet readers' appetite for these foods. Summing Up: Recommended. Academic and public libraries; lower- and upper-level undergraduates, graduate students, and general readers."



"Street Food around the World contains a wealth of inspiration for chefs wanting to incorporate these dishes into menus. It could also be useful for food entrepreneurs."


Reference Reviews

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 504 pages
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO (September 9, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598849549
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598849547
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 6.9 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,627,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chicago-based Colleen Taylor Sen is a food historian and writer specializing in the cuisine of the Indian subcontinent. Her articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Travel and Leisure, Food Arts and other publications.. She is the author of Food Culture in India (Greenwood 2006), Curry: A Global History (Reaktion 2009), Pakoras, Paneer, Pappadums: A Guide to Indian Restaurant Menus (2010) and its e-book version Decoding the Indian Restaurant Menu. She is the coeditor (with Bruce Kraig) of Street Food Around the World: An Encyclopaedia of Food and Culture. Her current projects are A History of Indian Food and Drink and (with Helen Saberi) Turmeric: The Wonder Spice. Her website is

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Forget about this book! November 27, 2013
This outrageously and obscenely pricey "encyclopedia" is missing so many well-known street foods of the world. The description for the street foods included in this book are short, general and too simplistic. The presentation is amateurish and the quality of the paper used for the pages in this book is of poor quality. Don't be fooled, the book is not very huge in size, has only about a dozen pictures that are all in black and white, and very few recipes of dishes that are not very appealing to try to make at all either. Save your dollars, this book is not worth buying. Trust me on this, or don't and you will be tremendously sorry not to have listened to my advice after having purchased it. The best thing about this book might be its very deceptive cover.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It is cleat that the authors love and respect their subject. For those, such as I, who were afraid to try "street food", this book offers a "how to", "where to" and "when to" guide to enable the curious visitor to experience the "real" cuisine of a country. The focus clearly is the food yet the chapters include history, politics and culture as well. For the courageous, the authors have included 70 pages of recipes to enable the reader to experience preparing and enjoying the "go to" foods of other countries. We learn so much about people by learning about the food they eat and this wonderful book opens that door.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for adventurous taste buds! December 17, 2013
By AbbyBH
I love to travel and I love to eat street food but I usually don’t know where to go in foreign cities for good (clean) food and I’m always guessing – I never know what to order. I would recommend this book for anyone who hates getting stuck at boring, tourist trap restaurants in exotic locations because they don’t know where else to go to eat. This is a great introduction to the best of the best street food and what to eat depending on where you are. I would get this for anyone who is interested in learning more about street food and who is willing to be just a little bit adventurous.
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