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on September 19, 2016
Jodi Ettenberg's blog is a great guide, and this book is the same. In fact, I used some of these tips even when eating out in Austin, TX, to find excellent local eats, as well as in foreign countries. I recently realized I am dairy- and gluten-intolerant, so her advice has been helpful in that regard as well. Highly recommended, and a quick, easy read.
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on March 29, 2016
Jodi Ettenberg isn't the best writer, but I have to admit that this is one of the best handbooks for travelers with goals aiming at south-east Asia street food. Ettenberg provides many good sources, safety tips, and useful links along with fun, quirky stories. There are a few misspellings on the names of the Vietnamese dishes; otherwise, I'd give this handbook a 5 stars rating.
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on June 30, 2016
I love Jodi's blog but I didn't feel like the book added much above that.
If you haven't read her blog then I would recommend, especially if you want an offline kindle version while on the road!
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on November 17, 2012
The Food Traveler's Handbook is a guide for people traveling to far-flung corners of the globe and understand that there are real people, living real lives in these other countries. There is more to be had than tourist hubs, hotels, and pre-packaged corporate restaurants. The old adage about dive bars is approriate:

"In a true dive bar, you're worried about getting stabbed. In a "dive-themed" bar, you likely want to stab everyone else."

The Handbook is largely about 3 things:

-Good food
-Cheap food
-Getting the two above safely

The book is born from the desires of former corporate lawyer, Jodi Ettenberg, to explore the world through the canvas of food. Jodi left the world of Big Law in order to pursue her hunger for world travel; chronicling her experiences at Legal Nomads for the past 4 years.

As noted above, Handbook is mostly about good, cheap food. Jodi points out what most food lover's already know: very often the best food is not found in nice restaurants. Personally, I've always referred to this as "shack theory." If you're in an out-of-the-way area and come upon a ramshackle looking place serving food-but the parking lot is full-you should probably stop and eat there. People aren't there for the location. Or the decor. Or that it's somewhere cool to be. They're there for the food.

Jodi lays out how to explore new countries and cultures in pursuit of flavorful, local cuisine. Handbook lays out why cheap is often better, and gives good information on how to find and bond with local food lovers. Jodi has been solo for most of her traveling so also brings to bear lots of nuances and tips that only an experienced traveler would have when it comes to safely going off the beaten path in search of food.

But what sets Handbook apart-what makes it compelling-is the telling of the tale. Anyone can give such simple advice: Eat good, cheap food. People understand that, it's straightforward. Big deal. Who needs an entire book about it?

But very rarely does simple, straightforward advice compel people to action. It doesn't win hearts and minds. People gloss over it, are indifferent They've heard it all before. To catch people's attention you need a hook-a tale to tell-and Jodi has them in spades. Throughout Handbook, Jodie interweaves her own experiences in China, Malaysia, Russia (and more) into the book, creating a compelling narrative of exploration that makes the reader want to embark on their own culinary adventures. Handbook makes the reader want to do something. This is the highest form of persuasive writing.

It's a good thing that Jodi left corporate law because such a talent would be a waste there - but not here. Telling a story that motivates people to action is difficult thing and it's a pleasure to see it in action when you come across it.

If you want to learn how to explore a foreign food culture, I can't imagine a better choice.
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on March 6, 2013
"If you are taking a long bus or boat ride in a developing country, bring a bag of oranges."

That's from Jodi Ettenberg's section on "Breaking the Ice with Locals". It's wonderful advice -- not just what to do and where to go, but how to do it. It's the kind of delightful, practical advice you'll get from The Food Traveler's Handbook. The sentence packs a couple of great assumptions: that one might be traveling in a developing country; that one might not be poolside at the resort, but instead on a long bus or boat ride to...anywhere. And that's right where Jodi wants you: exploring, with locals, in search of great, inexpensive, authentic local food -- and how food can help you along the way.

The Food Traveler's Handbook is a delightful little information-packed guide to eating well in amazing places -- Asia, Africa, South America, but also Europe and North America, too. I've been lucky enough to travel to dozens of developing countries and found myself smiling at Jodi's expert advice and observations. And while I've never been afraid to explore in any country I've visited, I now wish I had had Jodi's book with me for some of my own travels.

If you ever plan to explore in search of food, read this book and put Jodi's advice to use. Also, as I write this, Jodi is on a long travel and food adventure in Vietnam -- you can follow along with her on Twitter and Instagram (@legalnomads). t
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on January 20, 2016
a great resource for adventurous eaters! lots of tips i wouldn't have thought of for eating your way around the world.
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on October 29, 2012
Jodi Ettenberg has written a comprehensive guide 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. Her fun and engaging writing style has also carried over into this guidebook.

While it is a guide, this is not your usual guidebook. 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 telling you what to do, Jodi relates many of the food travel tips through her own personal travel experiences. Just be warned - reading these tales might make you want to get on the next flight out of town and start eating your way around the world.

The guide is filled with practical advice on how to make food and eating an enriching part of the travel experience. Whether it be by visiting local markets, venturing out beyond the so called safe tourist restaurants and trying out the street food vendors (street eats), and selecting food items to take home as a souvenir. The book 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 which 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.
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on November 29, 2012
Can you discover the world through food? And can food actually help connect people around the globe? Jodi Ettenberg poses these questions in her new book, The Food Traveler's Handbook, and to me the answer to both is a resounding yes! First and foremost, Ettenberg's writing and photography -- both in this excellent book and via her blog Legal Nomads-- accomplishes goal #1 of the food and travel genre: it makes me hungry and ready to hop on an airplane to embark on my own food-themed journey!

Building off the notion that even the simplest of foods has a story, Ettenberg shares her own tales of gastronomic discovery around the globe -- not as an "I know it all" guru, but in easygoing "come along for the ride" fashion. Throughout her journeys, she demystifies "scary" street food, teaches us how evaluate a food's safety, and offers insights about where to find the best and most authentic samples.

More than just a travelogue, the book contains a plethora of lists and tips that are arranged in easy to navigate bits, including sections on getting over your food fears, staying healthy, dealing with allergies and dietary restrictions, local customs and etiquette (i.e. "In Jordan, you will continue to get coffee refills when drinking with Bedouin - until you shake your cup"), pre-trip research and packing tips, helpful apps and websites, and more.

The photography throughout is fantastic and helps to elevate street food to the level of art. My only complaint about the book is that I wish she included more of her photos, so I'm hoping for a Volume 2!

There's something beautiful about "watching and learning from a tiny plastic chair" (to quote Jodi) that allows us to get a handle on a place and its people that we otherwise might miss in more upscale dining situations. If your goal as a traveler is to experience more than just the facade of a destination that's often presented to the casual tourist, this book will surely be a worthwhile companion and handy tool! Highly recommended!
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on April 6, 2013
Until I stumbled upon Jodi Ettenberg's accounts of her adventures, I'd never given much consideration to food while traveling. It was generally my last consideration of any given travel day-more an inconvenience that interrupted my adventure. Usually, I ate en route to my next destination, with little thought for what I was eating, its history or the social aspects of taking a meal in a foreign country.

Then I read The Food Traveler's Handbook. Part practical guidebook, part food lover's diary; reading the Food Traveler's Handbook is like having a lively conversation with a friend over a great meal on the road. From stories around meal based connections with locals, to advice on food and travel safety, Jodi provides a practical and entertaining travel guide that reminds us that food is not only for sustenance, but a means by which to connect with local people and experience new cultures.

The book contains not only great tips on how to eat inexpensively while experiencing the best the countries have to offer, but other practical tips on things like basic travel safety (because of Jodi I now carry a plastic door stop with me when I travel). There's even a guide to local food etiquette that is not only intriguing, (how many people know the proper way to drink coffee in a Bedouin tent?), but useful for blending in with (and not offending) local hosts. Furthermore, for travelers with food allergies, there are tips that make navigating finding food on the road a little bit easier.

Fair warning to readers: this book will not only make you hungry, it will make you want to pack your bags immediately. Because of one picture of a tagine dish in Morocco, the country is now on my list of "must visits", a list that seemed to get longer with every next picture (particularly as Jodi and I appear to share a love of the soups in SE Asia).

I highly recommend this book for both active and aspiring travelers. If you are a veteran, you'll enjoy Jodi's stories and make good use of her food related tips, and if you are an aspiring traveler, this book will give you some practical tips for being on the road, and continue to inspire you to head out the door. Just make sure to go hungry!
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on November 15, 2012
You don't have to be a food-centric person to enjoy The Food Traveler's Handbook. Indeed, Jodi Ettenberg's great achievement for me was that she opened my eyes to an aspect of travel that I had largely overlooked before -- the idea of experiencing a place through its indigenous foods, and specifically, the foods that are actually consumed by the people who live there. Readers learn that doing that is also a great way to meet, and learn from, an area's inhabitants -- something that can be difficult to do if you're in "tourist" mode and only hitting the eateries listed in your guidebook. Ms. Ettenberg also discusses techniques for finding places to discover authentic local cuisine; among her suggestions is to ask your taxi driver where he procured his last meal. These insights will add another dimension to my future travels.

In addition, unexpected by me but quite valuable were the sections on food safety, and health precautions to take when overseas. For example, I'd had no idea that experienced travelers carry their own chopsticks or sporks in order to avoid the risk of poorly washed utensils at a restaurant. Those sections make Ms. Ettenberg's book a resource that I will consult repeatedly when planning future trips. (Also helpful are the many resources at the end of the book -- everything from website URL's for learning international dining etiquette, to a list of recommended readings that relate to the intersection of food and travel.)

Equally as important to my enjoyment of the book was that Ms. Ettenberg writes in an engaging and vivid style that had me enjoying her far-flung adventures in their own right.
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