10 Ways Anthony Bourdain Impacted Malaysia & The World
June 12, 2018 | BY Tien Chew
Chef, writer, TV host and producer, Anthony Bourdain has entertained the world for more than a decade since he exploded into the media scene in the early 2000's. With news of his recent passing, we pay homage by taking a look at how this frank individual made travelling and eating so exciting.
He Told The World How Great Malaysian Food Really Is
Bourdain's premier TV show No Reservations came to Penang to film episode nine of their eighth season. In it, he tried Line Clear's famous nasi kandar and Pasar Air Itam's asam laksa, praising both outlets for their full-on flavour foods and letting everyone outside of Malaysia know how first-rate our culinary scene really is.
He Wanted To Bring Together The World's Best Foods
While he enjoyed Penang's spicy-sour asam laksa, it was Sarawak's version that stole his heart. He loved it so much that he even wanted to include it in his big New York food market project that would see a collection of the world's greatest foods. When asked why he wanted to create the now unfortunately abandoned project, National Geographic quoted him saying that it was "pride and envy".
"I’ve always been bitter that we don’t have the kinds of hawker centers that Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Hong Kong have," said Bourdain.
He Revealed The Culinary World's Underbelly
Back in 2000, Bourdain wrote a collection of short stories that served as his memoirs, all while giving readers a look what goes on behind-the-scenes of a restaurant. It was a hit, propelling him into fame and giving millions of readers an entertaining look at the the good, the bad and the ugly of the culinary world. Because of his success as an author, Bourdain went on to publish a total of 12 books before his passing.
He Revealed How Kitchen Culture Could Be Shockingly Brutal
Early in his career, Bourdain revealed that he had went through all sorts of trials and tribulations as he moved from kitchen to kitchen. From addiction to drugs to dealing with obnoxious and difficult individuals in the work space, he showed us a glimpse into a world that not many people knew could be so tough.
He Made Travelling For Food Sexy
With his quippy remarks and observational acuity, Bourdain was as entertaining to watch as he was to listen, famous for his shows No Reservations, The Layover, and Parts Unknown. He gave us witty comments on food he loathed, glorified and made famous foods we have never heard or seen and made us want to follow in his footsteps and visit new places to eat in the process. And because of this, he won three Emmys and a Peabody award.
He Taught Us Why We Should Try Foods Like Sea Urchin
Bourdain famously declared Tokyo as the city he'd prefer to "die mid-meal", pronouncing his love of yakitori, ramen, sushi, including sea urchin, and many more delicacies around the globe that have since become popular eats thanks to his influence, including balut. Other not so celebrated items? He's been filmed trying seal's eyeballs and sheep's testicles.
He Made Genuine Friends Wherever He Went
In 2015, Bourdain and the crew of Parts Unknown revisited the Rumah Entalau longhouse in Sarawak as part of a promise he made to back in 2005 when he was filming for No Reservations. Those who watched either episode could feel Bourdain's genuineness when it came to mingling with the locals and making friends. This is true of his character, where after his death, friends he made around the world during his travels expressed their sorrow at the passing of their dear friend.
He Wasn't Afraid To Bash Foods He Disliked
Bourdain was unapologetically vocal about foods he didn't like. Even as a frequent traveller, he was quoted on Time a few years back saying, "no one has ever felt better after eating plane food. I think people only eat it because they’re bored. I don’t eat on planes. I like to arrive hungry”. When he really needs to eat during long-haul flights, he would load up on cheese and red wine.
He Was Remembered For His Honesty
His frank demeanour about his thoughts on new foods and reflections he had in and out of the culinary world were also sincere, which is one of the reasons why he had such a way with words and an impact with audiences.
He Brought Light To Underrated Cuisines
Besides already publically displaying his love for Malaysian food, he's uncovered amazing food places like Uruguay, the Philippines, Vietnam, Iran, and more. In an interview with National Geographic, Bourdain touches on Uruguay as a still undiscovered haven for food:
"Uruguay is an underrated destination. Montevideo in Uruguay—that’s to a great extent undiscovered. Everyone from Argentina knows how cool it is because they fill the place up during the season, but other than them, the rest of the world has yet to catch on. It’s a very laid-back place, the people are really nice, the beaches are incredible, and there’s great food," said Bourdain.
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