The BEST episodes of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

Every episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown ever, ranked from best to worst by thousands of votes from fans of the show. The best episodes of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown!

Bourdain traveled 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 took viewers off the beaten path of tourist destinations – including some war-torn parts of the world – and met with a variety of local citizens to offer a window into their lifestyles, and occasionally communed with an internationally lauded chef on his journey. We can all hope to find ourselves to enjoy a life as amazing as Anthony Bourdain did. Rest in peace.

Last Updated: 12/4/2023Network: CNNStatus: Ended
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Asturias, Spain
star
8.43
70 votes

#1 - Asturias, Spain

Season 12 - Episode 2 - Aired 9/30/2018

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.

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Shanghai
star
8.39
171 votes

#2 - Shanghai

Season 4 - Episode 1 - Aired 9/28/2014

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.

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Bhutan
star
8.29
77 votes

#3 - Bhutan

Season 11 - Episode 8 - Aired 6/24/2018

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.

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Kenya
star
8.23
77 votes

#4 - Kenya

Season 12 - Episode 1 - Aired 9/23/2018

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?

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Lyon, France
star
8.21
136 votes

#5 - Lyon, France

Season 3 - Episode 3 - Aired 4/27/2014

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.

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Antarctica
star
8.17
172 votes

#6 - Antarctica

Season 9 - Episode 5 - Aired 6/4/2017

Bourdain travels to the bottom of the world to experience the serene beauty and mystery of the driest, coldest, windiest place on earth. Taken under the wings of such hearty residents as scientists, contractors and the U.S. military, Bourdain’s adventures include a helicopter view of the largest active volcano in the southern hemisphere, a snowmobile drive over 8 ft. thick sea ice, a visit with a colony of Adele penguins, and a trip the South Pole.

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Miami
star
8.16
142 votes

#7 - Miami

Season 5 - Episode 2 - Aired 5/3/2015

“Curiosity pays unexpected dividends,” observes Iggy Pop, legendary rock musician, Miami resident and one of Bourdain’s local guides in this multi-faceted, seductive city. The host visits favorite haunt Club Deuce bar, the B&M market in “Little Haiti” for cow foot soup, Islas Canarias with chef Michelle Bernstein for a different take on the Cuban sandwich, and explores “The Miami Sound” with Questlove and Willie Clark (founder, Deep City Records).

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Iran
star
8.14
120 votes

#8 - Iran

Season 4 - Episode 6 - Aired 11/2/2014

Anthony Bourdain explores an Iran few Americans have visited since the 1980s -- a country that's complicated and changing.

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Copenhagen
star
8.14
171 votes

#9 - Copenhagen

Season 2 - Episode 4 - Aired 10/6/2013

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.

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Bourdain’s Impact
star
8.13
62 votes

#10 - Bourdain’s Impact

Season 12 - Episode 4 - Aired 10/14/2018

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.

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Behind the Scenes
star
8.13
55 votes

#11 - Behind the Scenes

Season 12 - Episode 6 - Aired 10/28/2018

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.

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Congo
star
8.10
248 votes

#12 - Congo

Season 1 - Episode 8 - Aired 6/9/2013

Tony visits Congo, the setting of one of his favorite books, Conrad's Heart of Darkness, and the basis for one of his favorite movies, the classic Apocalypse Now.

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Montana
star
8.02
183 votes

#13 - Montana

Season 7 - Episode 4 - Aired 5/15/2016

Bourdain traverses big sky country and embraces Montana’s distinctive history and culture with a visit to Crow reservation to watch horse relay racing and feast on buffalo steak, pheasant hunting with podcast host Joe Rogan, dinner at Butte institution Lydia’s supper club (est 1946), and by going underground in the Orphan Boy Mine with state senator Jim Keane. A conversation with his friend, famed writer Jim Harrison, who passed away in March 2016, encapsulates the Montana experience.

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Mexico City
star
8.01
131 votes

#14 - Mexico City

Season 3 - Episode 4 - Aired 5/4/2014

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.

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Berlin
star
8.00
90 votes

#15 - Berlin

Season 11 - Episode 6 - Aired 6/10/2018

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.

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Porto, Portugal
star
7.99
155 votes

#16 - Porto, Portugal

Season 9 - Episode 8 - Aired 7/2/2017

Food takes center stage in this tour of the northern Portugal city by Bourdain, whose local travel companions include his former Les Halles boss Jose Meirelles. A sumptuous pig tripe dinner at A Cozinha do Martinho, an at-home meal of sea lamprey and a stop at Café O Afonso for local specialty Francesinha highlight the trip which culminates with a traditional food celebration in the Douro Valley countryside.

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Uruguay
star
7.94
106 votes

#17 - Uruguay

Season 11 - Episode 2 - Aired 5/6/2018

Bourdain returns to Uruguay after a decade away and finds a progressive nation in the midst of social change, but with evident fragments of its colonial past, most notably in its local cuisine. Accompanied by Uruguayan native and restaurateur/chef Ignacio “Nacho” Mattos, the two visit his hometown of Santa Lucia for a home cooked Italian family meal made by his grandmother, head for a night out in Montevideo with local band Hablan Por La Espalda, sample drive-thru steaks, and cap off the trip with an asado (barbecue) with friends on a small island in Jose Ignacio.

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Russia
star
7.94
149 votes

#18 - Russia

Season 3 - Episode 5 - Aired 5/11/2014

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.

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Japan with Masa
star
7.93
202 votes

#19 - Japan with Masa

Season 8 - Episode 6 - Aired 11/13/2016

Guided by world-renowned chef Masa Takayama, Bourdain’s return trip to Japan begins with a tour of outdoor food markets in Kanazawa where they sample uni, steak-sized oysters, and grilled eel liver, followed by a conversation with an ex-geisha at her teahouse, and comes full circle with a special omakase experience at Tokyo’s acclaimed Ginza restaurant, Sushi Koi, where Masa trained as an apprentice.

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Jerusalem
star
7.93
215 votes

#20 - Jerusalem

Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired 9/15/2013

In the season premiere of Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, the host and crew make their first trip to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. While the political situation is often tense between the people living in these areas, Bourdain concentrates on their rich history, food and culture, and spends time with local chefs, home cooks, writers and amateur foodies.

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Seattle
star
7.92
135 votes

#21 - Seattle

Season 10 - Episode 7 - Aired 11/19/2017

Bourdain immerses himself in the “boom or bust” city of Seattle. Two industries are reshaping the city and its culture – tech and the newly legalized cannabis industry. Bourdain gets the skinny on the “tech bro” invasion of Capitol Hill, throws back a dozen succulent oysters at the Taylor Shellfish Company and enjoys fish & chips at the Pacific Inn Pub with band members of The Gods Themselves. Along the way, he also hangs out with legendary Seattle rocker, Mark Lanegan and mad food scientist, Nathan Myhrvold.

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Sichuan with Eric Ripert
star
7.91
210 votes

#22 - Sichuan with Eric Ripert

Season 8 - Episode 3 - Aired 10/16/2016

Michelin star chef, and all around good sport, Eric Ripert is introduced to China and Sichuan province by host and good friend Bourdain. Bourdain takes Ripert to the Sichuan province capital, Chengdu, testing his endurance with mouth-numbing, sinisterly spicy meals (like green peppercorn fish). They also visit the world’s largest stone Buddha, seek out a local favorite rabbit head snack, and visit a legendary distillery for some Baijiu, a fermented sorghum wine. Ripert will never forget this trip.

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Thailand
star
7.90
224 votes

#23 - Thailand

Season 3 - Episode 7 - Aired 6/1/2014

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.

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Hanoi
star
7.87
292 votes

#24 - Hanoi

Season 8 - Episode 1 - Aired 9/25/2016

Inspired by Graham Greene's words “... whatever you’re looking for, you will find here...” Bourdain joins the throngs of locals as he motorbikes through Vietnam’s capital, traverses its rapidly changing cityscape, and indulges in its singular cuisine with president Barack Obama, who, over a dish of Bun Cha, shares personal stories and reflects on his own international travels.

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French Alps
star
7.86
132 votes

#25 - French Alps

Season 10 - Episode 2 - Aired 10/8/2017

The gloves are off and the rivalry continues as Bourdain and his long time friend, three-Michelin-starred chef Eric Ripert, embark on a ski-and-cheese-filled journey through the French Alps – home advantage Ripert? Bourdain gets a glimpse into Ripert’s early life while tending a little too closely to cows, and overindulging in delicious cheese dishes. The pair team up to prepare a French meal, featuring caviar and steak au poivre, with the help of Ripert’s mentor Maurice Guillouet. Bourdain and Ripert also venture across the Italian border to La Maison Rose and surrender to Bourdain’s love of pasta with gnocchi, ravioli, and polenta.

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