Frank Kasell Traveled by Train to Eat 300 Dishes in 53 Cities for His New Book on Chinese Street Food
"Usually, if I see internal parts on a menu, they’re worth trying,” says Frank Kasell, who I’ve invited to discuss his first book, Chinese Street Food, over a lunch of dan dan noodles, spicy beef with soft tofu, and stir-fried pork intestines at Szechuan Garden in Morrisville. I’ve never had that last dish, but since the guy wrote a book bearing the sub-title “A Field Guide for the Adventurous Diner,” I dig in. (It tastes like richer, chewier pork belly).
Kasell spent three months traveling by train across China, sampling and photographing more than three hundred street-food dishes, recording tasting notes and anecdotes, and cataloguing them according to province and city. And while several fall on the more adventurous end of the spectrum, such as Chengdu’s rabbit heads, or Changchun’s skewered deep-fried silkworm pupae, the book explores the gamut, including fried snacks, sweets, dumplings, noodles, soups, porridges, and more. Whether you’re an intrepid foodie or an armchair traveler, the catalog of dishes is a fascinating look at the diversity of Chinese street food and its cultural nuances.
As often happens with discovering a new cuisine, all it takes is one bite to get you hooked."
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