Media Review: Asia Street Food by Heike & Stephan Leistner

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Today’s media review is about asia street food by Heike & Stefan Leistner (ISBN: 978-3862448050). This book was published in September 2015 by Christian Verlag, Munich. This book is in German language, comprises 224 pages and 300 colour photographs. It costs 24,99 EUR and is available in the German bookselling trade and on Amazon.

Asia Street Food

Cover Asia Street Food (photo: ©Christian Verlag / Heike Leistner)

Cover Asia Street Food (photo: ©Christian Verlag / Heike Leistner)

The book asia street food combines a cookbook with a (culinary) journey of discovery through the Southeast Asian countries Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar. Hence, the authors Heike & Stephan Leistner present 70 authentic street food recipes from these countries, thus inviting the reader to try these special recipes at home.

Since 2004, the authors have been travelling regularly to Southeast Asia collecting wonderful streetfood recipes. Heike Leistner is a passionate food and travel photographer and Stephan Leistner is a cook and author. Thus, in 2011 the couple also launched their website asiastreetfood.com in order to make Asian streetfood recipes known in the German-speaking world.

Rice noodle soup with chicken from Vietnam (photo: ©Christian Verlag / Heike Leistner)

Rice noodle soup with chicken from Vietnam (photo: ©Christian Verlag / Heike Leistner)

The book starts with an introduction and a brief history and background of streetfood in Asia. The first chapter is about Vietnam. Thus, the authors first introduce Vietnamese cuisine poiting out its specialities. A very prominent and well-known dish in Vietnamese cuisine is the Pho Bo. Hence, there is a recipe for this kind of noodle soup with beef. Other specialities are different kinds of spring rolls, like for example springrolls with tumeric and banh mi which is a kind of Vietnamese sandwich. In addition, the authors introduce prominent cities of Vietnam like Hanoi and Saigon and also present a family restaurant from Phu Quoc.

Spring rolls with tumeric from Vietnam (photo: ©Christian Verlag / Heike Leistner)

Spring rolls with tumeric from Vietnam (photo: ©Christian Verlag / Heike Leistner)

The second chapter deals with Cambodia and begins with an introduction of the characteristics of Cambodian cuisine. A first recipe the authors present is mango salad with fish. Other prominent recipes in Cambodian streetcuisine are fish and rice soup and the Khmer baguette. In-between the recipes, the authors present important Cambodian cities like Phnom Penh and Battambang.

Mango salad with fish from Cambodia (photo: ©Christian Verlag / Heike Leistner)

Mango salad with fish from Cambodia (photo: ©Christian Verlag / Heike Leistner)

The next chapter is about Laos and starts off with an introduction about Laotian cuisine, the history of the county and its specialities. This is followed by popular recipes from Laotian streetcuisine, among them for instance fish curry with Lao whiskey. In this chapter, the authors also present a section about ‘sticky rice’ and how it is prepared as well as an informative section about the use of lime and its different kinds.

Fish curry with Lao whiskey from Laos (photo: ©Christian Verlag / Heike Leistner)

Fish curry with Lao whiskey from Laos (photo: ©Christian Verlag / Heike Leistner)

The fourth chapter is about Thailand and begins with introducing Thai cuisine emphasizing its regional cuisines and their characteristics. Thus, the presented recipes come from the different regions of Thailand. For instance, there is curry noodle soup and sausage from Northern Thailand, fried chicken from Isaan but also classic recipes found throughout the country like Pad Thai, Som Tam and Tom Yum. In the sections in-between the recipes, the authors deal with different topics like monasteries and night markets in Chaing Mai, the cultivation of rice, floating markets, curry shops, streetfood in Bangkok, usage of the coconut & Bangkok in general.

Pad Thai from Thailand (photo:©Christian Verlag / Heike Leistner)

Pad Thai from Thailand, a popular street food (photo:©Christian Verlag / Heike Leistner)

The last chapter deals with the cuisine of Myanmar. It starts with an introduction and then presents the most popular streetfood recipes like Burmese noodle soup (mohinga), chicken curry, noodlesalad & the Burmese milk tea, for example. The sections in-between are about popular cities in Myanmar like Yangoon and Bagan.

Shan noodle salad from Myanmar (photo:©Christian Verlag / Heike Leistner)

Shan noodle salad from Myanmar (photo:©Christian Verlag / Heike Leistner)

Finally, I think that asia street food by Heike and Stephan Leistner is a well-made book that offers more than a simple cookbook. Indeed, it is an invitation for a journey of discovery. What catches the reader’s eye immediately are the numerous and colourful photographs. In short, I find the book appealingly illustrated. I particularly like that the authors also introduce and present some streetfood vendors. Thus, I can recommend this book to all those who love Southeast Asia and its multifaceted cuisine.

Yours, Sirinya

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