The 11 Best Episodes of Bourdain’s Parts Unknown
9. 3.03 “Lyon”
Although Bourdain spent most of the first two seasons of Parts Unknown exploring street food, regional specialties, and home-cooked favorites, this season three episode where he went on a food pilgrimage to Paul Bocuse’s restaurant in Lyon is memorable because we were able to see how Bourdain was inspired by the nouvelle cuisine of France, and how it affected his career. Along with fellow restauranteur Daniel Boulud, Bourdain explores Lyon and is able to spend time talking with Bocuse himself.
Watching these three passionate artists bond over food is especially moving, especially because within four years, both Bocuse and Bourdain would be gone.
10. 4.06 “Iran”
In the season four episode “Iran”, Bourdain steps into a country that most Americans have been told is an enemy nation. There, he found warmth, even as murals on street corners proclaimed, “Death to America.” Although the overall tone of the episode was of overwhelming caution, Bourdain was able to enjoy many different regional dishes including a huge variety of rice, ghormeh sabzi, and a delicious cucumber yogurt soup known as ab-doogh-khiar.
11. 6.08 “Charleston”
Bourdain’s initial attempts to showcase the cuisine of Charleston were met with derision. His earlier episode of No Reservations which was filmed in the city was laughed off as being too touristy.
As such, he vowed to make up for it the second time around, and his adventures with Sean Brock on the season six episode of Parts Unknown were much more interesting. Brock, a well-known local chef, took Bourdain to a dive bar papered with dollar bills, and together they enjoyed plenty of barbeque, as well as chops, steak, and hash at a local Waffle House.