Food is an adventure.

If you want to explore a culture through its food but are worried about getting sick, listen to Jodi Ettenberg’s advice on how to safely navigate the delicious back alleys of street food, anywhere in the world. As Jodi points out, “I’ve not found any other thing in travel that compels locals to want to interact with you as much as enthusiasm for their food… Street food, especially, affords this wonderful scene you get to watch. It’s like slicing open a culture and then sitting and watching it unfold in front of you. It’s really compelling.”

After saving up as a lawyer in New York City, Jodi Ettenberg took a career break to see the world for a year. Five years later, she has yet to return while manifesting what many would consider to be a dream career as a travel writer, eater, speaker, soup expert, and authority in street food at her website, Legal Nomads. Last year, she received just over one million views. I’m thrilled to welcome her on the show to talk about travel and its relationship to career transitions and, of course, street food. There are very few things that excite me more than street food.

Listen to today’s episode and hear Jodi’s best advice about approaching street food safely and through a lens of culture, as well as her best travel advice in today’s lightning round.


“I’ve not found any other thing in travel that compels locals to want to interact with you than enthusiasm for their food… Street food, especially.”

What You’ll Learn:

  • How street food can be the most authentic experience, food as a platform to soak up so much culture.
  • Why street food is arguably safer than restaurant food, and how to identify signals that any food might not be safe.

Jodi’s Best Travel Advice:

  • Taking the First Step: Do sufficient research for your destination, and address the concerns of your family, then book a tour. “There’s nothing shameful about needing structure from someone else before you head off on your own.”
  • Money Saving Tip: Street food goes a long way, and can be as cheap as $1/meal. Check out travel hacking resources, or consider one-way open jaw trips and book budget options, local flights or buses to save on travel.
  • Finding the Best Airfare: Skyscanner, Google Flights to search for flights. Then book directly with airlines. If you book with an aggregator, call up the airline, give them a confirmation number (and try to get your seat).
  • Packing Tips: Jodi hates packing. Hates it! Here’s her resources for packing lists and tips. Also, mail things!
  • Favorite Internet Travel Tool or Resource: Subreddits for Vietnam and Travel. The Week’s 10 Things You Need to Know Today. The Next Draft. Open Culture.
  • Favorite Travel Book: Spice: The History of a Temptation (Vintage)
  • Favorite Travel Gear: Doorstop, to wedge your door closed from the inside, to give you extra peace of mind.
  • Weirdest Food: Chicken Pudding, in Turkey. And here’s an American version.

Links mentioned in this show:

Music Credit: Passion Pit – Moth’s Wings (Artec Remix), Aaron Static – Intrepid Journey

Like the show? I’d love a rating and review!

Take action and please share the show! All you have to do is click one of the social sharing buttons at the top of this post.

Also please leave a rating or review on iTunes! It just takes a second and you can help the show increase its rankings on iTunes just by this simple and quick gesture. If you do, click here to let me know so I can personally thank you!

Thank you so much for your support!

See you next time!

Want the secrets of the most successful travel influencers?

Get the best interviews with the most successful travel influencers in one valuable PDF guide. Learn what makes them successful and more.

Plus, we'll send you a few big surprises 🙂

No spam ever. Unsubscribe in one click. Powered by ConvertKit


I’m a lifelong international traveler, the host of The Travelers podcast, and founder of Holocene, a framework and community for writing the story of your life using travel and creativity.