Travel, Food & Drink

Eat and Explore: Take a Round-the-World Trip with 5 New Cookbooks

The most exciting recipe books not only showcase great food, but take their readers on a journey through taste and place

From China’s biggest city to the wilderness of Australia’s isolated island-state, today’s acclaimed chefs and prominent food writers are giving insight into the culture and cuisine of gastronomically rich destinations. Here, we’ve rounded up the top new cookbooks that not only succeed in transporting you to far-flung pockets of the globe, but also feature original recipes sure to bring a world of flavors to your kitchen.

AUSTRALIA: How Wild Things Are by Analiese Gregory

Chef Analiese Gregory pictured cooking on a beach for one of our top new cookbooks
Chef Analiese Gregory relocated to Tasmania after years of cooking in some of the world’s top restaurants. Her debut cookbook celebrates nature, local produce, and the slow food lifestyle of her new home.

Tasmania, the verdant island off Australia’s south coast, is celebrated for the exceptional produce that’s grown, foraged, and fished in its extraordinary natural environment. And in How Wild Things Are (Hardie Grant), chef Analiese Gregory uses recipes ranging from wakame jam to wallaby tartar with beetroot, radicchio, and pepperberry to highlight the island’s ingredients and how produce can connect you with the great outdoors.

Gregory’s culinary pedigree shines through on every page: she honed her craft in acclaimed restaurants including Mugaritz in Spain and The Ledbury in London, before making the move to Tasmania where she helmed the kitchen of The Franklin. She’s also appeared alongside Gordon Ramsay in his National Geographic series Uncharted and has her own TV series in the works.

When she’s not renovating her 110-year-old farmhouse in the Huon Valley, with plans to open an intimate restaurant there, the chef spends her time foraging, diving, and connecting with the people who dedicate themselves to growing produce on the land. And the results are clear—this, her debut cookbook, is part narrative, part recipe collection, and all homage to Tasmania’s wild landscape and slow food movement.

CHINA: My Shanghai by Betty Liu

Cookbook cover of My Shanghai and a plate of noodles
Inspired by her family and the cuisine that she grew up eating, food writer Betty Liu felt so passionately about this cookbook she wrote it while completing medical school. Image: Betty Liu

In My Shanghai: Recipes and Stories from a City on the Water (HarperDesign), food writer and photographer Betty Liu gives readers a window into the flavors of an ancient cuisine and the diverse culture of a food-oriented city.

Through 100 recipes, a collection of stories, and more than 150 inspiring photographs—all organized by season—Liu takes you on a journey through a year of the Shanghai culinary calendar. And she succeeds in creating not only a cookbook, but also a travelogue and cultural study; going beyond well-known dishes to include recipes that highlight the diversity of the city’s communities, and using seasonally available ingredients from land and sea.

Expect a mix of family recipes, as well as street food favorites and centuries-old specialties, such as Nanjing salted duck (courtesy of Liu’s father-in-law) and Suzhou red-braised pork belly (her grandfather’s dish). You’ll come away with the secret to vibrant creations that reinforce just how influential Chinese cuisine is.

THE MIDDLE EAST: The Arabesque Table by Reem Kassis

Cookbook cover of the Arabesque table and a dish of lamb dumplings
Renowned chef Yotam Ottolenghi raved in his review of The Arabesque Table, noting that it’s “full to the brim with dishes which are rooted in tradition and at the same time creatively (and deliciously!) transcend it.”

The celebrated Palestinian writer and cookbook author, Reem Kassis, has followed her award-winning debut The Palestinian Table with her new title The Arabesque Table (Phaidon). Amounting to 130 recipes, this collection opens up the world of modern Middle Eastern cooking while also celebrating the evolution of Arab cuisine and paying tribute to its cross-cultural history.

In her cookbooks, Kassis weaves historical research and cultural insight into new interpretations of ancient and notably diverse dishes, giving readers a greater understanding of the Arab world in the process. Highlights include traditional dishes such as Makmoora—a chicken, onion, and pine nut pot pie—and modern, globally inspired twists on ingredients like tahini cheesecake. Overall, this book highlights the connection between food, people, and place across the Arab world.

MEXICO: The Food of Oaxaca by Alejandro Ruiz

Cookbook cover of The Food of Oaxaca and image of a cocktail being poured
Chef Alejandro Ruiz celebrates the cuisine of Oaxaca, Mexico, in three parts: covering the classic dishes of the region, the cuisine of the coast, and the food (and cocktails!) served at his restaurant, Casa Oaxaca. Image: Nuria Lagarde

Considered the culinary capital of Mexico, Oaxaca has no better ambassador than Alejandro Ruiz—chef and owner of the acclaimed Casa Oaxaca—who has been credited with the city’s food renaissance and has represented its cuisine across the world. The Food of Oaxaca (Knopf), written in partnership with Carla Altesor and with a foreword by culinary great Enrique Olvera, celebrates both the food and culture of this gastronomically rich Mexican state.

Encompassing ancestral and original recipes, this is one of those rare cookbooks that provides new insight into local traditions while also transporting readers to the region, with recommendations on the best places to eat providing a guide for future travels. The mouthwatering recipes include dishes that Ruiz serves at his restaurant, and range from jicama tacos to Oaxacan chocolate mousse.

ITALY: The New Cucina Italiana by Laura Lazzaroni

The New Cucina Italiana cookbook cover and beautifully decorated dessert dish
In The New Cucina Italiana, Laura Lazzaroni defines an exciting new gastronomic movement, with recipes from top culinary masters who combine quintessentially Italian flavors with a thoughtful, contemporary approach.

Laura Lazzaroni, an award-winning journalist and author, who was also the first editor-in-chief of Food & Wine Italia, has poured her extensive knowledge of Italy‘s gastronomy into one of the best new cookbooks on what to eat, what to cook, and who to know in Italian cuisine today.

Featuring 34 chefs and restaurateurs who reinterpret the Italian classics, The New Cucina Italiana (Rizzoli) highlights a long-coming movement: one that shows reverence for the nation’s great culinary tradition, while rethinking how things are done and rediscovering farming and foraging. A journey from north to south stops by restaurants and farms across the country, and showcases the stories, influences, and ingredients that are informing this new approach to cooking.

With 40 colorfully illustrated recipes—ranging from Niko Romito’s sourdough-potato bread and Juri Chiotti’s hay-infused panna cotta to fried pizza with anchovies and tomatoes by Franco Pepe—you’ll come away feeling inspired (and longing for a trip to Tuscany).

Banner image: A selection of dishes from The Arabesque Table by Reem Kassis, one of a range of new cookbooks taking readers on a culinary trip around the globe