Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown returns this Sunday, April 26 – 9 p.m. on CNN, for Season 5.
There won’t be much Europe. This isn’t surprising.
The continent above Africa is too clean, too easy, and too claimed. They have their problems, sure – maybe money, maybe religion, maybe the fact that Europe (like everywhere that’s not Asia) isn’t Asia. But as the place our Western culture was created and then shipped overseas from, the tales of Europe have mostly been told. You don’t need Bourdain to tell you about the Colosseum or Athens’ Acropolis, after all.
Still, there are a couple Atlantic entries: Glasgow, in Scotland. And Budapest, Hungary.
One is infamously tough, to the point its attitude and lethalness has become an urban legend – it’s cool in that sort of cigarette-hanging-from-the-mouth, leather jacket in a non-ironic way, and there’s probably some truth to everything you’ve heard. (I’ve never been, but I’m guessing and running away with that assumption.) Glasgow is, in one way (hint: its religion), so backwards and proud of it, you almost envy that bull-headedness.
The other is post-Soviet terrific – Budapest is a known backpacker favourite, a flame for just-graduated moths with little money, thirsty throats, and the desire to have a blast somewhere other than Italy, France, or England.
This generation isn’t its parents’ generation – there’s a pride on having your own place, on having lost yourself for a week somewhere untapped. At least, untapped to a limited point, so it still has the comforts of home, like clean showers, WiFi, and a Starbucks for when you’re hungover, overheating, have to pee, and are craving your 20 ounce North American-sized coffee.
The fifth season – which we’re in already, despite the fact that Parts Unknown just launched in 2013 – kicks off in Seoul.
Here’s Bourdain on Kimchi and kitchens in that country between Japan and China:
I have, for some time, believed that the chefs doing the most interesting work in America – chefs who are in fact redefining what “American food” means – are Korean.
When I go out for dinner with non-Korean chef friends, all they want these days is Korean food. They get excited by the deep, tangy, spicy funk of kimchi; thrilled by the little plates of pickles and snacks that accompany the main courses; intrigued by what is, to them, often a whole new spectrum of flavours.
Here’s the full list of Season 5’s locations for Parts Unknown, starting with Sunday’s Episode 1:
- Korea (April 26)
- Miami (May 3)
- Scotland (May 10)
- Madagascar (May 17)
- New Jersey (May 31)
- Budapest (June 7)
- Hawaii (June 14)
- Beirut (June 21)