A chowhound is a person who will go out of his/her way to obtain food
that is both superior and genuine
. For example, if a chowhound wants to go out for breakfast
, and there is a diner with decent home fries down the block, but the diner
a couple of miles away has totally sensational, perfectly cooked home fries
, plus the lady who owns the place will offer to tell you when they are next making those amazing muffins
they sometimes make, a chowhound will definitely go the extra couple of miles. Food quality
is an important factor, but genuineness is key. If you are buying food, and you are a chowhound, the place you are buying it from should give you the feeling that the people making the food really care.
The term was popularized by Jim Leff, the founder and proprietor of Chowhound.com, a food website advancing the cause of finding good food whereever you go. Its most useful features are its multiple discussion boards, mainly based on geography, where users swap information on where to find the best of whatever it is they are looking for, i.e. "where can I find Korean food in Maine?" or "What's the best Indian grocery in San Francisco" or "Why can't you find hash browns in restaurants on the East Coast?" Its most active community of participants is in New York City, but other scenes are growing in Los Angeles, Washington DC, London, Boston, Chicago, and New England.
Occasionally, prominent food writers post on the site, including Anthony Bourdain, Robert Sietsema, Jonathan Gold and John Thorne.
From Jim Leff's Chowhound.com website intro:
Everyone has one in their life: the brother-in-law with a collection of 800 takeout menus, the coworker who's always late from lunch because she HAD to trek to one end of town for the best soup and to the other for the best sandwich. Chowhounds know where the good stuff is, and they never settle for less than optimal deliciousness, whether dining in splanky splendor or grabbing a quick slice of pizza. They are the one in ten who live to eat.
We're not talking about foodies. Foodies eat where they're told; they eagerly follow trends and rarely go where Zagat hasn't gone before. Chowhounds, on the other hand, blaze trails, combing gleefully through neighborhoods for hidden culinary treasure. They despise hype, and while they appreciate refined ambiance and service, they can't be fooled by mere flash.