Chinese StreetSmall Bites, Classic Recipes, and Harrowing Tales Across the Middle Kingdom


One element of Chinese cookery that remains rare throughout the Western world is the most popular style of cuisine across China: street food! Every day, nearly one-fifth of humanity sustains itself on conveniently placed bites and cheap alfresco meals. In China, one’s home is often small, kitchens are cramped, and time is short. So, a walkable nosh on the way to the office, a quick, cheap lunch, or an evening spent hopping from snack stand to snack stand with friends is an everyday occurrence.

Howie Southworth and Greg Matza, best friends and bestselling food authors, have been eating their way through China for over two decades. Soon after their yearly culinary journeys began, they were struck with a delicious addiction: street food! Within this entertainingly narrated cookbook, our dynamic eating duo not only fondly recalls highlights of their fascination with China’s incredible food culture, but they artfully weave in folklore, origin stories, and witty chats with the cooks, vendors, and fellow gastronomes they’ve met along the way. 

Photographed entirely in China, this book beautifully presents small plates from the balmy rice paddies of Yunnan and spicy streets of Sichuan to the frozen tundra of Harbin and the imperial majesty of Beijing. This tale of two foodies is destined to change the way readers view going out for Chinese.

Howie Southworth is a globetrotter, insatiable gastronome, and avid cast-iron cook. Armed with a culinary degree and two hungry sons, he regularly attempts to recreate his favorite dishes from around the world. An educator by day, Howie loves the sizzle of bacon and long walks on the beach. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

Greg Matza grew up in Los Angeles, weaned on a diet that stretched from Iran to the Philippines to El Salvador-all within a couple of miles from his home. Greg is currently the proud parent of an 80,000 BTU propane burner and a collection of very nice potholders. They all live happily in the San Francisco Bay area.

“Street cuisine is ‘quickly changing yet deeply rooted in tradition,’ the authors write, and this is made evident across 10 chapters that combine breezy bits of travel writing and food history with a vast variety of xiao chi, or ‘small eats.’ . . . Augmented with 100 on-location photos, this lively cookbook brings a distant land into deliciously sharp focus.” —Publishers Weekly

“Most recipe collections aren’t entertaining. They tell a story—about the chef, the cuisine, a restaurant or two—then spill the not-so-proverbial beans. Southworth and Matza . . . take readers on a journey into China. We peer inside little towns (like those in rural Yunnan Province) and big—and bigger—cities (Chengdu, Xi’an, and Beijing) and meander through alleyways and little-known streets to find the best bites in China.” —Booklist

“Chinese Street Food is brimming with history, food lore, and recipes that take you on a culinary journey outside of the restaurant and into the streets of regional China. Authentic flavors and techniques explode onto the page in a way that first make you salivate, then motivate to roll up your sleeves and get cooking.” —Chef Lee Anne Wong

“This book is an inspiring culinary atlas of China, an enticing guide to eat your way through China, street by street.” —Martin Yan, Yan Can Cook

“From noodles to steamed buns, traditional dishes and sweets, Chinese Street Food is a true celebration of Chinese cuisine. Howie and Greg’s experiences and travels take you on a tour of Chinese street food stalls and provide a true authenticity these dishes deserve. Peace and Good Eating.” —Chef Ming Tsai

“Howie and Greg have long been my dynamic duo when it comes to introducing the gastronomic splendor of regional Chinese cuisines, complete with juicy and nourishing vignettes from five thousand years of history.” —Laszlo Montgomery, host of The China History Podcast

“Who better to guide us than Howie Southworth and Greg Matza, whose love and excitement brings Chinese street food alive with carefully crafted recipes you can make in your own kitchen?” —Chef Ken Hom, OBE, author and TV presenter

“There is nothing like the sights, sounds, and smells of street food in China! Howie and Greg tap into that electricity and condense it into a book where, with each picture and recipe, my mouth waters and my senses are stirred.” —Megan McCormick, TV presenter, Globe Trekker

“Reading all these stories really takes me back to the amazing trip I took with Howie and Greg. I can’t wait to recreate the spicy crayfish that we enjoyed after visiting the Forbidden City. So good!” —Ray Hechavarria, the guy on page 141