Susan Feniger has been tasting street food from her various travels for years. From India to Turkey to Vietnam, she’s been inspired by the cuisines of so many countries. In her new cookbook, Susan Feniger’s Street Food: Irresistibly Crispy, Creamy, Crunchy, Spicy, Sticky, Sweet Recipes, Susan shares 83 of her favorite street food recipes with home cooks.
We asked Susan (one of our food idols) to answer some of our questions about street food and her new cookbook. Check out her answers below!
1. We love the book! What inspired you to write it?
My love of street food started when I was in high school. I took my first trip to Europe in 9th grade. I lived with a Dutch family on a farm in Holland. My Dutch sisters and I would ride our bikes into the tiny town nearby, and on the street on Sundays, there was this very old woman frying French fries and serving them in a paper bag with a big dollop of mayonnaise and she’d give us that with a half of lemon! Wow, that was amazing way back then and that’s still how I eat my fries!
Fast forward to my first trip to India over 30 years ago and tasting in Poona, a fermented “urid daal” – (inside of a white bean) pancake with chopped tomatoes, cilantro and chilies. OMG, that was incredible!
I have had the most amazing food on the streets of India, Mexico, and Vietnam. Although all my training was in the French kitchen, my inspiration for food, for people, and for the absolutely inspiring passion, came from walking the streets and eating, talking and learning about life in other countries. For me, the desire to tell these stories through words and food was why I wanted to do this book.
2. What is your favorite recipe in the book, and why?
Ok, that’s so, so not fair!!! I just don’t know if I can pick a favorite, but I’ll try. Here are four of my faves:
1. Tatsutage Fried Chicken with Spicy Yuzu Mayonnaise
2. Coconut Curry Caramel Corn
3. Chilled Soba Noodles with Spicy Orange Sesame and Tofu
4. Lamb Meatballs with Date and Carob Molasses
3. What is the most “out there” thing you have ever eaten?
I don’t pride myself on eating “out there” things, but I guess eating bugs in Mexico is probably the most out there thing I’ve eaten.
There may be many things I have eaten without knowing it, in Vietnam or India, but it’s always interesting flavors that I’m drawn to that I’ve never tasted before. For example my first time eating Curry neem leaf, lime leaves, panden leaves, epasote – these all blew me away. I’d never tasted those kinds of flavors in any kitchen, so those just popped for me, and this many years later, I’m still blown away by how interesting these flavors combined in a dish can be. STILL to this day, many people don’t know these flavor profiles.
4. Do you ever just want to eat some good ole’ Mac and Cheese?
Well Mac and Cheese is not my thing but I do like simple things for sure, like a great steak or burger, or just some simple mashed avocado with goat cheese and evoo. Or a grilled feta cheese sandwich on rye with tomatoes and basil, or potato chips on their own or buttered popcorn!
Recipes From Susan Fenigers Street Food