What is a Chowhound?

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  • Written By: Diane Goettel
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 18 October 2019
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The term chowhound, which is also sometimes spelled "chow hound", has two meanings that both refer to a person who is a lover of food. One of the meanings refers specifically to a person who eats large quantities of food and is considered to be a glutton. The other meaning refers to a person who simply loves food, especially gourmet and exotic varieties and relishes his or hear eating experiences. The latter meaning does not necessarily imply the the person over eats or eats large quantities, but instead that he eats food of a high quality and is especially appreciative of each meal.

As the term can be used in both a positive manner, referring to a person who is knowledgeable about food and savvy with their dining experiences, and a negative manner, as someone who eats way too much, it must be used carefully. If the term is used without caution, it may offend the person it is used to describe. Synonyms for chowhound are foodie and food fanatic. These two terms are less commonly used with a negative implication and can therefore be used without the same sort of caution that one should use with chowhound.


A food critic may also be referred to, in slang, as a chowhound. As food critics are people who spend a great deal of time tasting different kinds of foods, researching culinary practices and innovative dishes, this term applies perfectly to them. The same is true for food journalists. A few food journalists have even become famous by traveling the world, documenting their culinary experiences abroad, and generally living the life of a chowhound.

A few people who have become famous chowhounds in the world of television are Anthony Bourdain, Adam Richman, and Andrew Zimmern. Anthony Bourdain is famous for writing Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly as well as hosting the television show Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. Bourdain's show takes him all over the world for tastings and adventures. Adam Richman is the host of Man vs. Food, a show which focuses on the culinary treats that the United States have to offer.

Like Bourdain, Andrew Zimmern often goes abroad to host his show Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. He focuses on trying some of the oddest dishes made on the planet. As such, Zimmern has made a name for himself as one of the most daring chowhounds in the world.


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