Oh my god, Anthony Bourdain just completely cracked me up when he recently wrote about the best way to get great food advice. Rather than just researching the internet and the multiple blogs, forums, and travel guides, Bourdain suggests the following, using the example of how to find the best laksa (the Malaysian noodle soup):
[V]isit some foodie websites. Egullet’s Asia/Pacific board would be an appropriate first choice here. Oozing certainty, begin a thread titled ‘Best Laksa in Malaysia!!’ describing your ‘recent experience at the perfect, off-the-beaten-track laksa joint in Kuala Lumpur’.
Proudly insist that it’s The Best – better than any other place you tried. Be sure to misspell a few words – maybe even get an ingredient wrong.
Now stand back and watch the fun. Outraged, indignant food bloggers from the U.S., Malaysia, and Singapore who’ve dedicated their lives to chronicling their adventures in laksa – photographing ever order, violently arguing about their choices with other bloggers and journos – will seize on you and your post like enraged seagulls, conveniently disgorging their own experiences at ‘far superior’ and ‘much more authentic’ places in their rush to prove you an ignorant bob.
Many will provide colourful descriptions, lavish details of ambience, menus, links to other websites and blogs – and helpful photographs.
In an appropriately chastened response, defer to their greater wisdom, and be sure to ask for addresses.
Bourdain gets it. He may abhor those of us who write about food, we who are so obsessed with it that we are compelled to sacrifice income-generating opportunities to preach about the latest use of agar, but Bourdain has finally figured out how to completely manipulate us. We are nothing but Bourdain’s pawns, and it’s only now that we’ve been let in on the secret.
I feel so cheap.