Another cookbook this is not, a compendium of food history and stories cover the world by region in extreme detail in the Food Lover’s Guide to the World. From Indonesia’s selamatan, a traditional Javanese feast featuring a parade of dishes from glistening coconut milk curries, pickled vegetables tinted yellow with fresh turmeric, to sticky-rice sweets in every color of the rainbow; Javanese opor ayam, a chicken curry fragrant with cinnamon and coriander; rustic char kuey teow (wok-fried noodles with cockles and shrimp) at night markets in Malaysia; to thick, chewy huaraches (foot-long, handmade tortillas) covered with searing hot arból chilli salsa and a tangle of sautéed cactus at street stalls in Mexico City, this book covers it all. Armchair and active travelers alike will delight in each section’s can’t-miss lineup of unique food festivals annually scheduled across the globe.
Beyond ingredients and dishes, you’ll also learn about the interplay of cultures that ultimately defined these flavor combinations. Like how invading armies from Turkey, Afghanistan and Persia introduced roast meat, fragrant casseroles and sweetmeats alongside the Quran and the onion dome. In the west, Burmese conquerors brought seafood stews and hot and sour soups from Southeast Asia. Traders, warlords and refugees from China and Tibet trekked in dumplings, noodles, and introduced stir-fry from over the Himalayan ridge.
The massive size and depth of Food Lovers’ Guide to the World makes no apologies to those with marginal interest in culinary wonders. The sheer detail and vivid full page photos serve as a reminder of the ways books can still be more enjoyably immersive than browsing blogs or skimming tripadvisor.
Coverage results from reading a review copy