The six best cookbooks for travelers

I like to cook and host dinner parties more than basically anything. And I love to cook food from all over the world – from countries I've lived in (France, Argentina), countries I've visited (Japan), and countries I'm dying to visit (Iran, Korea).

So I wanted to put together a list of my favorite cookbooks that feature international cuisine. This list spans the globe – from Middle Eastern to regional Chinese to French.

With this list, you may notice a few things. First, I prefer cookbooks designed for home cooks. I've found that when restaurant chefs write cookbooks, the recipes often require obscure ingredients and complicated steps. Noooo thanks.

I also tend to buy cookbooks written by bloggers. I often will start following a food blog and love their recipes so much that I end up buying their cookbooks. #fangirl

Persiana: Recipes from the Middle East & beyond

In a nutshell: Persiana draws inspiration from all over the Middle East. I love this cookbook because the recipes are delicious and healthy – it features tons of salads, vegetable-based dishes, and grilled meats. It's a great cookbook for summertime when you want to eat light.

My favorite recipes: Harissa-Marinated Asparagus, Ras el Hanout Chicken Wraps, Chicken, Walnut, and Pomegranate Stew (best dish I've ever made, no joke.)

Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking

In a nutshell: In Every Grain of Rice, Fuchsia Dunlop honors simple Chinese home cooking. Everything I've made from this book has been scrumptious and the steps are fairly easy.

The only caveat? The ingredients can be hard to source – you won't find fermented bean paste at Trader Joe's.

Also fantastic is Fuchsia Dunlop's memoir, Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper, which chronicles her culinary journeys in China.

My favorite recipes: Sichuanese numbing-and-hot beef, spinach in ginger sauce

Saveur: The New Comfort Food – Home Cooking from Around the World

In a nutshell: Out of every cookbook on this list, this is my absolute favorite. Saveur: The New Comfort Food is a cookbook that celebrates comfort food from around the world. This book features everything from Indonesian chicken curry to macaroni and cheese with ham.

Most of the food in this book is rich, making it great for dinner parties. However if you're looking for a cookbook of healthy weeknight meals, this isn't your book.

My favorite recipes: Potatoes Gratin, Frisée Salad with Poached Eggs and Bacon

Maangchi's Real Korean Cooking: Authentic Dishes for the Home Cook

In a nutshell: Emily Kim is the cook behind the fantastic Korean food blog Maangchi as well as the fantastic Korean cookbook Maangchi's Real Korean Cooking.

Though I've never been to Korea, Maangchi's recipes are simple enough for Korean food neophytes like me. Her recipes are simple and rewarding – I'm particularly obsessed with her kimchi stew when it's cold out.

My favorite recipes: Kimchi Stew with Tuna (I use pork instead), Bulgogi

A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse

In a nutshell: Mimi Thorisson, author of A Kitchen in France, is the blogger behind Manger, a blog about living on a farm in the south of France with her handsome Icelandic husband and six children. (Basically all my fantasies rolled into one.)

What makes this book special are the photos – they are absolutely stunning. While her recipes are fairly complicated, they always come out really well. My favorite recipe is her Cherry Clafoutis, which I make every July when black cherries are in season.

My favorite recipe: Cherry Clafoutis (use a real vanilla bean pod!)

Donabe: Classic and Modern Japanese Clay Pot Cooking

In a nutshell: Donabe is all about Japanese clay pot cooking. It turns out that Japanese clay pot cooking is hearty, delicious, and for the most part, healthy.

Out of all the cookbooks on this list, I've used this one least. But when I finally have a kitchen again I will be cooking more from it. Donabe's pork and vegetable miso soup recipe I made was crazy good.

My favorite recipe: Pork and vegetable miso soup

The six best cookbooks for travelers

What is your favorite cookbook? Have you used any of these?

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Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is an American travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Uganda. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Colorado. She's been to forty countries but somehow still gets lost in her home town. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour magazine.
Ashley Fleckenstein
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