Street Food – Tom Kime

by Jeanne


"The best way to experience the real food that fuels and drives a community, however, is to sample the street food." 

       –Chef, Writer, Globe Trotter: Tom Kime

Street food, at its best, wherever you may find it or yourself represents an opportunity to experience an authentic, dynamic cultural reflection.  The social context, the flavors, the exchange between you and the local vendor.  And really it’s also pretty tasty. Often when I travel I seek out these carts, markets and nibbles to learn what’s best about the everyday food of the locals. Replicating them back at home though has often been less than the same experience.

Street FoodExploring the World’s Most Authentic Tastes is a journey for the eyes and mouth.  Written by the globe-trekking and Malta-based, at the Fortina Spa Resort, Tom Kime, I am now no less smitten with what is his second cookbook than I am the man behind the effort. And why isn’t he better know here in the States?  He’s not short on the connections or on abilities.  He has worked at the River Café in London and trained with such celebrated chefs as Rick Stein in England and David Thompson and Peter Doyle in Australia.   And if you catered the Thai-inspired wedding feast of Jamie Oliver, cooked for Mick Jagger, Sam Neill and Kirstin Dunst well. Also it appears from recent news reports that he is now based in Sydney.  Lucky them. 

The book is a compact size and filled with personal accounts from visiting 14 countries in Asia, South and Central America, Northern Africa and the Middle East.   With nearly 90 recipes ranging from Picarones from Peru (sweet potato and pumpkin doughnuts); cipolle d’invero e pancetta alla griglia from Sicily (grilled scallions wrapped in pancetta). I’m particularly keen on the recipe for the Afghani flat bread, Bolani as the technique and recipe are from Billal Sidiq of East West Gourmet who sells at the San Rafael nad Oakland Farmer’s Market .  There’s plenty of photos, and the recipes are simply-stated but use ingredients that are authentically of the place. If you have traveled this is a good one to relive the tastes of the trip in your home.

Neatly organized overall I appreciated the glossary, and the menus sections will get anyone headed in the right direction for a picnic, bbq or cozy meal in. The Recipe Navigator section is brilliant.  Organized into sections such as "finger food", "hot wok and smoking grill" (which sounds like Guy Ritchie film!) and "best in a bowl."   

Click to recipe for spiced roast almonds.

This little cookbook is perfect for the wandering heart in the world kitchen.

Link:  How to Eat Street Food without Runining Your Trip ITravelport/India)


Spiced roast almonds of Damascus, Syria

3 tbsp sunflower oil

1 1/2 cups whole blanched almonds

1 tsp gorund cumin

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground chili powder

1/2 cup brown sugar

juice of 1/2 lemon

salt and freshly gound black pepper

Preheat the oven to 300F.  Heat a heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil, almonds, cumin, cinnamon, chili powder, and two thirds of the brown sugar.  Toss the nuts in the sugar to coat throughly.  Continue to saute until the nuts are caramelized and the sugar has melted. Stir in the lemon juice and remove from the heat.

Transfer the nuts to a bowl, and season well with salt and pepper, stirring to mix. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, just to let them dry out. Sprinkle with the remaining brown sugar to taste.

Serve warm or at room temperature. They will keep in a clean, dry airtight container for a couple of weeks without spoiling.