We're all sick of boring travel advice, right? "Don't just go to the big chain restaurants you have at home," and "Explore the city and find out where the locals eat" are well-worn lines. So you're saying I shouldn't just eat at McDonald's the whole time I'm in Paris? Gee, thanks! You sure saved my vacation.
Well, Anthony Bourdain is a travel writer who is never boring, and he just gave some restaurant-finding advice that is unlike anything I've heard in my entire adult life.
In a recent interview with Time's Megan Leonhardt, Bourdain shared a travel tip he called "provoking nerd fury," and it's utterly wild, in a brilliant sort of way. Basically, he says that one of the best ways to find great, out-of-the-way restaurants in foreign countries is to become a secret internet troll.
When looking for destination restaurants on a big trip, most people might do some googling and wind up on a review site like Yelp or TripAdvisor. But Anthony Bourdain says he doesn't trust review sites like that, because you can never tell what a reviewer's criteria are. A person who wants bright lights and friendly service and a person who wants a gritty dive will never give five stars to the same place.
So instead of going to a review site, Anthony Bourdain suggests pranking foodie sites.
To follow Bourdain's "provoking nerd fury" system, first figure out where you're going to travel, then head to an internet forum or comments section full of food geeks. Then, write a post saying that you just got back from wherever it is you're planning on going, and that you had the best meal in your life at a certain restaurant. This is all a lie. You haven't been to the city yet, and the restaurant is just a random place whose name you found on Yelp. It doesn't matter what restaurant you choose, because the goal is to whip the rest of the site's users into a frothing rage at your own wrongness.
"The torrent of informative abuse that will come your way from people who want to tell you how stupid, witless, and uninformed you are will be very instructive," Bourdain explained. "It will, of course, mention the tiny little place, the tiny little trattoria ristorante that they experienced."
If a lot of the "nerds" recommend the same place, go there, Bourdain says.
This … this is brilliant. It might be kind of evil, and will certainly involve getting snarked at and talked down to for days, but I was a moderator on a large internet forum for several years, and this definitely sounds like something that would work. If you ask for recommendations, most people can't be bothered. If you attempt to demonstrate knowledge and are wrong, however, people will fall all over themselves to correct you.
Of course, if you do not like being yelled at by strangers, this trick is not for you. I suggested it to my extraordinarily laid-back, easygoing husband who has a big trip coming up next month, and he was horrified.
"Of all the wild stuff that Anthony Bourdain is willing to eat, the hatred of the internet might be the one I can't stomach," he said.
I hate being yelled at by strangers too, but it might be worth it to find the best cacio e pepe in Rome.
What do you think of Anthony Bourdain's restaurant tip?