Words by Joanna Fuertes; Illustration by Natasha Phang-Lee
Bourdain hardly started the combination of food and travel in writing. This is a combo that has roots going back probably centuries. In my own time there was, for example, Gourmet Magazine that was known for mixing the two, and it first published in 1941. The Time-Life Foods of the World series of books was published in the early 1970's. Those are just two with which I happen to be familiar. People who are attracted to food are also typically attracted to other cultures and places, and it has been so for a long time. No doubt the expansion of "foodie-ism" we have seen in recent times owes a lot to the expansion of communication channels, of which Bourdain certainly was a brilliant practitioner, but he was just a recent example of a long tradition.
This is a great article.
I spent much of it wondering if it was me she was talking about, which is always a good sign. I'm not sure it is, but I have definitely met those people.
Either way, this article is about the pursuit of authenticity and the meaning of it. Which is always a vexed question in the food world.
Somehow a maharaja mac is a less authentic experience than a pav bhaji.
In the UK the lines of authenticity are much messier. I am the kind of person who stops and asks tourists if they need help. And often someone wants to eat "real British food." What to say? Do I direct them towards Jellied eels and pie and mash? In a way, Pret a Manger is much more authentic...