A Cook's Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines
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A Cook's Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  13,773 ratings  ·  730 reviews
The only thing "gonzo gastronome" and internationally bestselling author Anthony Bourdain loves as much as cooking is traveling. Inspired by the question, "What would be the perfect meal?," Tony sets out on a quest for his culinary holy grail, and in the process turns the notion of "perfection" inside out. From California to Cambodia, A Cooks' Tour chronicles the unpredict...more
Paperback, 277 pages
Published November 5th 2002 by HarperCollins ECCO (first published 2001)
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The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanKitchen Confidential by Anthony BourdainAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara KingsolverFast Food Nation by Eric SchlosserIn Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Food-Related Non-Fiction
18th out of 641 books — 1,216 voters
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafónLife of Pi by Yann MartelAtonement by Ian McEwanAmerican Gods by Neil GaimanJohn Adams by David McCullough
Best Books of 2001
27th out of 295 books — 140 voters


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Leela
Jun 12, 2007 Leela rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: gourmets, travelers, adventurers, and adventurous vegetarians
After fourteen years of contented vegetarianism, it takes a lot to make me want to try roasted lamb testicles. I could almost stop writing here: the book is that good. Bourdain's attitude is part of his charm. I'm not sure I'd want to work in his kitchen, but he writes a damn good story. From one end of the earth to the other, he and his faithful camera crew take on whatever is local, exotic, beloved, and edible. Then he eats it. The way this man writes about food is incredible--last time someon...more
Travis
Now, I love Anthony Bourdain. He's basically full of shit and insane, but honest enough to be aware of it.
He's smug, cynical, occasionally snobby and has all the tact of hammer to the forehead.

At the same time he's very aware that he's stumbled into a job most people would kill for, he's getting paid to eat good food and travel anywhere he wants in the world. Someone is paying him to go live out his boyhood dreams and fantasies.
He also loves going places, meeting people and food. He has a soft r...more
Kim
Anthony Bourdain's second book has him traveling the globe looking for the "perfect" meal. Visiting locales like France, Portugal, Morocco, Japan, Cambodia and Vietnam, as well as a little bit of his home country, Bourdain's goal is to try true, authentic, fresh food and not be afraid to join in and eat like the locals. No matter what their speciality is. Lamb testicles in Morocco, the beating heart of a cobra in Vietnam, haggis in Scotland, nattō in Japan. He's willing (though sometimes underst...more
RandomAnthony
Kim says I have a man crush on Anthony Bourdain.

So what’s a man crush?

My favorite urban dictionary definition of the term reads:

Respect, admiration and idolization of another man. Non-sexual. Celebrities, athletes and rock stars are often the object of the man crush.

Let’s see. Do I have a man crush on Anthony Bourdain by that definition? Let’s frame the question around my recent reading of A Cook’s Tour.

This is Bourdain’s second, book, after Kitchen Confidential. The title is a “double dip”, a...more
Patricia Pham
Bourdain - a privileged, hypocritical, crude bastard - manages to write prose that is intriguing, funny, and surprisingly poetic. I began the book as a critic of Bourdain, having just read KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL, which I found to be shallow and boring at best, and also having watched his show NO RESERVATIONS, which often leaves a bad taste in my mouth for several reasons. Despite all this, there has always been something in Bourdain's writing that has kept me coming back. After reading this book,...more
Hannah Eiseman-Renyard
He's Still Got It - and Now He's On the Road

If you loved Kitchen Confidential Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, then imagine all that again, with some incredible travel writing (ie even more exotic delicacies, and the occasional threat of death) chucked in for good measure.

Also wonderful are the behind the scenes story about filming Bourdain's show (Reasons You Don't Want to Work in Television, sections 1, 2 and 3)

There's something magical and infectious about letting someone, anyone, tal...more
Richard
I can't figure what holds me back about his book. I love Anthony Bourdain's attitude about food and his philosophy about what makes a great meal. I love his desire for absolutely fresh food, right off the bleeding stick or never touching a refrigerator, and I admire the distinctions he makes about how food looks and how it tastes--my wife is one who cannot get over the appearance of food and lets it affect her enjoyment of it, while I don't care how food looks, but simply want good-tasting stuff...more
Rob
Although he occasionally comes across as a Jeremy Clarkson of food, all bombastic arrogance and impatient with anything that infringes his right to do what he likes, I am rather fond of eating, so Anthony Bourdain's pesrpctive is one I largely share, even if his playful likening of vegetarians to the hezbollah is something of a one angled view.

In particular, he has no time at all for the lily-livered, western-centric tendency towards fussiness - if it's there to be guzzled, be it the still beati...more
MacK
Goals for my life:

1) Write better

2) Cook better

3) Travel more

Redefined goal for life:

BE LIKE ANTHONY BOURDAIN.

I've listened through this book twice now, and I've loved it both times. In every case there's a new discovery to be had, a new element to enjoy, a new allusion to catch. Bourdain's voice doing the narration, a comforting mix of professor with a smoking habit and friendly guy at the bar, is perfect--naturally because it's his voice reading his words.

The meandering journeys through Asia,...more
Daniel Jr.
As someone who grew up poor, ate cheap, salty stuff out of boxes and cans (powdered milk was a staple of my childhood), and never traveled, I'm a culinary dilettante at best and likely always will be. Much of the insider foodie stuff is over my head if not interesting and often fascinating. But like all quest narratives, Bourdain's--under the guise of a quest for the elusive "perfect meal"--is a quest for identity. And the guy can write. At his best, he's as good as any of the too-many memoirist...more
Nancy
I love Anthony Bourdain. He can be as irreverent and hilarious as someone like Jon Stewart. At other times he is thought provoking and almost shall we say, profound? This book is a quick read and a must if you are a fan of his television show No Reservations. Sometimes you salivate as he describes a meal (especially his particular favorites, that include dead pig) At other times I found myself skimming the page not really wanting to know just how nasty and vile the stuff was! The thought of bird...more
Chris
Dear Anthony Bourdain.

I do not know who you are, and since picking up this book I have no interest in finding out any more about you either. You are a pompous, whiny, brat who spends 260 pages taking the attention off some truly incredible places and foods and onto yourself. I cannot put into words how much I dislike you moaning so profusely about a TV show you signed up for, and who funded your travels around the world.

Thankfully there is a small amount of the book which is well written. You al...more
Mike Panic
I'm a fan of Anthony Bourdain's books in audio format, I find the way he reads a really nice compliment to the book. Yesterday I knew I'd have a long day of driving and sure enough logged 430 miles. This book had been saved on my iPhone for a while in audio format and figured I'd listen to it all.

If you're a loyal watcher of No Reservations you'll relate to many of the stories, as they are recaps of what happened on the show. There's also the typical rants about vegans, and some rather nice wor...more
tea_for_two
I was hesitant about A Cook's Tour. I thought someone who was as self-professed a egomaniac as Bourdain would be insufferable to read about, and my suspicious were not eased when my little brother, who had read the book, waxed on about how much he loved Bourdain's pleasure-seeking hedonistic lifestyle. My brother, God love him, is kinda insufferable.

I was, howerver, pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the book. Bourdain is an excellent writer. His prose is crisp and clear, and he does an...more
bethanne
Mar 03, 2010 bethanne rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who loves "no reservations"
Shelves: read-in-2010
I was anxious to pick up "A Cook's Tour" after having a BLAST reading "kitchen confidential" and man, this book does NOT disappoint!

Based on the former food network TV series, "A Cook's Tour" follows Anthony as he travels all over the world in search of the "perfect" meal. Along the way, shenanigans and adventures are to be had as Anthony travels the globe. The book is written in the same style as "Kitchen Confidential", but as if he's going on a whirlwind tour of the world.

If you're a fan of "...more
Robyn
I expected to enjoy this much more than I did. Since I have watched No Reservations off and on for years, and watched some of A Cook's Tour years ago; and because I just finished Kitchen Confidential and liked it much more than I thought I would, I figured this book would be an automatic hit with me. Unfortunately, no. It was just ok. I did enjoy reading a chapter, then going to YouTube and watching the Cook's Tour episode that went along with it. I think I got a better sense of what was outside...more
Pat
I'm an unabashed Tony Bourdain fan, love his brain and P.o.V on just about everything (although there are things the man eats that I would NEVER, in a million years, even if I was starving to death, put in my mouth) and Cook's Tour is, I think his first book (or an early on in any case). It chronicles the beginning of Tony's running-around-the-world-eating-cool-stuff adventures, and most of the book is broken down into short sections by place, i.e. this five pages is about Vietnam, this really h...more
Sesana
Before No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain did a short-lived series with much the same premise for the Food Network. There was an actual plot, of sorts: the search for the perfect meal. From reading the book, it seems like he gave up on that as impossible idea early on and just enjoyed himself. From the show? The fact that it was on Food Network explains very neatly why the show hasn't seen the light of day in years and this book is the one and only exposure most people will have to it.

Anthony Bou...more
Beth
I really like Bourdain's witty, yet irreverent style of narration on his show No Reservations. I have to say though, I prefer the writing he does on his show more than his writing for his books. I'm one who likes to throw in big, polysyllabic words into my writing, but not so much that people feel like they have to read it with a dictionary propped up next to them. That's how I feel when I'm reading Bourdain's writing. While I love his humor, sometimes I think he could turn down the literary eli...more
Zannah
As a lover of food and travel, it was wonderful to curl up with this quick read. The often irreverant Bourdain tames his tongue just enough to satisfy the reader with the edge they expect, but his deep respect for food and the people who create masterful dishes is the real pull. With equal parts sarcastic wit, mouth-watering descriptions of exotic, yet simple dishes and poignant, respectful observations of diverse cultures, I found this a refreshing diversion from his other books. There are part...more
Aishe
Anthony Bourdain is a lot of fun to read and to watch on television. A lot of the stories in this book I already knew from rented DVDs of "A Cook's Tour" from the public library, but I still hung on every word. As a writer and traveler, Bourdain offers a great deal of insight and reflection, as well as humor. He fully acknowledges his position as a Westerner traveling the world on the Network's dime, and is conscious of his otherness, his consumption of not only food but culture, as he "goes bam...more
Tiffany
I distinctly remember waking up one morning in a cold sweat, jerked out of a nightmare where Tony Bourdain was coming to dinner. That's right, I had a nightmare about a chef. Bourdain's sardonic wit and flair for the absurd come through strongly in "A Cook's Tour," but I couldn't help feeling that something was missing. I haven't read his first book, but this one had the sophomore feel to it. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this book, frequently laughing out loud at Bourdain's misadventures throug...more
Bonnie E.
This is way more than just a book about food. The author takes us to different places around the globe and no matter whether it's Cambodia, Portugal or Napa Valley, strap on your seat belt because it's quite a ride! Bourdain is eccentric in the truest and best sense and I enjoyed reading about the foods he ate, the people he encountered, the situations he handled (or not). and his reactions to all of the above. It combines a few of my favorite subjects: adventure, food, and travel, and the autho...more
Winston
Shout out to Britt for getting me this book. Unlike Dumbledore, all I ever want as a present is a good book.

I read this book entirely in Bourdain's voice. His writing style really lends itself to that reading; if you've ever seen his show, it has the same pattern as his narration. As such, it includes a lot of commas and run on sentences. This occasionally gets annoying; but generally leads to really amazing descriptions of food and places; modeling the feeling of overwhelming your senses to new...more
Ron
The rather snarky companion book to his TV series, where he goes around the world eating unusual stuff. A highly personal view of world cuisines.
He rather likes Vietnam cookery, even the cobra heart and blood and meat that he ate at the end, to "get very , very strong." (He didn't find the tripe edible.)
He has several chapters on Vietnam, suggesting that he went there, then went of to Europe, then went back, went to Mexico, and then went back to Vietnam. A rather inefficient itinerary, but some...more
Colleen
I have to admit a guilty pleasure in reading this book. The author is definitely a little crude, so be forewarned. Mr. Bourdain is a famous TV chef who travels around the world to exotic places, trying out the local food -- some of it very good and some of it very bad. He travels to Cambodia, Vietnam, France, Scotland etc... He watches the whole process of butchering a pig in France and he eats the still beating heart of a cobra in Vietnam! Read at your own risk, I did.
Adam
I don't get the Kitchen Confidential thing cause I came to Bourdain way late, via the later episodes of No Reservations and his brilliant CNN show (what?) Parts Unknown. On TV, Bourdain gets to deliver what he calls, justifiably and accurately, essays on places he visits and the food there. It is almost impossible to explain to people who haven't seen these shows what is remarkable about them. So what, they say. The guy travels from place to place and eats and puts the footage on TV. But there h...more
Andi
Sep 19, 2007 Andi rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: foodies
Shelves: memoir
I have to say, this book is much better than Kitchen Confidential. While I enjoyed KC very much, A Cook's Tour is a poetically written, passionate, and always snarky ponderance of food. Tony outdoes himself with this one. Highly recommended.
Amy Murray
Here's what I love about Anthony Bourdain: he's a complete smartass, and looking at him, you'd NEVER know he's an articulate, well-traveled chef who truly knows his stuff. I loved this book because his writing took me to places I'll probably never go...and made items like sheep intestines seem at least somewhat palatable.
Purplepaperreader
Bourdain has a great writing style for someone who can call author a secondary profession. A nice mix of travel and food, Bourdain who is obviously highly accomplished in the kitchen adds enough detail to be interesting to the layperson without getting stuck in minutia and detail.

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Anthony Bourdain is the author of the novels Bone in the Throat and Gone Bamboo, in addition to the megabestsellers Kitchen Confidential and A Cook’s Tour.
His work has appeared in the New York Times and the New Yorker, and he is a contributing authority for Food Arts magazine. He is the host of the popular television show No Reservations.
More about Anthony Bourdain...
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook: Stategies, Recipes, and Techniques of Classic Bistro Cooking No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach

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“They're professionals at this in Russia, so no matter how many Jell-O shots or Jager shooters you might have downed at college mixers, no matter how good a drinker you might think you are, don't forget that the Russians - any Russian - can drink you under the table.” 84 likes
“The journey is part of the experience - an expression of the seriousness of one's intent. One doesn't take the A train to Mecca.” 59 likes
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