Ali Khan FT: Are there any more written works in the making, such as a new blog or possibly a book? I have just added a new category to Bang for Your Burger Buck, called “Taco Spotting” that puts a spotlight on the taco truck world. Soon I’ll be doing the same for sandwiches as well with the aptly named “Sandwich Spotting.” With Texas style BBQ going national right now (everybody is doing brisket), I’m toying with the idea of a book that will start as a blog series all about BBQ in Texas. Each post will be a visit to a certain BBQ town/mecca like Lockhart where I’ll look at not only the food but the culture and phenomenon that many of these celebrated BBQ joints bring to the table. FT: What can we expect from the new season of Cheap Eats? Any spoilers?! Will there possibly be an international version? I don’t want to give too much away but I will tell you that we will be visiting 13 cities that are “below the radar.” The food scene is blowing up everywhere these days with more cities celebrating their food culture: new school and old school. I’m extremely excited and proud to be putting the spotlight on fresh faces in the culinary world and putting more cities on the foodie radar. FT: You’ve proven that good food can come at a great price, but what about traveling? Do you have any travel tips for budget-conscious travelers? What are some things you do/ precautions you take to stay on track during your travels? Who you need to talk to is my wife - she is a vacation GURU! We are all about airbnb and VRBO. Also a big fan of all-inclusive resorts in 108 FoodTraveler l Winter 2016 Mexico, especially back in the LA days. What we like to do is mix up a vacation by staying in a nice hotel for a few days, as soon as we arrive, and then move on to a rental with a kitchen, so that we can prepare some meals and pick and choose the ones to go out to. I love to cook so part of the vacation for me is finding local food in restaurants and markets. Going to supermarkets in Mexico (beachside) is a trip: super fresh seafood and imported foods from countries like Spain become more common. We all have to live within our budgets but I’m all about taking a longer vacation. Even if it means less room service, it’s worth it! FT: If you could travel anywhere in the world for the sole purpose of trying the local food, where would you choose to go? Why? Tokyo/Japan. I would have said Mexico City but since leaving LA, I miss the sheer volume of Asian foods that define LA’s food scene. Years ago, a food writer friend of mine told me that the Japanese way of being relentless about perfection translated into pure heaven in the kitchen. When they take on any cuisine, they strive for perfection on the plate. Borderline obsessive? Perhaps. But when it comes to food, so am I. Season 2 of Cheap Eats will premiere on Cooking Channel on December 1st at 10pm ET/7pm PT.