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A Cook's Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  22,932 ratings  ·  1,148 reviews
From the star of No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain's New York Times-bestselling chronicle of travelling the world in search the globe's greatest cuilnary adventures

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 qu
Paperback, 277 pages
Published November 5th 2002 by HarperCollins ECCO (first published 2001)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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"Dear Anthony,

This is awkward because I am married and you are dead, but... I think I'm in love with you. I guess developing a posthumous crush is a tad creepy, but hey, no one ever called me normal. Besides, I know you wouldn't have given me the time of day: I eat too much vegetarian food for things to have ever worked out between us. But damn, man, you were truly one of a kind. I've been reading your books and watching old episodes of your shows on Netflix; it breaks my heart a little bit ever
Jun 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Patricia Pham
Jul 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sep 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Goals for my life:

1) Write better

2) Cook better

3) Travel more

Redefined goal for life:


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,
Jul 11, 2008 rated it liked it
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
I enjoyed this a lot more than Kitchen Confidential, primarily because Anthony Bourdain allows himself to fade into the background in several chapters of the book. I loved his descriptions of meals across the world, and almost every single chapter made me hungry and/or made me laugh out loud. There's a pig roast in Portugal, a market in Vietnam, taco stands in Oaxaca, vodka-soaked dinners in Russia and sake-soaked dinners in Japan.

Bourdain has a true gift for writing about food and about meals.
Apr 08, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Karen Foster
Dec 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-club-reads
Book Club Read.... Loved this travel memoir so much.... Anthony Bourdain's writing captures a precarious balance of cynicism and true wonder that's very hard to achieve. His genuine passion for good food and good people leaps off the page, as he revels in the simplicities of tradition and family in the places he explores. My mouth watered, my feet itched and I laughed my arse off. This book really spoke my language... Off now to binge watch the accompanying tv show, now streaming on Hulu...and c ...more
My Goodreads account is not keeping up with my books currently reading. I started this on Saturday (December 9th) and finished it yesterday.

Anthony Bourdain is always a good read to me. I really loved his first memoir, Kitchen Confidential. I think due to what is going on in the U.S. right now, I have been reading a lot of cooking memoirs the past few weeks. There is something wonderful about reading about other cultures and their love of food. And I have tried to recreate some menus (did not a
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel, food
I read this in the wake of my lament on hearing of the author’s death. His posthumously aired episode on Berlin on CNN was something of a minor masterpiece and makes me want to pack up and mover there.

His short chapter on Gordon Ramsey totally turned my opinion around about that guy, at least until I see him again on TV.

Part of Bourdain’s shtick is to bust on all things vegetarian, but his screed in this book is sort of childish and lacks something that is infused in almost everything he writes
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
Jan 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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,
Mar 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
La Petite Américaine Cash App: $Covid2020sucks
When I picked up this book on my most recent trip to the States, I thought I'd randomly found a charming new read at the bookstore. I had no idea that the author was already famous, that I'd actually eaten in his restaurant in New York several times when I was living there, and have actually caught some of his shows on the Travel Channel.

That said, Anthony Bourdain gets paid to travel around the world eating, getting drunk, and writing about his experiences. Lucky, lucky, lucky bastard. He has m
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I really hoped this would be something more - more interesting, more grabbing, more unputdownable. Unfortunately, it didn't quite work for me this way. I mean, there are some good fragments (about food), and some less good fragments (oh noes the European Union is destroying food in Europe / the vegans are destroying all of us). But underlying all of this, there is the unavoidable truth that Bourdain was already suffering from depression (and possibly other mental health problems) at the time of ...more
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anthony Bourdain passed away this past week. In many ways, his manner of death was shocking -- and in some ways it wasn't. I've been following Bourdain for years, introduced to me (as mentioned in a prior review of Kitchen Confidential) by a chef-boyfriend of mine, though I have no ties to food myself. Not even as a home cook. Not even as someone who can call themselves a foodie. But Bourdain has a way of touching you whether food is your thing or not because his focus always went past the food: ...more
4.5. Loved this! Anthony Bourdain is just so good and waxing poetic about food and I just ate it right up...pun intended. Added two more travel bucket list items from this book as well :)
Charlie Bray
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Vividly captures the cuisine and soul of each place he stops. Almost more of a survey of humanity than of food.
Dec 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bourdain Fans. Travel and foodie people.
I am an enthusiastic fan of Bourdain's CNN series, "Parts Unknown". I also liked his Food Channel series, "No Reservations" even though the production values weren't as good as they are on CNN.

This book is a narrative of his search for the perfect meal with the Food Channel folks tagging along. I don't think it a spoiler to say the search was both successful and unsuccessful. To understand why this is so, the reader needs to get to the last few pages of the book.

The biggest surprise for me was t
Jun 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
I thoroughly enjoyed this book to begin with, where Bourdain opens on the philosophy that the very best meals in one's life are largely dependent on context more so than the food itself. On his quest to find 'the perfect meal', I loved his food adventure stories as explored through this lens. I think this element kind of dropped off throughout the book, though, with a few chapters feeling almost like forced inclusions based on the TV show itinerary. That said, the behind-the-scenes insights into ...more
May 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was such a fun, surprisingly educational read. I found myself learning a lot about each country, a sort of tongue-in-cheek collection of anthropological vignettes (each chapter is a new country). Each line drips with sarcasm, arrogance and self-deprecation, a funny combination that embodies Bourdain well. Written very honestly (and crudely), I enjoyed seeing someone as seasoned and calloused as Bourdain explore the world with a genuine sense of wonder. I was impressed by the level of respec ...more
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
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Actual rating: 3.75 stars

For me, the "global adventures" parts of this book were more engaging than the "extreme cuisines". Don't get me wrong. I never saw Anthony Bourdain cook, but it's obvious that the man's an expert when it came to eating and cooking. I think it's because I'm more passionate about traveling than cooking/eating that I ended up wavering between excitement and boredom while reading this book. Even though I appreciated Bourdain's brutally frank and detailed way of describing th
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If this book were cheesecake, it would weigh about 25 pounds. It was only 274 pages, but it read like it was 500. Part of what drove that is having seen so much of Bourdain on TV and being so familiar with his snark, his mannerisms, his catch-phases, his favorite haunts (that he revealed), and his close chef friends that every time one of them appeared in the book, the scene (or entire episode) was brought to mind. This book carries the weight of much of Bourdain's career along with it, but wond ...more
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I will always cross-post Anthony Bourdain on my “social studies” shelf. His ability to so humbly enter a totally foreign culture and be impressed by how they are surviving and thriving and creating is unmatched. His ferocious intelligence is palpable on every page. He was our best ambassador so many places, and he will be so sorely missed.

This was released just before or just after 9/11, and I am so curious. I wonder how his experience traveling changed after that.
Daniel Eastman
Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Here we see shades of what would come from Bourdain. While Kitchen Confidential is a culinary memoir, A Cook’s Tour is very much a travelogue that happens to use food as a plot device. These stories move between fun, playful experiences in the pubs of England to the introspective epiphanic that his mission to travel the world on his stomach is ultimately superficial and shallow in the face of napalm victims in Vietnam. Bourdain and his experiences, his reflections, are still the main subjects of ...more
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Anthony Bourdain was the author of the novels Bone in the Throat and Gone Bamboo, in addition to the mega-bestsellers Kitchen Confidential and A Cook’s Tour.

His work has appeared in The New York Times and The New Yorker, and he was a contributing authority for Food Arts magazine. He was the host of the popular Emmy and Peabody Award winning television show Parts Unknown.

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