Book Review: Lonely Planet’s Food Lover’s Guide to the World

Food Lover’s Guide to the World is the most impressive book I own. I didn’t bring too many hardcover books from Korea anyway, and I haven’t unpacked any of them. Even if I had, I don’t think they’d be this nice. This is a beautifully done book with great photography (including some full-page photos), 50 recipes, and an overview of some of the quintessential dishes in 14 countries and 9 regions.

Countries that get their own chapter: China, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, USA. Regions include: Australia & New Zealand, The British isles, The Caribbean, Eastern Europe, Latin America, The Middle East, Northern Europe (Olde Hansa in Tallinn for example), Southeast Asia, & the subcontinent (Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Tibet). Then there are sections on global food: Jewish dishes, coffee, cheese, Africa, best food markets, and a few more. So you’ll get read descriptions of some representative dishes from much of the world.

This book is no travel guide though – I’d say it’s best on your coffee table impressing company and there for you to flip through once in a while when you feel like reading about Kobe beef or looking at the sweet pictures. It might give you a travel idea here and there, especially the “where to eat” sections that recommend (sometimes) specific restaurants. I consider myself an expert on South Korea for example, and the restaurant recommendations they make there are really good. So you might decide to make a trip to one of the suggested restaurants a part or even a focal point of a travel itinerary.

But you won’t find and sort of travel plans – this book is mostly here to introduce you to some of the word’s cuisines; it will only be somewhat helpful if you’re actually going to travel and experience the food.

So for example, the book mentions Seoul’s Tosokchon Samgyetang (samgyetang is rice, chicken, and ginseng soup though you score points by using the Korean insam instead of the Japanese ginseng). They give you the area but no address or directions. They tell you the line can get pretty long but not that groups of 12 or more can make reservations. But the impressive thing to me is that they really did find the best restaurant to recommend for samgyetang. Makes me miss living in Korea actually.

So the content is strong; the pictures are stronger and you’ll get some ideas for good food on your travels.

With a recommended price of 39.99, getting it for around $23 seems like a pretty good value to me. I haven’t shopped around so I don’t know if this is the best price you’ll find though.

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