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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A Few Thoughts on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations

Posted By on Wed, Jan 9, 2008 at 1:54 PM

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Monday was the season premiere of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations on the Travel Channel. As I wrote then, this is probably my favorite food-related show ever. I considered recapping each episode, as Jeanette did with Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, but given my wacky schedule, I'm as likely to miss the next three or four episodes as not. (Yes, I know about DVR. No, I'm not going to buy a Tivo.) Besides, I'd rather you watch it for yourself!

At any rate, having seen the first episode of the new season, I wanted to reaffirm how much I love this show. I know Bourdain isn't for everyone -- though if you disliked the more "macho" aspects of Kitchen Confidential, he's really toned that down; the snark remains, however -- but I can't think of another show that explores the intersection of food and culture and just plain everyday living with this much knowledge and passion.

The first episode took us to Singapore, where Bourdain spent much of his time visiting the hawker markets. These are small food courts, essentially, and the center of Singapore cuisine. Individual stalls serve such alluring Singaporean dishes as chile crab -- which basically looks like the most deliciously messy meal ever -- and the decepitively simple-sounding chicken rice. Good stuff.

Though, frankly, I could have done without the segment where Bourdain visits a shopping-mall reflexologist for a foot massage. Sayeth my wife: "Good lord, man, get a pedicure." The nasty bits, indeed.

Here, courtesy of regular commenter Dan D., is a link to a very good Bourdain interview by the AV Club.

-Ian Froeb

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