I have been meaning to introduce a travel book review section here at Nomadic Notes for some time, so without further procrastination, I introduce: Travel Book Reviews.
With this series, I intend to highlight travel fiction, travel memoirs, useful guidebooks, and books related to the digital nomadic/location-independent lifestyle. I am starting off this series with a book from a friend and fellow nomad, Jodi Ettenberg.
The Food Traveler’s Handbook by Jodi Ettenberg
The Food Traveler’s Handbook is a travel guide that focuses on how to find cheap and delicious food safely anywhere in the world.
If you are familiar with Jodi’s personal travel site, Legal Nomads, you will soon realise that food is a big part of her travels. Readers of Legal Nomads will be happy to know that her personal narrative style is carried over into the book as well, and her writing has not been guidebookafied.
While it is technically a guide, the book is infused with Jodi’s voice which makes for a refreshing break from the usual dry and anonymous guidebook format. Rather than just dishing out advice (see what I did there), Jodi relates many of the food travel tips through her own personal experiences on the road. It is in these vignettes we are shown how a humble meal can be turned into a memorable travel occasion.
The handbook is filled with practical, actionable advice on how to make the most of your travel by making food a part of the experience. Whether it be by visiting local markets, venturing out beyond the “safe” tourist restaurants and trying out the street food vendors (street eats), and selecting food items to take home as a souvenir.
A sample of topics covered include:
Watching and Learning from a Tiny Plastic Chair (travellers to Southeast Asia will understand this reference).
Discovering the World through Food.
Why Focus on Food When You Travel?
Foods Connect People around the World.
Local Cheap Eateries Are Not as Scary as they Seem.
Food Customs and Quirky Food Etiquette.
Breaking the Ice with Locals.
The book also covers practical considerations like how to travel if you have allergies (Jodi writes with personal experience, having Celiac Disease), if you are a vegetarian, or if you fall ill. There is also a comprehensive resources section that covers recommended mobile apps and websites.
The Food Traveler’s Handbook has made me reassess how I view food and travel, and I recommend this book for beginners and veteran travellers alike.