‘Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown’ — Most Watched Episodes

(CNN) — The legacy of the late Anthony Bourdain is long and complicated.

CNN’s new film “Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain” attempts to confront this legacy and reopen the conversation about how Bourdain is remembered. It may also inspire you to reminisce as you revisit Bourdain’s extensive TV catalog.

As an accomplished author, leader, storyteller and guide through communities and cultures around the world, Bourdain has started dialogues and opened doors where many never thought they would go.

Over five years and 12 seasons with CNN, he crafted “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” into a show that cast an unflinching look at the human condition in the world.

Whether you’re a longtime fan or a total newbie, here’s a look at the highest-rated episode from each season of the show, according to data from Nielsen.

Season 1, Episode 2: Koreatown

In the first season of “Parts Unknown,” Bourdain quickly set himself apart from other food and travel show hosts with his scathing commentary and authenticity.

For the second episode, he traveled to Koreatown, one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Through conversations with local food truck phenom Roy Choi and outspoken artist David Choe, Bourdain uncovered both the traumatic story of the neighborhood’s experience during the Rodney King riots and the evolution of the region into the multicultural center it is today.

Take a look inside Choe’s LA warehouse where Bourdain sat for a painting:

Bourdain takes on Los Angeles but with a twist. No Hollywood sign, no Beverly Hills. Instead, it focuses on a three square mile area of ​​the city known as Koreatown.

Season 2, Episode 5: Sicily

Traveling to Sicily in Season 2, Bourdain’s experience wasn’t exactly what he imagined. His fishing trip with a local chief took an embarrassing turn when Bourdain realized that the octopus he was supposed to catch was already dead and thrown into the water for him from a nearby boat.

Then discussions with local residents revealed that the real Mafia had little in common with the fictional Corleones. Things started to look up as he interacted with locals and ate delicious Sicilian cuisine, derived from the island’s unique blend of Arab, Roman, Norman, Phoenician and Greek cultural roots.

Witness the beginning of Bourdain’s miserable fishing trip as he suspects something is wrong:

Anthony Bourdain is perplexed when surrounded by half-frozen dead octopuses while fishing in Sicily.

Season 3, Episode 1: Punjab

In the Punjab region of northern India, Bourdain saw firsthand the lasting effects of British imperialism. Once united during the days of the Indian Empire, the region was divided in 1947 to create India and Pakistan, dividing families along the highly militarized border.

Bourdain spent time learning about Punjab’s unique local culture and traditions: he visited the Golden Sikh Temple, stayed with the grandson of the last Maharaja, and enjoyed – albeit reluctantly – several vegetarian meals. .

“Watch Tony eat vegetables,” Bourdain joked at the Punjabi restaurant Kesar Da Dhaba, “and I like it”:

Anthony Bourdain enjoys vegetarian cuisine with “intense colors, flavors and spices” at a Kesar Da Dhaba, a roadside food stall in Punjab, India.

Season 4, Episode 6: Iran

In an episode that has been in the works for years, Bourdain finally had the opportunity to travel to Iran.

While visiting Tehran and Isfahan, he was introduced to the complicated nature of life there through friendly conversations with locals and less friendly interactions with Basij militia forces. Bourdain shared several home-cooked meals with Iranian families who spoke candidly about their experiences in the country.

“The Iranians…take you to our house and take you into our hearts,” one family told him. “We are extreme in this way”:

While visiting Iran for “Parts Unknown”, Bourdain said it was “neither East nor West, but always somewhere in between”. The country far exceeded its expectations.

Season 5, Episode 2: Miami

In many ways, Miami is unlike any other American city. As he’s immersed in this home of beaches, businesses, retirees, and spring break, Bourdain tries to analyze it all to find out what really makes Miami tick.

It investigates the city’s history as a hotbed of Latin and Caribbean immigrants, as well as a base for cocaine trafficking in the 1970s and 1980s. Miami’s lifestyle appeal is illuminated, in part, by a walk with the godfather of punk (and Bourdain’s childhood hero) Iggy Pop and a lunchtime conversation with musician Ahmir Khalib Thompson, otherwise known as Questlove.

“I consider the Miami sound to be the beginning of really good music,” Questlove told Bourdain:

On “Parts Unknown,” Anthony Bourdain sat down with Questlove in Miami to talk Southern food and music.

Season 6, Episode 8: Charleston

In an effort to redeem himself after a previous visit was criticized by locals, Bourdain returned to Charleston, South Carolina, to give Southern cuisine and culture another shot.

With local restaurant owner Sean Brock as our guide, Bourdain set out to get the authentic Lowcountry experience by stopping at Waffle House, a late-night staple. Later, he discovered the food traditions of African slaves and the local Gullah culture preserved in Southern cuisine.

“I don’t want anybody else to come. I like it that way,” said comedian Bill Murray, who is a resident and co-owner of the Charleston Riverdogs minor league baseball team. He offered his honest take on the Southern city:

In “Parts Unknown”, Anthony Bourdain dines with chef Sean Brock and comedian Bill Murray in Charleston, South Carolina. They discuss the city and southern cuisine.

Season 7, Episode 4: Montana

With lyrics by poet Jim Harrison, this episode immerses Bourdain in Montana’s Big Sky Country.

Stopping first to meet members of the Crow tribe, Bourdain learned of the state’s connection to the land and animals from the descendants of some of its earliest residents. He continued to explore this theme with stops at Galt Ranch, the mining town of Butte, and a camping trip with local hunters.

Watch the Native American relay sport that Bourdain calls “collarbone smashing, skull cracking, dangerous bone snapping”:

In “Parts Unknown”, Anthony Bourdain meets Native Americans to learn about the importance of horses to plains life and sport.

Season 8, Episode 1: Hanoi

In 2016, Bourdain returned to one of his favorite places on Earth: Vietnam. Noting the rapid growth of the country’s population and tourism industry, Bourdain was surprised at how much Hanoi had changed since his first visit in 2000.

He stopped at local spots like Hạ Long Bay, popular with tourists, where rock formations are believed to bring good luck, and the popular food stop Bun Suon-Thit-Mong Gio-Luoi, where shanks pork over rice were the only item on the menu.

Afterwards, he settled in for a bun cha with former President Barack Obama. The couple discussed the importance of learning about other cultures to better understand global issues.

Watch Bourdain teach Obama the art of eating noodles:

President Obama joins Anthony Bourdain in Hanoi for a crash course in Vietnamese cooking.

Season 9, Episode 5: Antarctica

Bourdain called Antarctica “the last preserved place on Earth”. At the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station, he was introduced to resident scientists and members of the community who operated the research station, including fuel workers, or “fuelies,” and management workers waste, or “wasties”.

Through a trip to the South Pole, a visit to the Adélie penguins and a few meals in the canteens, Bourdain began to understand the attraction of working in such a remote place, where every job has the same importance.

Work hard and play hard: See how McMurdo residents are celebrating the end of the summer season:

At the end of the summer season, there is a vibrant party culture in Antarctica. On “Parts Unknown”, Anthony Bourdain said “we can have a great time at the end of the world”.

Season 10, Episode 6: Puerto Rico

Several months before Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, Bourdain visited to learn more about the island. economic crisis.

An unincorporated territory of the United States since 1968, Puerto Rico began racking up debt after a change in tax policy that was exacerbated by predatory lending by hedge funds. The result, a seemingly insurmountable financial crisis, was covered up with luxury resorts to increase tourism. As Bourdain looked beyond the piña coladas, he discovered a nation full of artists, teachers, cooks, and activists determined to work and save their home.

“Barefoot and a little drunk.” See how Bourdain spent his time in Puerto Rico:

Prior to the devastation of Hurricane Maria, Anthony Bourdain traveled to Puerto Rico to explore the impact of its financial crisis.

Season 11, Episode 6: Berlin

In this episode, Bourdain traveled to Berlin, a place where the party seemingly never stops. With the remnants of the Berlin Wall still visible throughout the city, locals still remember both the city’s grim history and its relatively recent renaissance.

Drawing comparisons between Berlin’s modern culture of free expression and debauchery and the equally creative and provocative Weimar era of pre-Nazi Germany, Bourdain encountered creatives, such as Le Pustra and Anton Newcombe, who entered the complex history of the city in their work.

Watch Bourdain talk to locals about the parallels between Berlin in the 1920s and the city today:

On “Parts Unknown”, Anthony Bourdain explored the history of Berlin’s cabaret culture. They talked about Berlin’s modern culture of free expression and debauchery.

Season 12, Episode 1: Kenya

In the final season of “Parts Unknown,” Bourdain took CNN original series host W. Kamau Bell to Kenya for the first time.

They enjoyed the sights and sounds of Nairobi by shopping for graphic t-shirts, riding a Matatu party bus (and designing their own Wolf Blitzer-themed Matatu) and visiting a boxing academy – all before heading further afield to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, where the local Maasai community has engaged in animal conservation efforts.

Throughout the trip, Bell – whose name has Kenyan origins – felt a complicated connection to the culture and shared his feelings with Bourdain about visiting Africa as a black American.

“It’s nice to have that connection even though the setting in which that connection was built was colonialism,” the ‘United Shades of America’ host said:

With giraffes roaming the open air below their roost, W. Kamau Bell and Anthony Bourdain talk about what it means to travel to Africa.

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