This week's "Street Food" episode of No Reservations was kind of phoned in. The only new footage was of Anthony Bourdain wandering around New York City eating a hot dog and pondering aloud -- the other scenes were cut from previous episodes. Rather than being presented regionally, the food was divided into five categories. Since jokes are only funny once, instead of recapping we'll review the categories and try to place some Houston food into them.
A child's introduction to mystery meat is through the hot dog, and that is where Bourdain begins - the water dogs of NYC. He then proceeds through several meals of offal and big boiling pots of eyeballs and ears to a much more ghastly place. In Vietnam, Tony samples something referred to only as "squeezel." The only reassurance he has is that it's not endangered.
In his worship of elemental fire, Tony eats Jamaican jerk chicken grilled in the 55-gallon drum and smoky chicken from a Vietnamese curbside habachi.
In Houston's homage to fire, we also grill meat. And when cowboys did it, it may actually have been street food.
Eating perhaps the only vegetables in this episode, Bourdain goggles a handmade blue corn tortilla with spinach and zucchini flowers.
Houstonians also appreciate their handmade corn products.
"Food on the Go"
Cursing the food that is served to passengers of commercial airplanes, Bourdain shows us what we could have if only someone would put in a little effort. In W. Bengal, he goes on a boat ride, where the fresh fish and curry is cooked atop the engine. American Airlines just doesn't have these resources. On the train to Calcutta, vendors sell fresh pickled cucumbers and puffed rice with condiments like coconut and chiles.
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We don't travel much by boat or train in Houston, but we do have food you can't wait to get home to eat. Maybe a Droubi's falafel sandwich unwrapped at a stoplight and devoured gradually down the freeway?
"A Bowl of Something Good"
In Peru, a toothless woman commands Bourdain to sit down and try the hearty cabbage and potato soup she is eating. A coward, he consents. In Malaysia, he is put before hot laksa, a soup he claims is better characterized as gravy, thick with coconut milk, shrimp and eggs, hot and delicious.
Houston has pho and it has wonton, but does anyone know where to get laksa?