It's the kind of travel guide that won't appeal to sensitive stomachs averse to dirt, grease and questionable hygiene. Because in Lonely Planet's new list of the world's best street food, there is no foam, architecturally plated dishes -- or plates at all for that matter.
Instead, the first edition of The World's Best Street Food provides gastronomically intrepid travelers with 100 authentic recipes for street food delicacies that will transport readers back to taco carts in Mexico that served the best tacos al pastor, noodle stalls in South East Asia, and octopus balls from Tokyo.
"Street food is the most democratic grub in the world, a place where politician eats alongside peasant, and flavors are unashamedly bold," says food writer Tom Parker Bowles in a forward for the book. "...Lack of native language is unimportant. Communication of pleasure and delight is universal. A smile, or vigorous rubbing of the gut...The only phrase your really need is ‘thank you.'"
Each recipe is accompanied by a brief history and explanation of the food's history, and the best bazaar, hawker or market in the world where the dish can be found.
In addition to the usual suspects -- jerked pork in the Caribbean, tamales from Mexico, or pad thai from Thailand -- the book also includes lesser known, more exotic street foods from countries like Vietnam, Turkey, Egypt, Myanmar, El Salvador and Tunisia.
Recipes include dishes like Masala Dosa from India, Bún Cha from Vietnam, Sabih from Israel and Hungarian Chimney Cake.
In a market research survey released last week, analysts at Mintel found that two-thirds of US respondents named authenticity as the single most important factor when buying or eating international foods.
As consumers become more globalized, well-traveled and food savvy, taste buds are also becoming more sophisticated and are able to make out the difference between Westernized ethnic foods -- softened or diluted for foreign palates -- and the real thing, the report pointed out.
In the US, street eats used to be confined to hot dogs and pretzels but in recent years have experienced a phenomenal transformation with the proliferation of mobile food trucks selling everything from authentic tacos to Korean barbecue at intersections in major urban centers.
British chef and food consultant Tom Kime -- a former Jamie Oliver colleague -- also penned a cookbook that helps travelers relive their experiences abroad with recipes like Chilean seafood empanadas and Moroccan hira bean soup in Street Food: Recreating the World's Most Authentic Tastes.
Carla Diamanti's Street Food: A Culinary Journey Through the Streets of the World also presents photos and recipes of favorite street eats from around the world, from the all-American hot dog to Sicilian arancini, Japanese yakitori and Brazilian Bahia acarajés.
Lonely Planet's The World's Best Street Food releases April 1 and retails for $19.99/€18.95.