For as much as I appreciate Lonely Planet, let’s face it: wherever you go, Lonely Planet in hand, you have a 90% chance of running into a group of slightly confused American backpackers glancing up from the same coffee-stained page you’re glancing up from.
Guidebooks, after awhile, come to feel like the same hackneyed advice about cultural differences, accompanied by maps of the familiar international geography of hostels and bars offering cheap cuba libres.
So I wonder, what alternative systems of navigation exist out there? Why not navigate by flavor, by dish, by ingredient: enduring, edible traditions?
The following are a series of alternative guidebooks: travel cookbooks. Each acts as a guide not just to food and cooking, but to a particular place, its history, its peoples. Each illuminates an aspect of culture so fundamental it merits a lot more than the requisite subheading—“Where to Eat?”