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The Food Traveler's Handbook (Traveler's Handbooks) Paperback – October 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"A great resource and enticing companion for anyone who likes to eat and to travel. Jodi's handbook is a reminder that if we stay open to the possibilities, food can be a gateway to expanding our horizons wherever we are."
- Naomi Duguid, James Beard award-winning writer, author of Burma: Rivers of Flavor

"If you're looking to read one book about how to eat out while traveling, this is it.  Jodi understands that it isn't just about the food.  It's also a quest, a chance to create an adventure, a memory, and a connection to the local culture."
- Tyler Cowen, author of An Economist Gets Lunch

Jodi Ettenberg provides a personal and practical road map to understanding the part food plays in cultures and how to better experience those cultures through street-level eats. A bonus: she guides readers in navigating the perils of potentially dicey food, favoring caution instead of fear."
- Spud Hilton, travel editor, San Francisco Chronicle

From the Author

I grew up in a household that was not focused on food. We ate - did we ever! - but spicy foods and creative cooking were not part of my childhood. It was only when I started traveling that I realized how varied foods around the world could be. Each region had a distinct way of cooking and spicing, and a geographic food footprint to call its own. Discovering food by eating it abroad went far beyond the international restaurants I sampled growing up in Montreal and later while working as a lawyer in New York.

I traveled for shorter periods on vacations from my law firm, but I wanted to see more. Once I had saved up enough funds to quit for a year of travel, I left New York to see the world for myself. That one year morphed into two, then three and now almost four-and-a-half years. As I traveled, my journey shifted perceptibly from a focus on places and people, to a focus on those places and people through their food.

When I left New York, I started a website, Legal Nomads, to chronicle my misadventures and keep my friends and family apprised of my whereabouts. Over the years I've been thrilled to see the site grow into its own, with a passionate community of readers who also love to experience the world. And they love their food.

As I continued to focus more and more on the anthropology of what we eat (and why we eat it), the idea of a food book took form. I received emails from worried travelers who wanted to eat at street stalls but feared becoming ill. At the same time, I found myself encouraging others who did not focus on food to use eating as a guide, a way of understanding a new place.

The Food Traveler's Handbook explores both of these sentiments. It addresses why food matters and how travelers can explore the world through the many ingredients we find on our plates. It also tackles very valid safety concerns, from sourcing fresh eats to finding market stalls that serve hygienic meals. The book focuses primarily on cheaper food in developing countries, but its principles and tips can be applied worldwide.

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Product Details

  • Series: Traveler's Handbooks
  • Paperback: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Full Flight Press (October 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0987706160
  • ISBN-13: 978-0987706164
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #702,612 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jodi Ettenberg was born in Montreal and has been eating her way around the world since April 2008. She is also the founder of Legal Nomads (, which chronicles worldwide travel and food adventures. Prior to founding Legal Nomads in 2008, Jodi worked for several years as a corporate lawyer in New York City. She gets the shakes when she goes too long without eating sticky rice.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
I love good food and a great adventure and Jodi has taken those two loves and put together an amazing book that fills both with desire.

Part Bourdain and part Hemingway, she has written a useful guidebook for anyone who wants to travel the world and eat smartly along the way. It is full of advice, lessons learned and suggestions on how to make the most out of your next food adventure anywhere in the world.

The words alone are beautiful, but her photography takes the book to a whole new level. Her eye to capture the moment, colors and surroundings allow you to feel as if you are right there with her along for the journey.

I was sad when this book ended because I could have kept reading more and more. But, I was also filled with excitement to try new food the next time I jumped on a plane!

A must read for anyone who loves food and travel.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By RG on October 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
Jodi Ettenberg's Food Traveler Handbook is an essential companion to every travelling food lover. She delves into the history of food in certain places, the where and how to find it, and most importantly, why you should be adventurous with food when travelling. She emphasizes the relationship food has with culture (sometimes in unexpected ways), and how learning about a country can be so much more in-depth (and more fun) when consuming massive amounts of its yummy treats. Not only that, but she provides valuable tips on being safe, and food habits and customs from around the world. I know I worry about safety when I travel, and would love to try more food but I haven't because I was worried about being sick. Jodi's book gives me a framework to work with and tips to try to appease my worried mind when I travel and eat."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Flinkflonk on January 22, 2013
Format: Paperback
If, as Napoleon wrote, an army marches on its stomach, then a traveler must too travel on her stomach. Indeed, while many of us bring back photos and fond memories of temples, palaces, resorts and the like, it's the discovery of new, exotic and flavourful foods, shared with friends and family that form our most abiding memories. Moreover, many a short trip was ruined by unfortunate food choices; many a long trip around the world has been marred by gastric upset. Food is the great equalizer and too, is the portal through which travelers experience the culture, language and history of a foreign country.

It's with this in mind that I picked up Jodi Ettenberg's new book, "The Food Traveler's Handbook: How to find cheap, safe and delicious food anywhere in the world." Montreal-born and former lawyer who started Legal Nomads, which chronicles her food and travel adventures, Ettenberg shares tips drawn from her years of travel on how to use food to bridge the gap in cultures and bring life to what might otherwise be mundane travel experience.

She writes about her unexpected love affair with food and offers tips on avoiding food-borne illnesses and how to find good eats off the tourist-trap path. For example, she advises readers to slip a cab driver a cough lozenge to break the linguistic and cultural ice and buying a bag of fruit to give to children as a way to start a conversation, including about food.

While it offers useful lists of web links on street food and advisories about food safety, the book is not a travel guide nor is it a cookbook. Written in a breezy, conversational style, The Food Traveler's Handbook instead celebrates an often overlooked facet of travel: the foods and drinks not readily available at home and not prepared in ways that we're used to.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Gilbert on October 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
I've read a lot of travel guides, but this is the first one that addressed what I happen to love the most about travel -- the food. I can't think of anything from Lonely Planet to Frommers to Rough Guides that even scratches the surface of this important travel topic, and after reading this book, it really seems like there should be more written about this! I mean what is the first thing you do when you go somewhere new? You try the local dish.

The Food Traveler's Handbook isn't geared to a specific destination, it's more general advice that you can use to plan your trip anywhere and it covers a lot of things you might not have considered -- like how do you eat street food, like those delicious little meat-on-a-stick dealies you can find all around the world -- but not get sick? Or how do you bring home a food souvenir (one that well get past TSA)?

Other topics:

Planning your trip (What kind of food adventure do you want?)
What to pack (portable chopsticks! Genius and clean!)
Dealing with extreme spice!
Eating cheap (it's often better)
Quirky Food Etiquette and Customs
Looking like a local

I think my favorite part is Jodi Ettenberg's descriptions of food & travel. There's one story from Laos, where she runs into another traveler (a chef) and they end up ordering dinner from this tiny standing-only restaurant in a back alley but end up getting some amazing Laos food, things the tourists don't normally eat. As they are digging in to their meal, the locals notice and they're so impressed they strike up a conversation about the food. It's the kind of travel moment you always want to happen, finding that perfect meal -- and even better if it leads to a spontaneous interaction. The book is peppered with these kinds of stories and that takes it, for me, from being just a guidebook to being a really fascinating read as well.
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