The Top 10 Craziest Street Foods in the World

Editor’s Note: This article is brought to you by Rease Kirchner of, a team of foodie writers delivering a menu of delights to your inbox: daring delicacies, foodie travel tips and easy recipes to re-create in your own world kitchen. Follow the Fugu on Twitter @TheFlyingFugu.

For our money, we’d say street food is usually just as delicious as fancier restaurant fare (if not more so). And we’re not just talking about sandwiches and hot dogs. Take a look at the ten wackiest street food finds from around the globe — each one actually a very common find in one particular corner of the earth.

10. Fruit with Chili Powder — Mexico

You may think it’s odd to put something spicy on something sweet, but Mexicans do it all the time. It is very common to pick up fruit in a bowl or on a stick with some spicy chili powder sprinkled on top. Think of it as a twist on the sweet and salty combo — Mexico has sweet and spicy instead! (Photo: Spotreporting)

9. Chicken Feet — China

These grilled feet may look disturbingly similar to a human hand, but don’t worry, they actually come from a chicken. The meat is described as a bit chewier than a chicken leg might be. On the street, they are generally served grilled with some spices, on a stick or just in a basket. (Photo: Whologwhy)

8. Bugs on a Stick — Thailand

In Thailand,insects like crickets, grasshoppers and worms are fried up, shoved on a stick and served up to anyone with a rumbling tummy. The taste varies by the insect and the spices used to flavor them. In general, the insects are crunchy on the outside and a little soft on the inside. Mmm…soft and flavorful bug guts. (Photo: Star5112)

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Welcome to Austin: Thai Breakfast Tacos

As I’ve mentioned many times, I am from Seattle. Exciting news, though — I got offered a restaurant media job in Austin last month! So guess who’s a Texan now?! Yee haw! This means one thing for Endless Simmer: Tons of AMAZING Texas/Southern food coverage! You’re welcome. I do it for you.

It’s no big secret that Texas is full of great Mexican food. I mean, hello, we’ve all heard of Tex-Mex! There is one delicacy special to Austin, though, that I find especially appealing: the breakfast taco.

Sure, you can find Mexican-inspired breakfast entrees everywhere. Huevos rancheros and fast-food breakfast burritos are not exactly culinary revelations. But there is just something about the Austin breakfast taco! Ask anybody in this city. The concept is simple: head to your local taco stand in the morning (Austin is teeming with them, and they’re all delicious), but instead of your average choices of fillings, you can choose from eggs! Potatoes! Cheese! But don’t worry; the usual suspects (chorizo, avocado, refried beans, etc…) are also available.

Today is my first work morning and naturally I needed to find the perfect “welcome to your new food life” breakfast. Luckily my offices are very close to a little coffee shop called Thrice, which is connected to a Thai cafe/market/culinary school. This means not only does Thrice offer Austin breakfast tacos, but they are Thai-fusion breakfast tacos! WHAT. Just to reiterate, that is a combination of Mexican and Thai. My two favorite ethnic cuisines.

A fluffy, slightly spicy Thai omelette mixed with tomatoes and grilled onions, perched atop a fresh flour tortilla and served up with a smoky-sweet Thai chili hot sauce. I think I’m gonna like it here.

Feeding the Dragon: Yunnan Potato Balls with Spicy Dipping Sauce

Editor’s Note: A Chinese teacher/translator and writer living in Washington, D.C., Jody Melto of Curlicue Chronicles joins us for a tasty trek through China…

At first glance, I didn’t want to like Feeding the Dragon, the recently published travelogue/cookbook on China. First of all, there are the names of the co-authors, sister and brother duo Mary Kate and Nate Tate. But that’s not their fault.

However, young Mary Kate Tate asking in the introduction, “How can we record each person’s story, taste every dish? Have we bitten off more than we can chew?” is quite their fault. It reeks of a Julie & Julia attempt. I bet The Two Tates have talked about just playing themselves when the cookbook is optioned. Now I’m just being snarky. I did that with Julie & Julia, come to think about it.

At least my snark has backstory. I spent the first part of my 20s living in a small Chinese town as a student on scholarship, working as a teacher, model and even as an actress in some really bad television shows and one martial arts film to earn enough money to travel over 250 hard-seat hours by train throughout China. No credit card. No cell phone. No parents footing the bill. Pretty hardcore travel. Who can blame me for being snarky when it comes to a couple young hipsters who claim to have roughed it through China on a quest to “taste every dish?”

Just when I’m feeling quite smug, Mary Kate & Nate Tate (I just love saying that) do something that impresses the hell out of me — they admit to eating dog. They weren’t ballsy enough to include a recipe calling for dog meat. But I give credit when it’s due. And that took balls. I’ve killed the mood at more than one dinner party after raving about doggie dumplings. (Dog people can be so freakin’ sensitive.)

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America’s Best New Sandwiches — 2012

You want sandwiches? We got sandwiches. Last year, Endless Simmer’s post on America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches was our most-read story of 2011, and even helped turn The New Luther into a bit of a sell-out phenomenon. But America’s sandwich artisans haven’t stopped innovating, and we haven’t stopped salivating. So here we go, for your drooling-at-work pleasure, this year’s list of America’s top 10 craziest, loveliest, cheesiest, most creative new sandwiches.

10. The Noble Pig —  Noble Pig Sandwiches, Austin

Texas may be best known for its beef, but perhaps not for long, if chefs John Bates and Brandon Martinez have anything to say about it. Their year-and-a-half-old Noble Pig serves up a namesake sandwich that somehow combines everything that is beautiful about pork products on one truly outstanding sandwich. Tender pulled pork, spicy slivers of ham, and crispy bits of bacon are all mixed together, topped with provolone cheese, and served on toasted, house-baked bread, for a porky trifecta that hits all of the spots. (Photo: Marshall Wright)

9. Pane et Panelle — Bar Stuzzichini, New York

Chickpeas may get typecast as functioning only in falafel form, but it turns out balls aren’t all they can do. Panelle is actually an old Sicilian street food snack—chickpeas and flour formed into light, airy strips and fried in olive oil. Stuzzichini‘s sandwich revives that classic and perfects it, layering crispy strips of panelle on a sesame-studded bun, in between levels of soft ricotta and caciocavallo cheeses. The result is a light-but-addictive sandwich that will make you curse every overly dense falafel wrap that has crossed your lips.

8. Chicharrones Banh Mi — Ink Sack, Los Angeles

There are a million banh mis in American nowadays, but we were most swept away by this version from Top Chef champ Michael Voltaggio. At his new Ink Sack sandwich shop, tender slices of pork belly and pork butt are topped with pickled vegetables, plus the kicker — crispy chicharróne fried pork rinds, creating one incredible multi-culti pork bomb.

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Cooking Down the Fridge: Inauthentic Fried Rice

Recently, someone criticized an old post of mine, calling my gado gado recipe “as authentic as General Tsao chicken.”  Ouch.  Except that I made no claims about authenticity, and when I made it again this week, it was delicious.  Someday, perhaps I will comb the web for the bestest recipe there is before embarking on a three-hour dinner-making odyssey.  I’ll make tortillas from scratch before collecting freshly laid eggs from my personal chickens for breakfast.  Given my current life situation, I estimate this to be a possibility in the year 2032.  Until then, the Moosewood Cookbook will do just fine.

So, all this is to say that if authenticity is what you seek STOP READING THIS POST RIGHT NOW.  You will be only left bitter and disappointed.

Moving on.  Growing up, we did not eat casseroles.  My mom was raised in a family of six children with one income, so canned mushroom soup was a pantry staple.  Tuna noodle casserole, chicken a la king, chicken pot pie, the iterations of the creamy baked dishes were endless.  As a result, my mom was rendered unable to eat another casserole once she began her own household.  And as a result of that, I never got into the whole casserole scene.  Without a cream sauce and puff pastry crust, though, what was I to do with my leftovers?

Half a block of tofu, some dried out rice and whitish looking baby carrots can stare me down from the fridge, and I can confidently stare right back thanks to one secret weapon: fried rice.  At least once a week, usually on the day that a tenuous nap situation has left my nerves ragged, I fire up the cast iron skillet (that’s right, I don’t even use a wok —culinary sacrilege, I know) and get to work emptying out the fridge in search of dinner.

Here’s what usually transpires:

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Artsy Photo Series of the Day

And the result…

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