22 places chef and adventurer Anthony Bourdain loved best


Chef, documentarian, wit extraordinaire and one of the most unforgettable travelers ever, Anthony Bourdain left a legacy that continues to resonate years after his death.

On “Bourdain Day” – June 25, his birthday – we celebrate his legacy of fearless, frank and flavorful travel by spotlighting 22 destinations all over the world that he visited and perhaps loved best.

During his inimitable career, the late, beloved Anthony Bourdain took viewers on a culinary journey throughout the world © CNN

1. Myanmar (Burma)

“It’s something really special to be thrilled by ruins – hair-standing-up-on-the-back-of-your-neck-excited by a view. – Anthony Bourdain

Aside from admiring the temples and ruins of Myanmar, Bourdain paid a visit to a Yangon tea shop. Philippe Lajaunie, the owner of Brasserie Les Halles, where Bourdain previously worked as a chef, took him to a full-moon festival, and the pair boarded a train for a 600km (375-mile) trip to Bagan that took over 19 hours.

6 fabulous day trips from Yangon

2. The Greek islands

“There’s a lot of delicious food. The place is, as one would expect, gorgeous.” – Anthony Bourdain

Bourdain visited the Greek island of Naxos, where he drank raki with the local residents and dove around an early-20th-century shipwreck. He also traveled to the mountainous village of Apiranthos, where he attended a traditional celebration in the town square.

How many Greek islands can you see in a week?

Anthony Bourdain walking through abandoned building with an another man in Detroit.
Anthony Bourdain visited the Packard Plant and examined Detroit’s urban decay – and renaissance © CNN

3. Detroit, Michigan, USA

“Of all the American cities, this is easily one of the most awesome.” – Anthony Bourdain

The celebrity chef pondered Detroit’s storied past at the famed Packard Plant and examined the current state of the city’s decaying infrastructure. He featured firefighters, volunteer park workers, cafe owners and a high-end chef, all to highlight the promise of the future through the citizens who are rebuilding their communities.

All you need to know about Motor City before your trip

4. Québec, Canada

“You will see food porn in this week’s episode so epic, so enticing, so devastating in its richness, flavors and sheer volume as to endanger the life.” – Anthony Bourdain

Bourdain sampled local delicacies in Montréal and Québec City and explored ice fishing on the St Lawrence River. While in Québec, he dined at Le Continental and at L’Affaire est Ketchup, a quirky kitchen and restaurant where the chef cooks on two four-burner electric stoves.

The best free things to do in Montréal

Anthony Bourdain arrives to snowy Antartica
Anthony Bourdain in Antarctica for “Parts Unknown” © CNN

5. Antarctica

“It takes a special breed of hard-ass to not just make it down here, but like it. You got to be tough.” – Anthony Bourdain

Bourdain’s Antarctica adventure included a helicopter ride over an active volcano, visiting a colony of Adele penguins and hanging out with the scientists who live in extreme and surreal conditions at McMurdo Station. In an environment with no access to fresh food, fruits or vegetables, he enjoyed the rations prepared by camp manager Rae Spain.

This is your brain on Antarctica: penguins, icebergs, and a lifetime supply of awe

6. Zanzibar, Tanzania

“Zanzibar has a lot of Arab, Persian and Indian influence, which makes the food spicy and quite interesting.” – Anthony Bourdain

When he visited Tanzania for an African safari adventure, Bourdain went off to check out the island of Zanzibar. He enjoyed the island’s food, which included fried mandazi, street food, grilled seafood and famous Zanzibari pizza, saying it was very different to that of mainland Tanzania.

13 places you should visit in Tanzania

Antthony Bourdain milking a cow in the French Alps
When he visited the the French Alps, Anthony Bourdain milked a cow © CNN

7. The French Alps

“God bless the French. They can’t go too long – not even down a mountain – without eating well.” – Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain was joined by his friend Eric Ripert in the French Alps, where he braved the slopes and ordered some of the finest foods the region has to offer, including wine and all types of cheese. Ripert offered to pay him in caviar if he could prove that he could successfully milk a cow.

The Tour de Mont Blanc: the ultimate mountain hike

8. Bahia, Brazil

“It’s a place where everybody is sexy, where even the ugly people are hot.” – Anthony Bourdain

Traveling to Brazil to visit Bahia – which is known as the “African heart of Brazil” – Bourdain visited its legendary food vendors and fishing neighborhoods in Salvador. He also enjoyed a barbecue on the beach, and was a fan of the caipirinha, which he described as the “indispensable icon of Brazilian beach culture on the beach.”

The best national parks in Brazil: jungles, jaguars and jaw-dropping waterfalls

Anthony Bourdain attempting tegumi wrestling in Okinawa, Japan.
While in Okinawa, Anthony Bourdain attempted tegumi, a version of sumo © CNN

9. Okinawa, Japan

“Okinawa is where I found out that having a thumb crunched into the cartilage of the ear can really, really hurt.” – Anthony Bourdain

Bourdain explored the alluring island of Okinawa, where he ate delicious yakisoba (stir-fried noodles) and found out that he was not “completely horrible” at tegumi, a version of sumo. He found Okinawa to be decidedly laid-back compared to mainland Japan.

Set out on Japan’s best road trips

10. Uruguay

“Welcome to the tiny, overlooked but enchanted land of Uruguay, one of my favorite places to visit.” – Anthony Bourdain

While in Uruguay, Anthony traveled around the cities of Montevideo and Santa Lucia, as well as the island of José Ignacio, with chef and restaurateur Ignacio “Nacho” Mattos. He ate the unofficial national sandwich at Bar Arocena: a chivito, made with ham, steak, bacon, cheese, egg, mayonnaise and garnishes.

Montevideo, Uruguay is South America’s secret foodie destination

 Anthony Bourdain dining with a companion in Iran.
While in Iran, Anthony Bourdain marvelled at the complexity of the food © CNN

11. Iran

“Of all the places, of all the countries, all the years of traveling, it’s here, in Iran, that I am greeted most warmly by total strangers.” – Anthony Bourdain

While in Iran, Bourdain visited Esfahan and Tehran and enjoyed traditional Persian cooking at two private homes.  He marveled at the complexity of its food, and dined on long-simmered stews, egg-stuffed meatballs, turkey-filled haleem porridge and chelow kebab.

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12. Trinidad

“Trinidad prides itself on its multicultural, multiethnic makeup. If one judges solely by the food, it is a glorious stew indeed.” – Anthony Bourdain

On a trip to the Caribbean, Bourdain discovered how the island of Trinidad has turned a history of colonialism into a nonstop celebration of multicultural food, music and good times. Arriving shortly before the famous Carnival, he spoke with locals and attended a steel-orchestra rehearsal.

8 of the best surf spots in the Caribbean: turquoise waves and paradise beach breaks

13. South Korea

“I have, for some time, believed that the chefs doing the most interesting work in America are Korean.” – Anthony Bourdain

On Bourdain’s return trip to South Korea, he experienced the nuances of hyper-modern Seoul. He ate a soup made from beondegi (silkworm larva) plus favorites like Korean fried chicken and barbecue, and also partook in karaoke and played video games.

Tips for getting around South Korea

Anthony Bourdain driving a vintage car in Havana.
Anthony Bourdain got into a Cuban vibe in Havana © CNN

14. Havana, Cuba

“Even crumbling from neglect, Havana is the most beautiful city in all of Latin America or the Caribbean.” – Anthony Bourdain

When Bourdain visited Cuba, he spent time in the bustling capital of Havana, and also hung out in the slower-paced Santiago. His conclusion was that the rum in Havana is the finest in the world, and the music fantastic.

All about visiting Cuba with kids

15. Ethiopia

“I learned a lot about a beautiful country while making this episode, and enjoyed doing it.” – Anthony Bourdain

Bourdain traveled from the busy streets of Addis Ababa to rural villages to discover Ethiopia. Chef Marcus Samuelsson and his model wife Maya Haile acted as his guides, and they drank local coffee (flavored with salt instead of sugar) and ate injera bread and beyaynetu platters.

Read about the newest UNESCO sites around the world

16. West Texas, USA

“Thank you for showing me this ludicrously amazing, beautiful place.” – Anthony Bourdain

While visiting the vast and hardscrabble land of West Texas, Bourdain dined on fresh braised goat, jalapeño cheese grits and buttermilk biscuits at the Means Ranch Company. He also checked out Marfa, a community where artists, cowboys and blue-collar workers live side by side.

A complete guide to the Texas Hill Country

Anthony Bourdain sitting on the banks of a river in Korea.
Anthony Bourdain enjoyed meat and fish skewers on the banks of a river in Laos © CNN

17. Laos

“Laos is the kind of place that can easily capture your heart and not let you go.” – Anthony Bourdain

While in Laos, Bourdain dined on imperial Lao cuisine at the MyBanLao Hotel, and participated in Boun Ok Phansa, a colorful festival that celebrates the end of Buddhist Lent. He also stopped at Phosi Market for khao soi and khao piak sen, and enjoyed meat and fish skewers on the banks of a river.

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18. Peru

“Whole different flavor spectrum, right? All new. It’s almost like you need a new section of your tongue.” – Anthony Bourdain

While in Peru, Bourdain and Eric Ripert explored the far reaches of the Indigenous Andes in search of a rare variety of wild cacao that is said to be the best in the world. After having what he described as a “great adventure,” they moved from hip, modern Lima back in time into pre-Columbian Peru.

Experience the best of Peru with these 8 iconic hikes

Anthony Bourdain at a decorated wall in the Lower East Side of New York CIty
Anthony Bourdain explored the Lower East Side of his beloved New York City © CNN

19. New York City, New York, USA

“This is a show about a very special place, a special time and some very special people. – Anthony Bourdain

Bourdain dined with actor Bill Murray in Yonkers during No Reservations. In the series finale of Parts Unknown, titled “Lower East Side,” he took a personal journey through the neighborhood to chat with musicians like Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, as well as New York–based artists and filmmakers.

New York City, in 100 cups of coffee

20. Jamaica

“Let’s accept as a premise that this is as close to paradise as it gets.” – Anthony Bourdain

A visit to the coastal city of Port Antonio was on the agenda for Bourdain in Jamaica. He visited GoldenEye, the estate of James Bond novelist Ian Fleming, and dined with music producer Chris Blackwell. On the culinary front, he enjoyed local dishes such as jerk chicken, curry goat, and ackee and salt fish.

Jamaica vs the Bahamas: which Caribbean island is for you?

21. Copenhagen, Denmark

“I gotta be honest: I usually try to avoid clean, orderly countries without massive social problems.” – Anthony Bourdain

Visiting Copenhagen, Bourdain dined on reindeer moss at noma, the two-star Michelin restaurant run by chef René Redzepi. He also foraged on a beach, and attended the Saturday-night staff meeting at noma, during which chefs submit their culinary ideas.

7 unmissable museums in Copenhagen

Barack Obama and Anthony Bourdain enjoy a beer in Vietnam.
Barack Obama and Anthony Bourdain enjoyed noodles and beer in Hanoi, Vietnam © CNN

22. Vietnam

“My first love; a place I remain besotted with, fascinated by.” – Anthony Bourdain

Bourdain explored Hanoi, the capital of his his beloved Vietnam, by motorbike, and examined how the country is thriving and growing in the 21st century. He dined with former US president Barack Obama, and described their meal as “low plastic stools, cheap but delicious noodles, cold Hanoi beer.”

15 of the top experiences in Vietnam

This article was first published Aug 20, 2019 and updated Jun 21, 2024.



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