Are you captivated by food shows like I am? When there aren’t any good films showing on television, I always surf the food and travel channels. I seem to gravitate toward food shows that go on the road or travel through exotic places and cultures such as Bizarre Foods, Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, and The Great Food Truck Race. One reason why I don’t tire from watching is the coverage of such diversified foods from the familiar to the unusual. It is just fascinating to observe the creative cooking that abounds in humble surroundings.
One of the shows inspired us to visit some of these diners and dives along the east coast. The entire family of six and a baby went to Philadelphia one Saturday just for the sole purpose of comparing their Philly cheese steak sandwiches. It was fun to taste and compare the differences among them. Although some dishes appear simple in our travels, the layering of flavors and seasonings were interestingly quite complex. My son introduced me to Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches from a dive that was located in the back of a jewelry store, so inconspicuous that you would not be able to find it unless someone took you there. The sandwiches were so good; I went home to duplicate it. After watching the food truck episodes, I wanted to try recreating some of the menu items such as the pork belly hum bao (pork belly “slow braised in soy and mirin topped with a fresh slaw, served on a Chinese steamed bun”) from The Box on Wheels Food Truck from Seattle. For those of us who would like to check out some of the recipes without the traveling, a selection of books in our library will start you on the road.
Beyond the Great Wall: Recipes and Travels in the Other China by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
Eat St.: Recipes from the Tastiest, Messiest, and Most Irrestible Food Trucks by James Cunningham
The Deen Bros. Cookbook: Recipes from the Road  by Jamie Deen and Melissa Clark
Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives: An All-American Road Trip...with Recipes! by Guy Fieri and Ann Volkwein
Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives: The Funky Finds in Flavortown: America's Classic Joints and Killer Comfort Food  by Guy Fieri and Ann Volkwein
More Diners, Drive-ins and Dives: A Drop-Top Culinary Cruise through America's Finest and Funkiest Joints  by Guy Fieri and Ann Volkwein
The Skillet Cookbook: A Street Food Manifesto by Josh Henderson
Food Trucks: Dispatches and Recipes from the Best Kitchens on Wheels by Heather Shouse