The BEST Episodes of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!
Last Updated: Dec 28, 2019
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.
#1 - Shanghai
Season 4 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 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.
#2 - Asturias, Spain
Season 12 - Episode 2 - Aired Sep 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.
#3 - Bhutan
Season 11 - Episode 8 - Aired Jun 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.
#4 - Lyon, France
Season 3 - Episode 3 - Aired Apr 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.
#5 - Antarctica
Season 9 - Episode 5 - Aired Jun 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.
#6 - Iran
Season 4 - Episode 6 - Aired Nov 2, 2014
Anthony Bourdain explores an Iran few Americans have visited since the 1980s -- a country that's complicated and changing.
#7 - Copenhagen
Season 2 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 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.
#8 - Kenya
Season 12 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 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?
#9 - Behind the Scenes
Season 12 - Episode 6 - Aired Oct 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.
#10 - Miami
Season 5 - Episode 2 - Aired May 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).
#11 - Berlin
Season 11 - Episode 6 - Aired Jun 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.
#12 - Mexico City
Season 3 - Episode 4 - Aired May 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.
#13 - Congo
Season 1 - Episode 8 - Aired Jun 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.
#14 - Bourdain’s Impact
Season 12 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 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.
#15 - Uruguay
Season 11 - Episode 2 - Aired May 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.
#16 - Seattle
Season 10 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 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.
#17 - Montana
Season 7 - Episode 4 - Aired May 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.
#18 - Japan with Masa
Season 8 - Episode 6 - Aired Nov 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.
#19 - Jerusalem
Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 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.
#20 - San Sebastian
Season 9 - Episode 2 - Aired May 7, 2017
Bourdain visits the coastal city of San Sebastian in the Basque Country, famous for its spectacular views and incomparable fresh seafood. Alongside friend and renowned chef Juan Mari Arzak, Bourdain dines at favorite haunt Ganbara for its popular dish of seared wild mushrooms and foie gras with raw egg yolk, and is given a taste of the finest Basque delicacies prepared simply, including grilled turbot at famed restaurant Elkano, in Getaria.
#21 - Porto, Portugal
Season 9 - Episode 8 - Aired Jul 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.
#22 - Hanoi
Season 8 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 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.
#23 - Cajun Mardi Gras
Season 11 - Episode 7 - Aired Jun 17, 2018
In this celebration of Louisiana’s Cajun culture, complete with Zydeco music and a crawfish boil, Bourdain goes off the beaten path and takes part in the less familiar Mardi Gras traditions of the region’s history stemming from the French Middle Ages. Donning a conical hat, mask and colorful fringed costume, the host participates in the day long Courir de Mardi Gras in Mamou. Meals include a home cooked meal in Grand Coteau, lunch at Laura’s 2 in Lafayette with creole cowboys, and boudin & cracklings at Billy’s in Opelousas.
#24 - Thailand
Season 3 - Episode 7 - Aired Jun 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.
#25 - Sichuan with Eric Ripert
Season 8 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 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.