Bourdain travels across the globe to uncover little-known areas of the world and celebrate diverse cultures by exploring food and dining rituals. Known for his curiosity, candor, and acerbic wit, Bourdain takes viewers off the beaten path of tourist destinations – including some war-torn parts of the world – and meets with a variety of local citizens to offer a window into their lifestyles, and occasionally communes with an internationally lauded chef on his journeys.
Written by Sophie and last updated on jan 20, 2023.
PS: The following content contains spoilers!
PPS: I will admit that parts of this page was written with the help of AI - it makes my work so much easier to not start from a blank page!
Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown explores Andalucía during Semana Santa (Holy Week, leading up to Easter), a time filled with great pageantry and excitement. Featured in this episode is Bourdain’s longtime Director of Photography Zach Zamboni, who lives part-time in Granada and shows the host sights off the beaten path.
The episode was rated 7.96 from 137 votes.
Few cities have experienced such a dramatic economic rise and fall of Detroit. In this episode of Parts Unknown, Bourdain explores the past, present and future of the Motor City. He steps into the lives of Detroit natives and sees the glory days of the past at the famed Packard Plant, the current state of the city’s urban decay, and the promise of the future in the citizens who are rebuilding their communities.
The episode was rated 7.97 from 115 votes.
This episode explores how Anthony Bourdain’s unique perspective and voice altered the world of food, travel and culture and in the process reinvented how audiences watched television and engaged intimately and actively with the world around them.
The episode was rated 8.00 from 53 votes.
Bourdain’s relationship with his crew, the team that traveled with him and slogged through the trenches, was like no other in his life. In this episode the people who made Parts Unknown select moments from their episodes and pull back the curtain, to talk about collaboration, creative freedom, moments when Bourdain had their back or called them out, the times when he was caught off guard or forgot the cameras were even there.
The episode was rated 8.04 from 49 votes.
On the eve of the Olympic games in Sochi, Bourdain takes his first trip in nearly 10 years to Russia, accompanied by his longtime traveling partner Zamir Gotta. Looking through the lens of a now Putin-controlled Russia, Bourdain confers with prominent locals, visits Moscow’s historic Metropol Hotel, takes the Grand Express train to St. Petersburg, and explores the drinking and dining scene.
The episode was rated 8.04 from 117 votes.
In Berlin – an anomaly among German metropolises – Bourdain encounters an extremely accepting society, teeming with unbridled creativity, despite a grim history. Against the backdrop of Berlin Wall remnants, the host communes with musician Anton Newcombe (Brian Jonestown Massacre) for a home-cooked meal, and electronic artist Ellen Allien over a lunch of sausage made from chicken, pigs feet and sage at Michelberger. Bourdain also mixes in with photographers, club bouncers, cabaret owners, and historians, to discuss this city’s unparalleled culture.
The episode was rated 8.05 from 83 votes.
Bourdain travels to Mexico City, Oaxaca, and Cuernavaca to commune with local residents who express their passion through food, art, and the struggle for an improved quality of life. Addressing the latter issue, Bourdain talks with journalist Anabel Hernandez on the impact of the area’s drug trade-related violence.
The episode was rated 8.07 from 127 votes.
In the season premiere of Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, the host explores Shanghai by savoring classic, home-style cuisine at restaurants that include Chun and Fuchun Xiaolong, and converses with locals who give their take on their country’s booming economy and expanding global influence.
The episode was rated 8.10 from 144 votes.
Bourdain introduces his fellow CNN Original Series host W. Kamau Bell (United Shades of America) to the distinctive sights, tastes, and sounds of Kenya. It is Bell’s first trip to the African continent, and to a country that holds a personal connection for him. In Nairobi, they talk to locals about the country’s growth and economic challenges, as well as the continual fight for identity and self-definition of Kenyans. Bourdain and Bell also take a Matatu party bus ride, share a meal of goat’s head soup and visit a boxing academy devoted to teaching young women, and promoting female empowerment. Leaving Nairobi the pair travel to Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and visit with a Maasai community actively engaged in conservation. Through the eyes of Bourdain and Bell, and their first experiences with this highly dynamic deeply, soulful and beautiful country we ask, what will a future Kenya… for Kenyans…. by Kenyans…look like?
The episode was rated 8.13 from 72 votes.
Anthony Bourdain explores an Iran few Americans have visited since the 1980s -- a country that's complicated and changing.
The episode was rated 8.19 from 123 votes.
This episode explores the food and natural beauty of Copenhagen, the economic and cultural center of Denmark. Home to famed chef Rene Redzepi and his brainchild Noma – regarded by critics as one of the world’s best restaurants – Parts Unknown delves into the city’s cuisine and the new Nordic creativity that infuses Redzepi’s work at Noma.
The episode was rated 8.22 from 138 votes.
Bourdain and his crew head to the Chiang Mai province of Northern Thailand along with celebrated chef and Thai food specialist Andy Ricker (Pok Pok restaurants) to explore the country’s distinctive eating and drinking scene that varies by region and season.
The episode was rated 8.22 from 166 votes.
In this food-centric episode, Bourdain accompanies world-renowned chef/restaurateur Daniel Boulud as they travel back to Boulud’s hometown of Lyon, France for a “once-in-a-lifetime” pilgrimage to the city’s rich food culture and legendary chefs, with a focus on Nouvelle Cuisine innovator Paul Bocuse.
The episode was rated 8.29 from 129 votes.
Bourdain and film director Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan) tour the remote South Asian Kingdom of Bhutan and travel on the winding East/West highway known for its spectacular views of the Himalayan Mountains. The seasoned explorers share a meal with yak herders, visit the capitol city of Thimphu for traditional Bhutanese cuisine, drive to Punakha to explore the village of legendary divine monk Drupka Kinley, and visit Bumthang for a bamboo archery competition.
The episode was rated 8.30 from 71 votes.
Bourdain travels to the enchanted region of Asturias, Spain with chef and humanitarian Jose Andres, as he makes a return to his homeland. The people of Asturias embody the rugged environment of the region with a hard working ‘do it yourself’ spirit. Bourdain and Andres hike to a remote village in the mountains for traditional fabada, ocean cliffs for gooseneck barnacles, and secret cheese caves in undisclosed locations. Bourdain also enjoys pitu de caleya with local musician Pablo Und Destruktion while he’s served on the last worker’s class movement. And in true Jose Andres form, he saves a special surprise for the end.
The episode was rated 8.34 from 64 votes.
Don’t know about you, but since the lockdown, I have had more free time than ever. Maybe it’s because we did not actually realize how much time we were wasting. So the other day, whilst I was pouring myself a glass of wine, I remembered how much I love and missed genre “Fantasy”. It was my favorite genre since growing up, maybe because I was too much into Avatar, but yeah I miss it. So today let’s talk about best fantasy TV shows.
Mixing reality shows and food seems like the perfect combination for just about anyone. I always get amazed what some people are able to make under a huge amount of pressure. The cooking shows are so entertaining as well, because it’s always regular people competing. Just make sure not to watch them on an empty stomach!
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