Garlicky Smashed Cucumber Pickles

GARLICKY SMASHED CUCUMBER PICKLES Tsukemono MAKES 2 CUPS Pickles are everyday food in much of Asian cuisine—especially in Japan, where nary a meal goes by without them. This dish comes together in minutes once the cucumbers are briefly bathed in a brine of salt, vinegar, and garlic (but of course they can be pickled for […]

Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

TAIWANESE BEEF NOODLE SOUP Niu Ro Mian SERVES 6 TO 8 If there is a national dish for Taiwan, it is beef noodle soup, which is found everywhere from night markets to traditional dining halls. At beef noodle soup shops, the vendors tend to their enormous cauldrons with great affection, as if raising a child. […]

Chinese-Muslim Lamb Burgers

CHINESE-MUSLIM LAMB BURGERS  Rou Jia Mo SERVES 5 TO 6 Think of rou jia mo as the Chinese equivalent of a hamburger—one that features the distinctive flavors of the street foods favored by one of China’s oldest ethnic and religious minorities. In the Muslim quarters of Beijing, and in other Muslim-concentrated parts of China such […]

Japanese Pancakes

JAPANESE PANCAKES Okonomiyaki MAKES 2 LARGE PANCAKES, SERVES 4 This savory Japanese pancake varies from home to home, or shop to shop, and meal to meal. This is not surprising, since the dish was originally developed to make use of leftovers. Okonomi means “what you like” and yaki means “grilled,” so okonomiyaki is—naturally—“grilled as you […]

Festive Thai Leaf Wraps

FESTIVE THAI LEAF WRAPS Miang Kham MAKES 20 TO 30 SMALL BITES, ENOUGH FOR A PARTY OF 6 TO 8 A beautifully wrapped Thai snack bursting with savory-sweet-sour- spicy flavors, miang kham embodies much of what I love about the spirit of Thai food, which often transforms humble ingredients into magical feasts. If this recipe, […]

Isaan-Style Pork

ISSAN-STYLE PORK LAAB SERVES 4 TO 6 AS AN APPETIZER, OR 8 TO 10 AS AN HORS D’OEUVRE Recipes for laab, a minced meat dish, vary greatly from region to region all across Thailand. I’ve highlighted a style characteristic of Issan, a northeastern region where the people are primarily ethnic Lao and Khmer and cook […]

Dan Dan Noodles

DANDAN NOODLES SERVES 4 AS A MEAL, OR 6 AS A SNACK  The Chinese word dandan derives from the name of the pole that street vendors traditionally carried over their shoulders while hawking bowls of noodles to pedestrians. The pole had a basket on either end— one to hold the noodles and the other for […]

Grilled Chicken Tsukune Sausage

GRILLED CHICKEN TSUKUNE SAUSAGE MAKES 12 SKEWERS Closet-size yakitori stalls (so small and casual that you might eat standing up) are part of the fabric of Japanese street food life. There you can order stick after stick of skewered chicken parts, including this tsukune sausage. Yakitori literally means “grilled chicken,” and in yakitori chicken culture, […]

Beef Satay

BEEF SATAY MAKES 32 SKEWERS, SERVES ABOUT 8 AS AN APPETIZER To me, the perfect street eat is something that you can hold in one hand, and meat-on-a-stick, or satay, certainly fits the bill. Though you’ll find a variety of meats in night markets (lamb is popular in Beijing, while offal like chicken hearts and […]

Hot and Sour Soup

HOT AND SOUR SOUP Suan La Tong SERVES 4 TO 6 Hot and sour soups are popular throughout Asia—from the “sour soups” (canh chua) of Vietnam to the tom yum of Thailand. However, thanks to Chinese restaurants, you can find a Westernized version of this soup (and an egg roll!) almost everywhere, best enjoyed with […]