‘Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown’ — The most-viewed episodes

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

CNN’s new movie “Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain” attempts to grapple with that legacy and reopen the conversation about how Bourdain is remembered. It may also inspire you to reminisce a bit by checking out Bourdain’s extensive TV catalogue.

As the consummate author, chef, storyteller, and guide through communities and cultures around the world, Bourdain started conversations and opened doors many never thought to go.

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

Whether you’re a long-time fan or a total newbie, here’s a look at the highest-rated episode of each season of the series, based on Nielsen data.

Season 1, Episode 2: Koreatown

In the first season of “Parts Unknown,” Bourdain quickly set himself apart from other food and travel show hosts through 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 phenomenon Roy Choi and artist David Choe, Bourdain revealed both the traumatic history of the neighborhood’s experience during the Rodney King riots and the area’s evolution into the multicultural hub it is today. .

Take a look inside Choe’s Los Angeles warehouse, where Bourdain sat for a painting:

Bourdain takes on Los Angeles but with a twist. Not the Hollywood sign, not Beverly Hills. Instead, he concentrates 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 chef took an embarrassing turn when Bourdain realized that the octopus he was supposed to fish for was already dead and had been thrown into the water from a nearby boat.

Discussions with local residents then revealed that the real-life mafia has little in common with the fictional Corleones. Things began to look up as he interacted with the locals and ate delicious Sicilian food, 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 when he suspects something is wrong:

Anthony Bourdain is perplexed when he is surrounded by half-frozen dead octopuses sinking on a fishing tour in Sicily.

Season 3, Episode 1: Punjab

In the Punjab region of northern India, Bourdain saw up close the lasting impacts of British imperialism. Once united in the days of the Indian Empire, the area was partitioned 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 late Maharaja, and grudgingly enjoyed various vegetarian meals.

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

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

Season 4, Episode 6: Iran

In an episode that lasted for years, Bourdain finally got a chance to travel to Iran.

When he visited 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 his experiences in the country.

“Iranians… take you to our house and take you to our hearts,” one family explained. “We’re extreme that way”:

When visiting Iran for “Parts Unknown,” Bourdain said “it’s neither east nor west, but always somewhere in between.” The country far exceeded his expectations.

Season 5, Episode 2: Miami

In many ways, Miami is unlike any other American city. As he immerses himself in this home of beaches, businesses, retirees and spring breakers, Bourdain tries to break it all down to discover what really makes Miami tick.

Investigate the city’s history as a home to Latino and Caribbean immigrants, as well as a base of operations for cocaine trafficking in the 1970s and 1980s. The allure of Miami’s lifestyle is illuminated, in part, through a ride with the godfather of punk (and Bourdain’s childhood hero) Iggy Pop and a lunchtime chat with musician Ahmir Khalib Thompson, aka Questlove.

“I consider the Miami sound to be the beginning of great 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 try.

With local restaurant owner Sean Brock as his guide, Bourdain set out to achieve the authentic Lowcountry experience through a stop at Waffle House, the late-night staple. Later, he learned about the food traditions of African slaves and the local Gullah culture preserved in southern cuisine.

“I don’t want anyone else to come. I like it the way it is,” said comedian Bill Murray, 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 has dinner with chef Sean Brock and comedian Bill Murray in Charleston, South Carolina. They chat about the city and southern cooking.

Season 7, Episode 4: Montana

Supported by the words of poet Jim Harrison, this episode takes Bourdain deep into 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 through stops at Galt Ranch, the mining town of Butte, and a camping trip with local hunters.

Take a look at the Native American relay sport that Bourdain calls “clavicle breaking, skull breaking, dangerous bone breaking”:

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

Season 8, Episode 1: Hanoi

In 2016, Bourdain returned to one of his favorite places on Earth: Vietnam. Observing 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 tourist-favorite Hạ Long Bay, where the rock formations are believed to bring good luck, and the popular Bun Suon-Thit-Mong Gio-Luoi food stall, where pork knuckles with rice were the only item on the menu.

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

See how Bourdain teaches Obama the art of sipping noodles:

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

Season 9, Episode 5: Antarctica

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

Through a trip to the South Pole, a visit to the Adélie penguins, and a few meals in dining rooms, Bourdain began to understand the appeal of working in such a remote place, where every job is equally important.

Working hard and playing hard – see how McMurdo residents celebrate the end of the summer season:

At the end of the summer season, there is a vibrant party culture in Antarctica. In “Parts Unknown”, Anthony Bourdain said that “one can have a good 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 fiscal policy that was exacerbated by predatory hedge fund lending. The result, a seemingly insurmountable financial crisis, was covered up with luxurious resorts to increase tourism. Yet when Bourdain looked beyond pina coladas, he found a nation full of artists, teachers, cooks, and activists committed to working and saving their homes.

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

Before 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 visited Berlin, a place where the party seemingly never ends. With remnants of the Berlin Wall still visible throughout the city, residents always have a reminder of both the city’s grim history and its relatively recent revival.

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 met with creatives, such as Le Pustra and Anton Newcombe, who have incorporated the city’s complex history into his work.

See how Bourdain talks to locals about the parallels between 1920s Berlin and the city today:

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

Season 12, Episode 1: Kenya

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

They took in the sights and sounds of Nairobi by shopping for some graphic tees, taking a ride on a Matatu party bus (and styling a Wolf Blitzer-themed Matatu of their own), and visiting a boxing academy, all before heading further afield to Lewa. Wildlife Conservancy, where the local Maasai community participated in animal conservation efforts.

Throughout the trip, Bell, whose name originates from Kenya, felt a complicated connection to the culture and shared his feelings with Bourdain about visiting Africa as a black man.

“It’s nice to have that connection even if the framework through which that connection was built was colonialism,” the “United Shades of America” ​​host said:

With giraffes roaming outdoors under their perch, W. Kamau Bell and Anthony Bourdain talk about what it means to travel to Africa.

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