A good story is a good story. Mission Street Food’s then is an amazing one. Imagine if you start out renting a taco truck on Thursdays with the idea to make fine dining sandwiches, with Pork Belly, Jicama & Pickled Jalapenos in Flatbread and pass on all profit to charity. You get a queue because your friends helped you publicise and people wait an hour plus to get half burned bread and then later store bought bread.

Someone then kicks a fuss that you’re selling shit in a carpark in their neighborhood and you are forced to sublet the kitchen of a rundown Chinese restaurant. You expand your menu to include the kind of stuff that you’d find in proper restaurants except you don’t realize that table service is a whole nother ball game and your shitty toilet sucks balls and your dockets are getting wet and you dump the docket system for just cooking everything and hoping you can assuage the crowd who’ve been waiting even longer than the taco truck.

You get some sense of normalcy when experience affords you the luxury but then you decide you’re gonna bring in guest chefs and change your menu every single night. You end up starting a burger joint in a butchery on the side selling Blumenthal inspired shit and help your old kitchen start their own restaurant. You then take over the same old kitchen you had been subletting before and start Mission Chinese Food, where you do various regional Chinese cuisine plus deliveries, release a book on your exploits and you’re still charging stupid cheap prices and donating profits to charity.

Insane. Yes, they had friends. Yes, they had luck. But they did it. Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz deserve awards for having the stupidity/resilience to persevere despite hardship and absurdity to create something with heart, something with character and something that just sounds really goddamn tasty. It’s testament that you have to just do it. Testament to the power of the internet in this day and age and testament that small ideas can become something great.

I finally got the book today after a 2 month wait and I gotta say, it’s straight up one of my favourite cookbooks. There’s not a huge amount of recipes but you can see the basic ideas, the melding of techniques and cuisines and the flavors that sound awesome. I mean, wrapping chicken with fried chicken skin is just… Ridiculous and completely sensible.

There’s a lot of humour, a lot of high/low, a lot of quirkyness, a lot of hipster kitsch and a lot of goodness. The story alone is worth the $30 price of the book. I actually got it for $29.99 shipped to Australia. It’s not El Bulli/Noma/Fat Duck but it’s the kind of thing that makes me feel inspired. To want to try and do something crazy because I know it’s gonna be fucking awesome. Check the vid below, with Danny Bowien, one of the more pivotal characters in the MSF story.

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