Despite its somewhat sensationalist subtitle, this is a fascinating survey of street fare throughout China, written by a pair of frequent American travelers to that country who have made it a point to seek out the everyday convenience foods of ordinary people. With chapters on subjects such as breakfast foods; dishes with fanciful names ("table slap noodles," "barbarian head buns,"); regional specialties; foods that tend to scare squeamish Americans; and foods that were imported into China via the Silk Road, this is less a systematic catalog than an effort to capture some of the most distinctive aspects of street food culture.
Props to the authors for their decision to include the names of dishes in Chinese characters, and for their detailed recipes that assume you are willing to prepare your own sauces, seasoning oils, and stocks rather than resort to store-bought. They do love a colorful origin story, even if they admit that at times it seems emperors did little more than sneak out of palaces disguised as commoners to eat street food.
Color photographs throughout. Hardcover.