Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

The WORST episodes of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

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: 4/3/2022Network: CNN
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South Africa
star
7.19
199 votes

#1 - South Africa

Season 2 - Episode 6 - Aired 10/20/2013

Once considered the most dangerous city in the world, Johannesburg now barely makes the top 50. But the end of the apartheid has led to vast changes in the city. In this episode, Bourdain visits the suburb of Hillbrow (which remains a dangerous locale), spends a day in the life of a taxi driver and discovers the culture and food that make up modern day Johannesburg.

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Las Vegas
star
7.30
174 votes

#2 - Las Vegas

Season 3 - Episode 2 - Aired 4/20/2014

Bourdain travels to Las Vegas, a city known for over-indulgence, with food author Michael Ruhlman and visits locales that include Huntridge Tavern (in the shadow of the strip), and famed restaurant é by Jose Andres. Also featured in the episode are Penn Jillette, and former mayor Oscar Goodman.

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Libya
star
7.35
296 votes

#3 - Libya

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired 5/19/2013

Libyan hip-hop, Italian restaurants, tribal allegiances and post-war uncertainty in Libya. Bourdain looks at the country through personal stories, food--and the music of anti-Qaddafi rapper expats who returned to fight.

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Sicily
star
7.37
196 votes

#4 - Sicily

Season 2 - Episode 5 - Aired 10/13/2013

Parts Unknown explores the Sicilian way of life, which puts a premium on savoring family, life, and food. Bourdain travels in search of those foods as he eats his way around the island. He makes his home base at the Villa Monaci, on the outskirts of Catania with his enthusiastic, fast-talking sidekicks who counter the otherwise relaxed tempo and epic “food porn” of this episode.

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New Jersey
star
7.38
98 votes

#5 - New Jersey

Season 5 - Episode 5 - Aired 5/31/2015

Bourdain travels to his childhood home state with his brother Chris and rekindles memories at classic roadside joint Hiram’s, known for its fried hotdogs, and Barnegat Light in Ocean County. He heads further down the shore to Atlantic City and stops by the Knife and Fork, Docks Oyster House with local reporter Brian Donohue, the Baltimore Grill to see husband and wife comedians Rich Vos and Bonnie McFarlane, and tours Asbury Park with none other than famed musician Southside Johnny.

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Jamaica
star
7.40
141 votes

#6 - Jamaica

Season 4 - Episode 8 - Aired 11/16/2014

Bourdain heads to Jamaica, a destination well known for delicious Caribbean delicacies and feel-good vibes. The host travels along the Northeast region of the island and explores life in Port Antonio and Winnifred Beach. He also delves into the importance of music legend Bob Marley, with his producer Chris Blackwell, and takes a side trip to the home of author Ian Fleming (the setting of James Bond novels). A main topic in this episode is the ever-burgeoning tourist industry and how it continues to affect the local population.

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Rome
star
7.40
168 votes

#7 - Rome

Season 8 - Episode 9 - Aired 12/4/2016

Bourdain visits Rome and his Roman holiday takes a cinematic turn, influenced by tour guides actress Asia Argento and director Abel Ferrara, and a host of larger-than-life Romans who take him inside a Rome for the locals.

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Scotland
star
7.41
167 votes

#8 - Scotland

Season 5 - Episode 3 - Aired 5/10/2015

Bourdain visits one of his favorite cities in Europe, Glasgow. He makes his first stop at the Old College Bar for a pint, learns knife defense techniques from instructor Mark Davies, and tests his physical endurance while stalking red stag with writer A.A. Gill in the Scottish Highlands. Along the way Bourdain indulges in some surprising Scottish fare including deep-fried haggis, roasted grouse with bread sauce, and fresh venison.

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Budapest
star
7.41
122 votes

#9 - Budapest

Season 5 - Episode 6 - Aired 6/7/2015

Drawing inspiration from iconic Hungarian born cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, Bourdain explores the beauty, culture, history, architecture and food of Budapest. The culinary dishes sampled during his journey include goulash, fisherman’s soup, blood sausage, stuffed cabbage and, during a stop at restaurant Pleh Csarda, a golden brown pancake heaped with chicken liver and bone marrow, fried schnitzel and venison stew.

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Cologne, Germany
star
7.43
188 votes

#10 - Cologne, Germany

Season 7 - Episode 7 - Aired 6/5/2016

The 40-day Cologne Carnival celebration sets the tone for Bourdain’s visit to this city that boasts many delicacies (kolsch, mett, blood sausage with himmel und erde, schnitzel), and maintains a peaceful atmosphere and sense of tolerance, despite the recent New Year’s Eve assaults linked to incoming refugees, which the host discusses with the locals.

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Korea
star
7.43
134 votes

#11 - Korea

Season 5 - Episode 1 - Aired 4/26/2015

The season premiere of Parts Unknown uses reverse chronology to tell the story of the host’s return trip to South Korea after a 10-year absence. Bourdain experiences the nuances of hyper-modern Seoul which has its sights set on becoming the world’s top exporter of popular culture. Food options include Korean fried chicken, and a vintage Korean "army" stew, budae jjigae, with Spam, canned baked beans, frankfurters, ramen noodles and Kimchi.

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Chicago
star
7.47
198 votes

#12 - Chicago

Season 7 - Episode 2 - Aired 5/1/2016

Chicago’s iconic Old Town Ale House and its colorful patrons are the gateway to Bourdain’s tour of the “City by the Lake,” which includes the host dining on breaded steak sandwiches at Ricobene’s with music producer Steve Albini, sampling Mapo Doufu at Chinatown’s Sze Chuan with Chef Stephanie Izard, and a home cooked meal with Chicago-raised rapper Lupe Fiasco and his mom, plus a tour of comedy mecca Second City with mainstage performer Paul Jurewicz.

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Indonesia
star
7.48
50 votes

#13 - Indonesia

Season 12 - Episode 3 - Aired 10/7/2018

A shadow puppet performance provides an entry into understanding Indonesia, a country comprised of thousands of islands whose people endured political turmoil, and one in which, Bourdain discovers, food is the great unifier. In this fourth largest country in the world, every area has it’s own unique traditions. In Jakarta, Bourdain eats at a Padang Restaurant where nearly every menu item comes to the table; while in Bali he visits the beach, commenting on yoga before joining in a traditional Balinese Funeral ceremony.

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Lower East Side
star
7.48
54 votes

#14 - Lower East Side

Season 12 - Episode 7 - Aired 11/11/2018

Bourdain takes a personal journey through this formerly bohemian New York City neighborhood, as he meets, shares meals and reflects with music, film and art trailblazers including Richard Hell, Deborah Harry and Chris Stein, Lydia Lunch, Fab 5 Freddy, Danny Fields, Amos Poe, Jim Jarmusch, Kembra Pfahler, John Lurie, Clayton Patterson and Harley Flanagan, whose collective cultural impact in the 1970’s and ’80’s has sustained through the decades.

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The Greek Islands
star
7.48
207 votes

#15 - The Greek Islands

Season 7 - Episode 3 - Aired 5/8/2016

Life on the Greek islands, home to a fiercely independent and proud population, is relatively secluded, steeped in tradition, and revolves around local food, wine, close friends and family. On the island of Naxos, Bourdain heads offshore to dive to a sunken ship wreck, drink raki with the local residents, and sample cuisine fresh from the fishing boat, including octopus salad, salatouri (skate), and rofos (grouper) with olive oil and lemon. While exploring the island, he meets with politically outspoken musical group, The Stray Bitches, and travels to the mountainous village of Apeiranthos where he attends a traditional celebration in the town square.

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Lagos, Nigeria
star
7.49
116 votes

#16 - Lagos, Nigeria

Season 10 - Episode 3 - Aired 10/15/2017

Once considered the most dangerous city in the world, Lagos is, in many ways, the epicenter of modern Africa. The driving force of the city is a pervasive, almost pathologically positive outlook, a sincerely entrenched “can do” spirit. The ingenuity of the Nigerian people is the focus of Bourdain’s travels as he explores its food, music, and rich cultural diversity. Among the food offerings are fresh fish dishes, spicy soups, a great deal of beef, and the ubiquitous pounded yam. Bourdain also spends time with Femi, Seun and Yeni Kuti, the children of Fela Kuti, a family that is still at the heart of Lagos’ creative, political and cultural scene.

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Armenia
star
7.50
92 votes

#17 - Armenia

Season 11 - Episode 4 - Aired 5/20/2018

Bourdain takes a wide-angle look at the culture and history of this country, heavily influenced by Europe and Russia, with guides musician of Armenian descent Serj Tankian (System of a Down), and historian/Armenian resident Richard Giragosian. Breaking bread with Tankian at the restaurant Dolmama in Yerevan, during dinners with locals, the host explores the native and diaspora Armenian populations’ survival and achievements against the odds.

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Tblisi, Georgia
star
7.52
178 votes

#18 - Tblisi, Georgia

Season 7 - Episode 5 - Aired 5/22/2016

Sidekick Zamir Gotta temporarily upstages Bourdain in this tour of the mountainous Eurasian country Georgia, featuring the cities Tbilisi, Batumi, and Khurvaleti (bordering Russia), with traditional dishes that include spicy chashashuli stew, chkmeruli at Café Gabriadze and an epic meal at the Black Lion. On the political front, acclaimed journalist Tamara Chergoleishvili (Tabula magazine editor-in-chief) offers Bourdain an insider’s POV of her country’s changing views.

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Detroit
star
7.52
178 votes

#19 - Detroit

Season 2 - Episode 8 - Aired 11/10/2013

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.

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Sri Lanka
star
7.53
112 votes

#20 - Sri Lanka

Season 10 - Episode 5 - Aired 10/29/2017

As peace spreads throughout Sri Lanka following the end of its brutal civil war, Bourdain travels to the once divided nation to experience the reinvigorated people, food and landscapes. Starting in Colombo, the country’s capital, Bourdain discovers change in in a place he visited nearly a decade ago as he enjoys street food on The Galle Face Green, dining on light curries and lots of seafood. Taking a 10-hour train to the northern “time capsule” city of Jaffna, Bourdain experiences crab curry, a dish he calls the “holy grail of Sri Lankan cuisine,” for its spicy and fiery flavors.

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Laos
star
7.54
165 votes

#21 - Laos

Season 9 - Episode 3 - Aired 5/14/2017

The rich sensory experience of Laos with its enchanting scenery, distinctive aromas, and exceptional food are explored in Bourdain’s trip to this Southeast Asian country which also continues to suffer the effects of the Secret War by the U.S in the 1960’s-1970’s. In his travels, the host takes in a boat festival, dines on imperial dishes at the Ban Lao hotel prepared by Mama Vahn, and communes with residents who have fallen victim to active bombs that still pepper the countryside.

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Minas Gerais, Brazil
star
7.54
139 votes

#22 - Minas Gerais, Brazil

Season 8 - Episode 8 - Aired 11/27/2016

Bourdain explores the Brazilian heartland, home to baroque architecture, lush hillsides and mineiro cuisine which includes broiled chicken served in a sauce made using its own blood.

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Colombia
star
7.54
385 votes

#23 - Colombia

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired 4/28/2013

The public face of Colombia has changed immensely over the past ten years and is still changing for the better. Tony will explore several regions of the country from the mountains down to the Caribbean coast to the coca leaf growing inlands formerly controlled by drug cartels.

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Punjab, India
star
7.55
276 votes

#24 - Punjab, India

Season 3 - Episode 1 - Aired 4/13/2014

In the season premiere of Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, the host dives into the ever-changing state of Punjab with a trip to Amritsar, sampling cuisine at the dhabas (roadside restaurants), a gurpurb festival (Sikh celebration), and a free community vegetarian restaurant, while meeting with local residents who give their perspectives on life in this sometimes contentious region of India, bordering Pakistan.

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Buenos Aires
star
7.55
193 votes

#25 - Buenos Aires

Season 8 - Episode 7 - Aired 11/20/2016

A carouse through Argentina, where chicken is considered vegan and psychoanalysis is a part of everyday life. An inculcation to the thinning middle class, successful integration of multiculturalism and to their pastimes such as weekly carnivals, amateur football and laid back airplane counting.

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