How does one review a book written by the legendary cook, Anthony Bourdain? World Travel is co-authored by Bourdain's longtime friend and assistant/lieutenant, Laurie Woolever. It's also written by his friends who love and cherish him very much in his lifetime.
Let me share some parts of the book that I truly appreciate: The verbatim text in blue ink from Bourdain himself, and how the book reads like a food guide—countries are sorted in alphabetical order. There are addresses of places Bourdain raves about, but make no mistake—this book is far more than just another food guide.
It tells stories of people who hustle, people who cook, or both. If you've read his previous books, this will be familiar to you—classic Bourdain, and deeply introspective. He understands people as much as he understands food in his understated manner—to him, food is all about human connection; never about the Michelin stars. Former U.S. President Barack Obama says it best when he sat down for a $6.00 bun cha meal on the sidewalk in Vietnam: “He taught us about food—but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown”.
When it comes to Singapore: “New York may be the city that never sleeps, but Singapore’s the city that never stops eating. [...] Singapore’s probably the best place you can go for a maximum bang in a minimum period of time”. This straight-up warms the cockles of this Singaporean heart. He's right—we do love our food.
As I finish the last pages and close the book, I get the feeling that our world is now poorer without this legendary cook.