Bourdain’s Parts Unknown proves entertaining, enlightening

Sarah Earle, Editor-in-Chief

The ability to visit and explore every country would be nearly impossible, but Parts Unknown just might help you succeed. This show gives just the right amount of details and enlightenment on places, well-known and not well-known. Typically, if you’d ask me what my favorite show is, I would probably say a compelling drama on Netflix, however my mom introduced me to this intriguing show that encourages your thirst for travel. Chef and author Anthony Bourdain explores a variety of cities around the world as he goes to restaurants that serve food representing country’s culture, interviews commoners in their homes and participates in the traditions and activities it’s known for.

Despite the fact that his show is quite entertaining, it is very informative on the people, cuisine, culture and history that resides in each place. Not only does he interview natives of the place, but he digs into their typical lifestyles and gives you a totally different perspective into their world and what they do. For example, I recently watched the episode where Bourdain visits Jamaica. There, he interviewed a group of fishermen who were deeply distraught on the demand of beachside property in Jamaica. If their beaches were taken, so were their abilities to fish, and so was their income. Some episodes reflect the pain and poverty taking place in cities, which can be heartbreaking, but groundbreaking. When Bourdain visited the Philippines, he went into this lady’s home who had moved to the United States for money and was the camera man’s caretaker growing up. Due to the fact that she had her own children back home, she sent her earnings back to the Philippines, yet never got to have a relationship with them. It’s one of the many tragedies that are told in his show. When visiting Iran, Bourdain interviewed a man who was a correspondent for the Washington Post, discussing Iranian culture and heritage. He was then arrested a couple of days after the interview because they felt “he was being a spy”, while he claimed to be telling the truth of the country’s heritage. Even Bourdain’s display on our own cities in the U.S. have left me speechless, as Detroit is a poverty struck wasteland, attempting to rebuild and renovate, Nashville’s transition to a melting pot of diversity and culture, similar to Houston and the metropolitan city it has become.

The cuisine in each country vastly differs and Bourdain has proved that as some of the nastiest and strangest items eaten have been broadcasted, probably making you want to throw up, but compelling you to watch more. Between eating the heads, kidneys, liver, bone marrow, guts and brains of many animals, nothing is off limits for Bourdain. He doesn’t eat just nasty things, but he also eats the most exquisite and expensively rare foods too. As a former chef, Bourdain has culinary knowledge and talks with the cooks of each restaurant, getting to know them and their food. Bourdain particularly dines at places where the commoners go to get a taste of authenticity.

Bourdain’s Parts Unknown never fails to fascinate with facts and guidance through each place it goes. Even if it’s somewhere you’re familiar with, he’s left you surprised. From the Greek Islands to Madagascar, and from Peru to Cuba, he’s documented the good and the bad. Unlike any other show, Bourdain has gone into locals’ homes and become part of the family, participating in their traditions. He may or may not make your appetite sky rocket, but it’s definitely worth the watch. Who knows where he may go next? (On CNN at 9:00 p.m. on Sunday nights)

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