• Truth Love and Clean Cutlery Giveaway. Chef Mork Mengly’s version of teuk kroeung, a traditional curry-like Cambodian dish served with fermented rice noodles and small grilled fish, at Pou restaurant, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Copyright © 2018 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Truth Love and Clean Cutlery Giveaway – Win the New Guide to Good Restaurants

Our Truth Love and Clean Cutlery Giveaway will see two winners receive copies of this gorgeous new guidebook to the world’s truly exemplary, organic, sustainable, and ethical restaurants. To win: tell us how you decide where to eat and whether a restaurant is ‘good’ or not impacts your decision.

I’m so excited about this Truth Love and Clean Cutlery giveaway and if you’re a regular reader you will know why. A couple of months ago I told you about a new book I’d been working on with 57 food editors from around the globe called Truth Love and Clean Cutlery. 

Truth Love and Clean Cutlery is a new series of dining guides for Australia, UK, USA, and the World, showcasing 1,250 restaurants from 45 countries. I worked on the World edition as Asia editor, selecting 59 Southeast Asia restaurants in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The guidebooks are aimed at helping food lovers decide where to eat in the world, based not on whether a restaurant is the best of anything, but based on how good the restaurant is.

What does it mean for a restaurant to be good? Is the restaurant ethical, sustainable and eco-friendly? Have they banned single use plastics from their kitchen? Are they working hard to reduce waste? Are they recycling? Are they using chemical-free / organic produce? Are they supporting small local farmers and growers? Are they only using sustainable seafood? Are they giving back to the local community? Do they treat their staff well and pay them properly? Do they care about their customers as much as they care about prettying up their plates?

So I’m excited to tell you that not only will the World Edition of Truth Love and Clean Cutlery that I worked on be released very soon, in early November, but that I have two copies to give away to two readers, wherever you may be on the planet.

This is what the book looks like:

Truth Love and Clean Cutlery Giveaway

How to Enter to Win this New Guide to Good Restaurants

To enter this Truth Love and Clean Cutlery giveaway to win a copy of this very special book, all you need to do is answer these two questions in the comments at the end of this post, and it can be as brief or in as much detail as you want:

1. How do you decide which restaurants to eat at?

Recommendation from friends or family? Restaurant review in a newspaper, magazine, website, or blog? Guidebook listing? TripAdvisor? Instagram? Or other?

2. Is it important to you that a restaurant is ‘good’?

By ‘good’, we mean… does it matter if the restaurant is using fresh, local, seasonal, sustainable produce (rather than importing everything), and that their produce is chemical-free or organic?

Is it important to you that the restaurant is eco-friendly, that they have banned single-use plastics, that they are recycling, that they are conserving resources, and that they are reducing kitchen waste?

Do you care whether the restaurant is growing their own produce and supporting small local farmers, growers, foragers, and fishermen, local suppliers, local winemakers, and local ceramicists, designers, artists, and florists?

Does it matter that the restaurant is making an effort to use sustainable seafood and ethically caught seafood, that the boats that caught your fish aren’t manned by crew who have been human trafficked?

Is it important to know that the restaurant is giving back to the local community, that they are training disadvantaged young people, that they’re supporting local charities or environmental movements, participating in clean-up days, or feeding the homeless and hungry?

Does it matter that the restaurant treats their staff well, that they are paid properly, that they are treated fairly and with kindness, and are not subject to harassment?

Do you care about how the restaurant treats its customers, that they are kind, that their needs are catered for, whether they are vegetarian or vegan or whether are dining with their children, and that the chef doesn’t yell at diners who disagree with him?

Do any or all of those things matter when you are deciding where you’re going to eat?

Tell us what you think in the Comments at the end of this post and you could win a copy of Truth Love and Clean Cutlery.

Here’s another look at the book…

How We’ll Choose the 2 Winners of the Truth Love and Clean Cutlery Giveaway

The two people who give us the best answers will win a book each. As simple as that.

Myself and my amazing editor, Katrina, will read all the comments and decide who the winners of our Truth Love and Clean Cutlery giveaway are purely based on your answers, below. If we can’t decide, I’ll pull Terence in to help. No complicated rules here.

Your comments do not need to be long, a couple of sentences or one paragraph is enough, unless you want to tell us more.

We’re just looking for insights that reveal how you decide where to eat and whether the criteria that we think is important in selecting restaurants is important to you. That’s all.

So to summaries: to be eligible to win a copy of the World Edition in this Truth Love and Clean Cutlery Giveaway all you have to do is tell us in the comments below:
1) how you choose the restaurants where you’re going to eat, and
2) is it important to you how ‘good’ restaurants are when you’re making your decision?

Our Truth Love and Clean Cutlery Giveaway closes at 5pm on 30 November, 2018, when a decision will be made. We’ll contact the winners directly to get their postal addresses and Katrina will send the books out. Wouldn’t it be nice to get your copy by Christmas? You could even give your prize away as a gift to a restaurant-loving friend.

Truth Love and Clean Cutlery Giveaway – More Information

Truth Love and Clean Cutlery is the title of a new series of dining guides for Australia, UK, USA, and the World by New Zealand publishers Geoff Blackwell and Ruth Hobday of Blackwell & Ruth, whose books have sold 30 million copies in 40 countries. Inspired by social issues, equality, environmental conservation, food security, and humanitarians (their authors have included Nobel laureates Desmond Tutu and the late Nelson Mandela), Blackwell and Ruth have contributed over $4 million to non-profits and a percentage of profits from sales of these books will also go to charities.

Where to Buy the Truth Love & Clean Cutlery Books

If you don’t win a book in our Truth Love & Clean Cutlery giveaway, the books will be released in November 2018 and distributed to good bookshops, gift shops and design stores around the world by Abrams Books and Thames & Hudson.

You can also buy the Truth Love & Clean Cutlery books online at Amazon.

Important: when you are writing your comment, please make sure you provide your email address so we can contact you when you complete the comment form. This should be left when you are completing your comment not included in the comment box.

Pictured above: image by Terence Carter of a dish at Pou Restaurant & Bar, one of a handful of Siem Reap restaurants using almost 100% local produce that also draw on traditional practices such as foraging, preservation and fermentation to elevate Cambodian cuisine. 

End of Article


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2018-11-24T11:21:12+00:00By |

About the Author:

A travel and food writer who has experienced over 70 countries and written for Australian Gourmet Traveller, Feast, Delicious, The Guardian, National Geographic Traveller, Wanderlust, Get Lost, Travel+Leisure Asia, DestinAsian, The Independent, The Telegraph, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, AFAR, Four Seasons Magazine, Fah Thai, Sawasdee, and more, as well as authored some 40 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, DK, Footprint, Rough Guides, Thomas Cook, and AA Guides.


  1. Cathie Carpio October 25, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    I wish the answer is as straightforward as “I mostly rely on recommendations from trusted friends and blogs, and my instincts,” but deciding a restaurant is a conscious process (especially if I have time planning ahead) that requires a bit of reflection. First, Instagram is helpful in getting a sense of what’s new and what’s trending, but I actually use it to identify restaurants to avoid. For instance, if posts look sponsored or if a restaurant gets a sudden buzz out of nowhere because influencers post about it, it’s a great indication to avoid that restaurant. So, social media can be useful in filtering out which restaurants to avoid. Second, in destinations in which not a lot has been written about where to eat, say Kampot, there is not a lot of planning that can be done. I was there and found how much outdated blog posts and guidebook listings about Kampot. So, in few cases when there’s virtually no reliable information, one’s instincts would be more functional. Third, familiarity of a cuisine also complicates decision making since if one is knowledgeable about a cuisine, the process gets more deliberate because benchmarking very much doable if you pretty much know the front and back of a cuisine. Fourth, your instincts will also tell if a restaurant will be good based on the track record of a chef or sometimes a restaurant group. Most of the time, past performance is indicative of future performance. Ultimately, there are a lot of factors that come into play when deciding where to eat (again, when there’s time), especially these days when F&B is continuously growing.

    I value ethical consumerism, which also applies when dining out. The most exciting restaurants are those who are creative enough to use local and sustainably-sourced ingredients and are more conscious of their environmental footprint. I found that excellent chefs in Manila have close ties with their suppliers, farmers, fishermen, and other external contacts that allow their restaurants to thrive. I would rather pay premium knowing that a chef-owner did not cut corners by abusing its bargaining power over suppliers or treating its staff poorly. This whole journey towards sustainability and eco-friendly approach on food also benefits cuisines (like Filipino cuisine) since the most creative chefs would source out even almost forgotten ingredients or they become eager to make the simplest ingredients shine. However, the tricky thing in assessing the “goodness” of a restaurant is prioritisation of factors since it may do well in sustainability but is absolutely a disgrace when it comes to treating staff. Of course, a good aspiration is to be ethical on all fronts while delivering excellent food and service.

    Even if this wasn’t a giveaway, I would still comment. It’s about time we talk beyond food as I am getting a little tired of hearing, “it’s just business” or “it’s just food; don’t over think it.”

  2. Lara Dunston October 25, 2018 at 10:45 pm

    Thank you so much for this thoughtful response, Cathie. Greatly appreciated. I’m going to refrain from commenting as I want to hear what others have to say… I can see people reading this post, but no other comments yet… I’m wondering if people are mulling over this and giving it the kind of consideration you have. Thanks again!

  3. Chris October 28, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    The best indicator for me of where to eat is if it is full of locals. That is a sound signal. Then the level of service… do you get served (even without language). Next is the food tasty? The attendance of locals generally indicates the care and freshness of product. And lastly the cost. I’m SE Asia I prefer the cheaper local places where the cutlery is in boiling water. And when I find my favourites I support them. I find they generally end up supporting me.

  4. Lara Dunston October 28, 2018 at 10:41 pm

    Thanks for the response, Chris! Much appreciated 🙂

  5. Sebastien October 31, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    To be honest, look at the restaurant that are always full and see if they use organic or make they own product, plastic straw or give anything back to the community.

    They is always a market for everything, some do not care and seeing the trend in Asia, people need to be educated to appreciate the hard work of their host.

    That is in an ideal world.

    But for those who want, they is those who provide happily 🙂

  6. Lara Dunston October 31, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    Hi Sebastien – thank you for your insights!

  7. Divya November 20, 2018 at 1:23 am

    1) If I’m making a trip abroad, I usually research where to eat around a month or so beforehand. I’ll go through food journals/blogs (like GT, Eater, etc.) as well as review-based sites to get an idea of what a particular restaurant is like. Then I’ll make a list of places that I’m interested in, and narrow down the list based on the menu (bonus points for regional cuisine), the Chef’s approach to food (using only local/seasonal produce is always a plus), and how close/far the restaurant is from where I’m staying. I will sometimes go out of my way to try a place that exclusively works with sustainable produce – so long as it fits my budget.

    2) My rule of thumb for eating anywhere is – if it’s crowded with locals (not tourists), it’s gotta be ‘good’. If it’s not, then it may be best to avoid it. As long as a restaurant doesn’t have horrendous reviews (food poisoning, terrible service, etc) I’m usually game to try anything. It doesn’t necessarily have to be on a ‘World’s Best’ list – as I’ve often found sometimes the best places are often the most incognito ones, where you’ll only find locals enjoying a meal.

  8. Emma Cartmell November 20, 2018 at 5:45 am

    For me, I much prefer to eat in independently owned restaurants rather than chains and I love a restaurant that has a story to tell. Of course the food and service are extremely important too. I do try to see if there are locals eating in there and love to hunt out restaurants beyond the tourist streets. I think it is important to eat in ‘good’ restaurants – the challenge is being able to identify the good from the poor – hopefully your new book will change this! Can’t wait to see which UK places have made it in to the book.

  9. Lara Dunston November 20, 2018 at 10:28 am

    Thanks for your entry, Divya! Great to see that regional produce is a factor in your decision making 🙂

  10. Lara Dunston November 20, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Hello Emma, thanks so much for your entry! Pleased to see you are guided by how ‘good’ a restaurant is. But, yes, it’s been tricky until now to know what restaurants are doing when it comes to sustainability, etc, as so many will say “we use fresh local produce” etc, but are they really and what else are they doing? Hopefully these books will make a difference.

  11. Nicky November 20, 2018 at 9:56 pm

    I tend to be open to anything when it comes to choosing where to go. You balance the credibility of the source with the fervour and detail of their recommendation and take it from there. That said, newspaper and magazine reviews and blogs tend to get higher ratings on the credibility scale because it is usually their business to know what they’re talking about. Contrary to popular opinion, the locals may be the first people I’d consult, but the last I’d follow unless they live within a strong culinary culture. I grew up in Ireland. If you followed the locals here 20 years ago, you’d find yourself in a string of restaurants serving random variations on incinerated steak and chips. Things are definitely improving, but you still run an unhealthy risk of winding up in a semi-fast-food fish & chip joint. Also I feel that most people don’t eat on holiday in the same way that they do at home, not simply in the style of cuisine but also in their openness to creativity.

    The elements that make up the great dining experiences are an arcane, unmeasurable alchemy. For me, good dining is usually first and foremost about the flavour. Once you find a chef who is truly passionate about that, then you’ll usually find that his or her passion radiates to the broader elements too because they know that food is a holistic experience. Few are more aware than chefs that good ingredients only come from good environments, so protecting that is as much about protecting their own future as about protecting the planet. Some pay lip service to the idea, but you always end up feeling it somewhere else; whether it’s in the service, the state of the linen, the wine list… something will stick. At the end of the day, you’ll forgive a passionate chef for many things though, because you know they’re working like trojans to get a million details right. Less concerned chefs (or owners), tend to get shorter shrift. Much shorter. Chefs cooking with a spoon of this, a pinch of that and a good glug of ‘love’ has become a cliché. But when you taste it, it’s culinary crack. You’ll always go back.

  12. Lara Dunston November 21, 2018 at 10:26 am

    Thank you so much for the insights, Nicky! Would love to discuss this with you: “Also I feel that most people don’t eat on holiday in the same way that they do at home, not simply in the style of cuisine but also in their openness to creativity.” Are you suggesting they’re more or less open to creative food on holiday? Because I find people tend to be more adventurous in their eating when they’re away. I spent a few hours with an American family on a street food tour in Bangkok recently and I had the sense they were pushing themselves to the limits in ways they wouldn’t at home – although they stopped short of the blood cake in the soup 🙂

  13. Sam Walker November 22, 2018 at 7:06 am

    For me, choice of restaurant is about a number of factors. Service is probably one of my top decisions. And living in a developing country, that doesn’t necessarily mean exemplary service in the sense that you would expect with silver service. It means that the staff acknowledge me, that they try their best, and that they sometimes go the extra mile to deliver what you want. I also choose for affordability. If there is organic produce that is an added bonus, but in this country I’m skeptical about a lot of things labelled organic as locals often believe anything that is imported is laden with chemicals and anything produced in this country are free of chemicals, which is far from the truth. And there is a distinct lack of understanding about soil quality etc.
    I also prefer establishments that have been proactive in introducing eco initiatives, such as no straws. And I get very frustrated with places where you ask for no straw but you still get one – sometimes two!

    Is it important how “good” restaurants are? Well, I think “good” is such a subjective term. What makes a good restaurant and dining experience for me is varied. As mentioned, service is one of those things. But honestly, a good meal can really depend on the company you are with. which is no reflection on the restaurant but rather a part of the dining experience. I love places with atmosphere. Places that have included decor that is comfortable, inviting, relaxed, warm, friendly. I am less partial to those that are clinical in appearance and far too formal. I would prefer a rustic wooden house to a white-walled venue with white tablecloths, stark furniture and no vibrancy or energy. I like a place with personality.
    And for me a good restaurant is one where I get my money’s worth. At the end of the day, I’m going for the food. If they are charging me a fortune for a few things nicely displayed on a plate and I am going home hungry, then that is not a good dining experience for me and I will be unlikely to go back.

  14. Lara Dunston November 22, 2018 at 9:30 am

    Hi Sam, thank you so much for the thoughtful comments – much appreciated. By ‘good’ in this sense, we mean that they’re doing the right thing by their diners, staff, the environment, their community. Things like treating customers kindly and with respectful, paying staff fairly and taking care of them, adopting green / eco-friendly initiatives, giving back to the community etc. Everything you’ve contributed relates to that – treating staff well and training/developing them generally means better service for starters, and offering people good value food and not ripping them off is also about respect. Thank you so much for these thoughts!

  15. Adrian Broadhead December 1, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    I’m honestly just entering this so I can try and beat Nicky, although she’s far more eloquent and articulate than me unfortunately. Not fair Nicky! 🙂

    How do I choose the restos I’ll eat at? Actually, I’ll answer the second part first as I’m averse to structure after 10pm. I’m assuming (never wise) that by “good” we’re talking about reputation, hype, or a legacy and tradition that’s recognised over time? Or maybe that a place has a certain quality over others?
    A lot of my favourite places to eat have been frequented sitting on kindergarten sized red plastic chairs, and I rarely go to fine dining establishments. If the fine dining joint will be sincere and they give a damn about what they’re doing then it’s worth it. More memorable than a casual eatery for sure, but I don’t find that very often.

    I’m a loyal beast, and once a good meal is found that’s genuine and packed with flavour and character, I’ll be back to form relationships with owners and staff, that’s perhaps almost as important as the meal as I’m often on my own. In fact, it is just as important.

    What influences me in choosing where to eat? I’m lucky to have so many industry friends like yourself Lara, so I just ask away and watch your IG stories if I’m OS or travelling, the recent trip to BKK and example. I don’t dig chains and prefer smaller operations where there’s a driving influence and a vision, like Bo.Lan, or Haoma. That stuff makes sense to me because I can see the hard yards they’ve put in and that they really give a shit and care about the impact their vision entails.

    The food I love has the volume notch cranked up to 11. When I come back to Australia, I often find the food under seasoned, so I love how dynamic SE Asian food is. In saying that, subtle touches require far more skill to be done correctly.

    I’m jumping around here but have a bit going on. I won’t eat anywhere that sells shark fin, and have places I won’t touch on an ethical level. Will always choose anywhere that’s trying to make a difference in using local gear or choosing sustainable practice protocols over the contrary.

    Gotta go! Congrats on the book.

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