HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


What's the difference between a "Chowhound" and a "Foodie" ??

I am retalively new to this board (and I LOVE that I found it!!). I saw a post recently and the person said, "Don't forget we are chowhounds not foodies". Can someone elaborate on this?? Just for interest sake. Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Chowhound is just someone that visits the forum

    I'm not sure what that statement is supposed to mean, because to me, all Chowhounds are foodies

    Maybe they mean "we're more than just foodies, we're chowhounds".. as in not only foodies but we go the extra mile to chat about it online


    1. I think that the term refers to people willing to go out of their way to sniff out good Chow. So although surely all Chowhounds are foodies, all foodies are not Chowhounds.

      1. It stems from the chowhound manifesto that Jim Leff wrote back when the site was founded:

        These are not hard, etched in stone definitions, but very useful and economical shorthands to remind people that we shouldn't only eat at places that others tell us are good, not matter how reliable the information. Instead, we should also actively find *new* places with delicious food by (1) trying places that are unknown, and (2) by applying critical and independent thinking to assess these places.

        Actively finding new delicious food with an independent and critical eye is essential.

        The boards serve as a very useful forum for this purpose. One person can't try all the dishes at all the restaurants multiple times, but thousands of people can. Thus we can divide and conquer, to try new unknown places multiple, independent times, so that we would all have a very detailed and rigorous picture of the food quality. With the large amount of data, we can each come up with independent opinions about a place based on our own tastes, so that we can optimise our own eating experience. This is important because different people have different tastes, so we're all responsible for our own delicious experience.

        2 Replies
        1. re: limster

          Heh. Nice description. When I read that my imagination got away from me and I could hear a hound's triumphant and excited baying as it closed in on it's prey. Awoooooooo!

          1. re: limster

            Wow, that was a great answer!! Makes a lot of sense. Thank you!

          2. Chowhounds slash their way to undiscovered food gems in all corners of the planet, through mosquitos, mud, ice, and predatory critters. Foodies follow behind them in Gucci shoes.
            Also, "chowhound" is a very difficult play to make in a Scrabble game (although possible). "foodie" is child's play.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Veggo

              Yes, all that and more! Yes folks, there's more! Sometimes you have to risk your life being a Chowhound. Sketchy neighborhoods, cars zooming by within inches of you; just to get a lingua taco. Chowhounders risk poisoning on the off chance that this dive might be the new El Dorado. Foodies wait till they read about it in the Times Food Section.
              Yes, foodie is shorter and easier to say. Veggo says "your shorter" a lot.
              As a passionate Chowhound, I try and make converts of Foodies. This has its risks as well. I was doing just that the other day and had to run out the back door when the guy in the Guccis came home early.

            2. All Chowhounds are internet savvy. Some foodies are not.
              Here is the formula
              foodie + internet = Chowhound

              2 Replies
              1. re: GodfatherofLunch

                Not necesarily. Foodie + internet can also equal Yelp. Yelp is not Chowhound.

                1. re: Mr Taster

                  Someone has to add new venues to yelp . . . Must be the chowhounds, right? :-P

              2. I loved the word chowhound since the first time I heard it. Pretty sure it was from the lips of Bogie himself in The Caine Mutiny as Captain Queeg, talking about the dude who scored extra strawberries.

                1. I view 'foodies' to be the snobby, stuck up types who would *never* think about eating that greasy burger from the dive someone told them was actually pretty good. I view chowhounds as being folks who are just interested in good food and realize that comes in all forms: upscale, downscale, etc. This particular site has people of both categories that frequent it, although the ratio has been moving towards the former IMO

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jgg13

                    I agree.with jgg13.

                    I also think of foodies as faddists, who will move on to the next thing that's "hot," not food-lovers.

                    For me, "authenticity" is also a major consideration--I mean as in authentic renditions of any and all cuisines..

                  2. Both are labels, neither is something I want to be referred to as.

                    I dont like to be labeled, with that said I dont fit into either catagory, foodies to me are people who seemingly only appreciate expensive, trendy foods. On the flip side too many Chowhounds tend to embrace chains, prepared foods, shortcuts in cooking, etc, something I do not ever want to be associated with, or labeled as.

                    Id rather be viewed independently as a person who just loves food, from the greasy gyros stand, to the real smoked bbq, to real cajun food, to authentic Mexican food, to Pho, to Chinese BBQ, to eating the biggest and best prime dry aged steak, to buying the best meat and seafood I can find, to cooking scratch meals at home. The guy who drives 100 miles each way to get lunch at some out of the way spot because it I was told it was good, vs settling for some chain, or closer lesser option.

                    1. I say it's entirely in the mind of whoever says it and/or hears it. The LA Chowhounders who set up a Yahoo group to arrange meetups and stuff like that are called SCARF, or Southern California Association of Radical Foodies...and as those get-togethers have included some really cheap noodle houses and a hot dog stand, you can hardly call us snobs!

                      I think of a "foodie" as simply being a person with a deep interest in food, food of whatever kind and however that interest is manifested. Some of us are passionate eaters of any edible substance we can lay hand to, some of us are nutrition freaks, some of us are dedicated cooks, some of us go nuts for food culture and history. I know I fall into three of those four categories (okay, look at my avatar and guess which!), and I have no objection to being called a Foodie.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Will Owen

                        what Will says!

                        Call me what you want, Chowhound or Foodie - just don't call me late for dinner!

                      2. I couldn't help thinking of this topic yesterday when I was traveling with John and his mom and her friend to a meditation park in the Appalachian mountains. There was an event we were going to and John's mom was wondering if there would be food there. The friend produced mini packs of m and m's and said don't worry we won't starve! John was snarfing down pixie sticks in the car and I was sipping on some green tea in a jug and offered mini kit kat bars (leftover from halloween) all around. John and I had already done considerable damage to a vat of mixed nuts from Costco's. John's mom raised her plastic bottle of water and said this is all I brought. You guys are foodies! I couldn't help but grin as I had never heard the word foodie used in that way before. It certainly was a different perspective.

                        1. I guess I'm rehashing an old topic. But the "hound" in chowhound suggests a person who is always hunting for the best [whatever ... you fill in the blank]. To me it implies other people doing the cooking, and hounding for the finished product, rather than something made in one's own kitchen.

                          The chowhound in me loves going to the Hong Kong Palace here in the DC area, a very good Sichuan restaurant (despite its name), and ordering a half dozen dishes.

                          The foodie in me enjoys reading through Fuschia Dunlop's Land of Plenty and hitting the area's asian markets and trying the dishes at home, inviting friends, etc. Now I can do ma la dishes with the best of them!

                          The foodie in me wants to make the basic ingredients that go into dishes -- my own stocks, sauerkraut at home rather than from packets, fresh cheeses, hand-made pasta, Marcella Hazan's 6-hour bolognese, homemade gelati, etc.

                          Take a look at the site FXCuisine.com ... to me, he's the foodie patron saint.

                          1. This depends on the personal perspective on the definitions of "foodie," and "chowhound."

                            To me, a foodie is a person, who reads the same reviews, that I do, and focuses on the "scene," the "vibe" and whether it is a "happening place." Though they appreciate food, they appreciate being seen eating the food more.

                            A chowhound is a person, who will get past the "vibe," etc., and will suffer that aspect, providing that the food is "chow-worthy." A chowhound is more concerned with what the chef sends out of the kitchen, than how many TV shows the chef is on.

                            Maybe I have a jaundiced view of things, but then I led off with the statement that it was about perceptions.


                            1. I'm getting so tired of this. The issue is simple: both foodie and chowhound are slang terms with no straightforward dictionary definitions. Some people associate negative connotations with foodie, some do not. I personally fall into the latter camp. But nothing will ever come of this endless discussion (and this is hardly the first thread on the topic out here).

                              Can we just agree to disagree and drop it?

                              13 Replies
                              1. re: BobB


                                You make a good point. Maybe we should all hush, until Webster's adds both words, our thoughts are really not worth the bytes.


                                1. re: BobB

                                  That's true only if you accept that we're arguing semantics. In truth, we're arguing much more than that - we're arguing values. We're making judgments on others (gasp!), whether that's from the viewpoint of making ourselves feel better, or just to demonstrate that there is indeed a difference in our worldviews.

                                  Whatever the words, there is a difference between people who simply want to be told where the crowds go, to read lists of foods to eat, and people who jump at the opportunity to actually try new and unknown places and foods. The people who originated this site were in the latter group and encouraged that behavior then, and continue to do so now, even if in a somewhat diluted manner.

                                  The judgment flies both ways - there are those that insist that they are better for being the pioneers, and those that insist that they are better for accepting all deliciousness, regardless of whether there was any adventuring involved. There are those that say that we're better for having evolved into a bigger tent, and those that think that the dilution has made the site less useful.

                                  Personally, I don't want to see a new thread on this subject every week. But it's one of those things that needs to be aired, along with the value of authenticity, sharp knives, and being omnivores, once in a while. As newbies come and people go, it's good to bring back some of our core differences, rehash our basic dilemmas. It helps point the way for the future. We don't want to completely forget the past as we evolve.

                                  1. re: applehome

                                    I agree that the subject - let's call it "what is a chowhound?" - is worthy of discussion. But focusing it on the terms foodie vs chowhound is unproductive and even hurtful to those of us (and from reading all the threads on the subject, there are quite a few of us) who happily consider ourselves foodies. I don't appreciate being told that I'm a sheep who eats where he's told. You don't need to use "foodie" as an insulting counterpoint when stating the positive values you associate with "chowhound."

                                    1. re: applehome

                                      It's not so much as making judgments as classification based on one's eating habits. We could argue forever about which category of people are better, and different people will have different answers. But the board is useful only to certain categories of people but not others.

                                      For one who eats at wherever they're told, they would be far better of buying a copy of Zagat or some guidebook and just eating at those places. Just eat at where you're told and enjoy. There's no benefit to working through the chaos on this board.

                                      OTOH, this board was designed for those who eat critically, who try out stuff decide for themselves what's good. That demands a place where they can share tips on places to try, or divide an conquer a vast menu, or compare notes, since trying a place once is not a good enough sample. That is where this board is useful and it is people who fall into this category that benefit from using the board.

                                      1. re: limster

                                        Agree completely. But my point is that one person's definition of chowhound is another's definition of foodie, and those who use the latter term as an insult are being disrespectful to those of us who've used it for - well, darn near ever to describe our passion for food. As I said above, there IS no indisputable definition of the term, so any discussion about what's the "correct" terminology inevitably devolves into a matter of mere semantics. And I'd much rather talk about food!

                                        1. re: BobB

                                          Interesting. I just came upon this thread today, read through it, and never once picked up a negative vibe towards foodies. SIlly me, I just thought it was an interesting discussion.

                                          I can also understand a desire to just "talk about food", but this particular forum is called "not about food".........

                                          From my perspective, I tend to think of Hounds as people who take the time to access this web site and look for ways to connect with fellow Hounds. We joke, we share, we commiserate, we network, we get annoyed with each other at times, but we are all connected by our love of all things food-related. You can be a foodie too, but you need to take that extra step to be a Hound.

                                          1. re: PattiCakes

                                            No negative vibe?

                                            "I view 'foodies' to be the snobby, stuck up types"
                                            "I also think of foodies as faddists"
                                            "Though they [foodies] appreciate food, they appreciate being seen eating the food more."

                                            And that's just from this short thread. My frustration at the insults thrown around has grown out of reading many such threads. A couple of examples:

                                            What's really galling is that I share these posters' attitudes toward people who eat to follow fads, are snobby about food, go to restaurants to be seen rather than to eat, etc. I just think it's inappropriate to put such people down as being "foodies." To me they're not foodies at all, they're sheep, snobs, or celebrity wannabees.

                                            I've been a foodie most of my life, and a chowhound out here for five years now. No contradiction between the two - as I see it, all chowhounds are foodies, but only those foodies who take part in this community are chowhounds. Your definitions may vary - but please don't use foodie as an insult.

                                            1. re: BobB

                                              Wow. There's a lot of pent up anger there. Sorry that you feel that way because it's not a good way to feel. I'll just try another thread and be on my way.

                                              1. re: PattiCakes

                                                Not really. I don't like the way foodie is so commonly used as an insult out here, but I'm not losing any sleep over it. I just miss being on the debate team. ;-)

                                                1. re: BobB

                                                  My definition:
                                                  Chowhound = somebody who lives to eat.

                                                  Foodie = Somebody who enjoys food, but derives a sense of superiority over others based on their culinary experiences.

                                                  These are simply my definitions so please don't take offense. But it is quite difficult for me to listen to a foodie explain what makes them a foodie with a straight face. Even more unfortunate is the foodie who takes wine too seriously and ends up just sounding foolish.

                                                  If you enjoy the cheesecake factory you are chowhound. (Certainly you may appreciate that better options exist) If you feel that you are too cool to eat at any chain restaraunt, you are a foodie.

                                                  1. re: mrgaga

                                                    I lied. I didn't go to another thread.

                                                    ANY term can be used as an insult. I tend to think of "foodies" as just people who like/appreciate all things food related. Our culture tends to label others according to their affinities: "Hippies" were part of the "hip" generation; "Trekkies" are followers of all things Star Trek. Labels are an easy way of compartmentalizing things/people. The problem is that a label, depending on how it's applied, can be a compliment, an insult, or just a label. You are a foodie because you like all things food-related. I know some foodies who are pretentious SOBs, but hey, I'm a foodie too, so does that make me a pretentious SOB as well? I know a lot of NON-foodies who are pretentious SOBs. The fact that some people use the term "foodie" in a negative way can't be helped. Geez, I've been called a "Yankee" in the most uncomplimentary way, but I can't help that. By virtue of where I live, I'm a Yankee. Deal with it. I'm also a Republican. Try telling people THAT these days.

                                                    I was drawn to the subject of this thread because I, too, have wondered what makes a CH a CH, over and above being just a foodie. I have a lot of friends who are foodies, but not many participate on boards like CH. They will discuss/appreciate things food-related, but they don't seem to seek out others outside their own immediate circle, to connect with. I think that being a CH has made me a better foodie. It's widened my foodie horizens. My friends refer to me as a foodie because they think I know a lot about food (or a lot more than they do); being on CH makes me appreciate how much I don't know & makes me want to learn more.

                                                    1. re: mrgaga

                                                      That is certainly the definition you have decided to adhere to - you have picked and chosen what apparently fits your worldview. It's not universal, and it's only a portion of the original manifesto and intent. Living to eat is indeed a major part of the definition, but so is discovery and leading the way, rather than following. It includes analyzing and learning from what you eat, rather than always eating what others have analyzed and chosen for you.

                                                      My interpretation is that both conditions must be met - therefore chain foods are not chowhoundish, no matter how delicious. Only followers extol foods that have been chosen for them by corporate sponsored focus groups. Leaders find their own paths and define their own deliciousness.

                                                      That's not to say that we don't all eat at these places - we eat for social reasons as well as having self-serving, learning experiences. But understanding this difference is in and of itself a part of having the self-awareness of truly living to eat. Now - whether we call that chowhound or some other name - I don't think is important. Knowing that there is a difference, and wanting to live and eat in that way is the key.

                                            2. re: BobB

                                              Yep - which is why I directly described the type of behavior that this board is intended to foster, without using any of the terms. As I've mentioned above, it's not intended to be disrespectful, and is merely a writing device/shorthand used to encourage critical and independent eating.

                                      2. chowhounds sniff out good food wherever it's hiding.

                                        foodies love food and eat at places chowhounds sniff out.

                                        you can be both.

                                        1. I think trying to claim a difference is silly. Most of the people who post here are passionate about food, and I don't give a rat's ass what they call themselves, as long as they are authentic.

                                          2 Replies
                                            1. re: BobB

                                              I'm going to put it to bed with that one.