This book had some helpful things for people trying to avoid common allergens while eating foods unfamiliar to them. It lists the basic ingredients in many dishes common to different countries.
However, as we all know, each food vendor usually prides themselves in presenting their own special take on a dish so you can never be 100% certain of what you are getting.
Also, I was concerned for people with corn allergies because there are many, MANY food additives and stabilizers made from corn that were not mentioned as things to be aware of or to look out for. Also, there were many items that frequently have flour or other ingredients added to them that were completely missing from the "quick reference guide" graph.
Another negative: it could have been MUCH more concise. There are many, MANY, MANY repetions in this book. For every single situation, it lists the same exact questions to ask. I would understand the repetition if the questions were in the specific country's language but they are simply repeated again and again in English. When traveling to another country, I would not find this helpful at all. There are so many lists and phrases that seem to be cut & pasted from one chapter to the next that I rather suspect that the publisher demanded a certain number of pages and the authors were trying to deliver them.
If you can get past all the annoying repetions, you will find the lists of possible ways that the dish may have been prepared with the most likely allergens somewhat helpful. Not complete. But informative. That being said, honestly, I can't imagine going into a restaurant with a long, laundry list of specific preparation questions for each and every part of a meal and expecting a member of the waitstaff to answer them with any amount of food prep knowledge. In my experience, most waitstaff barely know what the specials ARE let alone how they are prepared. I've had them lie to my face on many occasions simply out of ignorance because they didn't understand what the ingredient WAS, let alone the reason I was asking the question. And that was in restaurants in my country of origin! I can't imagine risking my health trying to communicate these ideas in a foreign language in a foreign country.
Here is a worrying example: under the section of eating at a chinese restaurant, steamed rice is "usually safe to eat" and the book says that your only worry should be the water used to make it. However, I happen to know that vinegar is sometimes added to the cooking water to adjust its stickyness. Depending on the type of vinegar used, you could have an allergic reaction! There is no mention of this and that is just one of the many inadequately researched dish recommendations.
My overall thoughts on this book are: helpful if you want a general idea of what ingredients are generally used to prepare the food of differing ethnicities. A general recipe ingredient list. But the meals and ingredients listed in this book were not well enough researched to keep you safe and help you make informed decisions when dining in foreign environments. The book's general premise is a good one but for people who have their health and well being on the line, it simply doesn't provide enough information