Reviewed on 20th August 2015

Travel Bites by The Hungry Traveller

Genre: Food and Drink / Memoir / Non-Fiction
Travel Bites by The Hungry Traveller Synopsis

“Travel Bites” is a collection of short stories that criss-cross the globe. It is the first work by The Hungry Traveller who has combined his two great life passions: travelling and eating!
The Hungry Traveller has been travelling for the last fifteen years and, along the way, has experienced many different sights, tastes, smells and cultures. Central to his travel experiences has been the role of food. Through his unique and very personal style of storytelling, you too can share in the highs and the lows of his stories from around the world. At the end of each story is a recipe for a dish inspired by his adventure.

Travel Bites by The Hungry Traveller Review

Warning: Do Not Read If You Are Hungry!

In a slight departure from my usual kind of travel read (I am a BIG travel writing fan), last week I zigzagged my way across the globe courtesy of ‘Travel Bites’ by The Hungry Traveller. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, to start with I was waiting for the ladle loads and second helpings of humour… but they never happened… and initially I felt a little like a deflated souffle. You see, my typically favourite travel book would have the perfect mix of descriptive sightseeing peppered with rollicking gaffes – think Danny Wallace, Dave Gorman and Tony Hawks! However, (a word The Hungry Traveller likes to use in spoonfuls) by the time I reached his third chapter – and fear not, the chapters are small, bite-sized and packed to the rafters with helpful information and mouthwatering depictions – I was hooked. True, it may have had something to do with my love of a good Singapore Sling, but I think I had also started to feel I was getting to know something more of the author’s personality, his no-nonsense approach, sense of adventure and jolly-hockey-sticks-style of getting out there, seeing the world and blending in with the locals. This book is so much more than accounts of viewing a new place as a tourist, it’s about embracing the culture, cuisine and above all, the people.

Travel Bites is the perfect book for the foodie adventurer.
And so in it’s own incomparable way, it stands apart as a genre from the comedy style travel book. Which for me came as a refreshing alternative. The reader is taken on a (sometimes surprisingly boozy) cruise around planet Earth, with plenty of stops at Asian ports of call in particular. And the reader is immediately transported into the culinary memory of The Hungry Traveller’s past 15 years of escapades – whether that’s during his bizarre encounter with Vietnamese locals and their wholly unappetising ‘Drunken Prawns’ (the author’s homespun version at the end of that episode sounds infinitely more appealing!), witnessing the magical beauty of the sunset in Zanzibar against the backdrop of incredibly aromatic spices, or indulging in the simple pleasure of the perfectly crafted piece of Key Lime Pie in the Florida Keys. It’s quite a skill to be able to take somebody from their couch to a completely different land… even with the reader’s children yelling and whining in the background… and ‘Travel Bites’ has definitely succeeded.

Travel Bites is a fabulous cookbook.
My copy is already slotted into my ever growing cookbook shelf. I’ll be making the Spice Island Pilau, Moroccan Mint Tea, Original Singapore Sling (well of course!) and Cambodian Amok Trei for starters… and those will definitely be followed up by the Hungry Traveller’s take on Key Lime Pie – well, any excuse for cake!

Travel Bites by The Hungry Traveller

Travel Bites is full of sunsets.
I don’t think I have ever come across a book with so many exquisite interpretations of sunsets. I want to go to Santorini and watch those cruise passengers file back on board their ship so I could almost have the entire island all to myself as the sun dips, I definitely have to see that Zanzibar sundown in person, and I am curious to experience the utter contrast brought about when the sky is nothing but a black velvety canvass studded with pinpricks of stars in the East African bush…

Travel Bites is informative.
Now I know how to barter in a souk. Now I know that on the island of Lesbos a certain taverna still presents bills to customers in Drachma (shh!). And now I know where the ‘best’ kebab shops are located worldwide… Istanbul is certainly winging its way up to the top of my ‘Bucket List’ and I’m not even a kebab person! This is the thing: The Hungry Traveller has an innate way of making you feel that you really ought to experience everything that he has… just maybe not the weird Dutch couple who wouldn’t party with him in Vietnam. You’ll just have to buy the book to find out how riveting they were… not even the hint of alcohol could liven them up!

Travel Bites is spontaneous.
I challenge anybody to read (or even dip in and out) of this book without getting seriously itchy feet and a sudden penchant to pack their cases (or backpack) and indulge in a joyous outburst of wanderlust. By the time you reach the Philadelphia chapter, you will at the very least be booking your flights to America to reconstruct your own version of ‘A Tale of Two Cheese Steaks’… Unless of course you are a veggie – in which case you’ll be making a beeline for your local Waitrose to get the best quality ingredients to whip yourself up some Vietnamese style spring rolls.

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Travel Bites, by The Hungry Traveller is published by Wattle Publishing.

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