The Bourdainification of Food Travel

Interesting article in Soleil Ho’s SF Chronicle column, Bite Curious:

I distance myself from this “cult”. Never been on a “food tour”, no desire to take a cooking class like some tourists like to do. I enjoy doing food research prior to my trips and prefer to ask employees at my lodging to recommend typical local dishes. I always ask them to write down, in the local language, the names of dishes for me to show to the restaurant. Also, I try to avoid places with TripAdvisor stickers by the entrance and/or places where you see more tourists than locals. In some towns there are simply very few options so obviously I have to change plans and adapt.

Happy to say I have eaten unpretentious “authentic” food and cheaply in much of my travels (been to both ends of this planet and 40 countries between them).

I took this photo in Hokkaido

And in Seoul. I made the face invisible, it’s Ramsey. Can’t stand him.

A popular Pho restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam. Only locals back in 2004/5. Here we were, eating steamy bowls of Pho (cost next to nothing) on the pavement with North Vietnamese grannies at the next table.

Best meal I had in Korea was at this simple fish market restaurant in Busan. The meal was most simple but I enjoyed it more than all other meals.

The meal I mentioned above. 3 years ago KRW5000 was about 4,50 euros. And today’s exchange rate: 3,80 euros for this lovely and nutritious meal.

Roaster by the entrance to the market in the Albanian capital. Albanians are glad to see tourists as they don’t have so many there.

And yes I ate the whole sheep’s head by myself. The roasting spits in photo above.

Baja Sur, fish/scallop/prawn tacos on the pavement


And Bourdain himself. It’s not the Vietnam I remember.


Great photos - thanks!

@Presunto WOW!! :slight_smile: We happened into this very same restaurant and enjoyed a simple breakfast last year. You picture totally clicked.

Loved it!


What I like . Is sometimes you don’t have to travel a great distance for a food adventure. It just might take looking back over your shoulder of where you are.

Yes, that is so true. There are local gems. As food enthusiasts, it’s fun to track them down!


True, especially need to do before the places are discovered by some critics, youtubers or bloggers, then they will be too crowded. Although some places are kept as secret by food enthusiasts.

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We like to eat good cooking, but we’re not close to being foodies in the sense of pursuing ingredients and chefs at every turn to check off on some bucket list. We think you can learn a lot about all cultures from their meals and markets, because shopping, cooking, and eating are part of everyday life, regardless whether food is the focus of your business or personal interests. All that said, “Bourdainification” has played a role in making travel plans, because we find that the three-star tables, hawker stalls, etc. he’s written about or shown on camera turn out to be as reported. And Guinness is good (as were the Les Halles pommes frites although it was highly unlikely he was expediting that evening).


I happen to appreciate “food tours” in that I have been able to visit s few spots in a city where I would not have found on my own. Fascinated ceiling frescos in a Bologna bar, the house vermut somewhere in Barcelona, and poking around a cheese factory in Parma are some memorable experiences. Joining a short tour was enjoyable, and I didn’t have to do any of the driving!

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