- As he once called himself a ‘Southeast Asia’ enthusiast (Parts Unknown – Hanoi), Anthony Bourdain was no stranger to Vietnam, the one place in his journeys to Indochina he had explored in-depth in both the regional cuisine and the culture, from north to south. In 2016, after the visit of President Obama, Anthony Bourdain became even more familiar to the Vietnamese people since they recognized him with the name ‘Mr. Bun Cha’, as he had told us.
With his love for food and culture equally, Anthony Bourdain indeed had inspired so many traveling souls to come to Vietnam and enjoy the tastes, especially Vietnamese street food. To him, traveling without discovering the food scene, the essence of cuisine, the cooking, and the eating… is not traveling in any sense of the word. And to truly know the foods, you’ll have to know the stories behind, the people who invented the food and the land. You’ll have to get to the street, sit on the plastic stools on the sidewalk and be surrounded by the locals. Only then, you can really enjoy the food.
Anthony Bourdain Quotes on the meaning of traveling:
“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life—and travel—leaves marks on you.”
Wanted to experience everything, Anthony Bourdain always tried to get closer to the deeper part of travel. The parts where the act of traveling is really powerful to make you change whether you want to or not, notice it or not. He was committed to the journey of looking for the unobserved, the bits that are often overlooked, sometimes not pretty. A journey like that often changes a person’s perspective of life and gets them closer to what is real.
Anthony Bourdain Quotes on Food Experience:
What can be happier than strolling the streets of Hanoi, randomly sitting on a vendor chair and slurping a steaming noodle soup on a chilly day? Our chef obviously had a taste of that bliss and drew happiness from that very simple experience. And you can too, with the same mindset.
And he lived true to that idea. Knowing the food, finding the food and enjoying the food are all parts of an adventure. He often found that adventure most exciting and exhilarating where foods were most simple, cheap, useful to the everyday life. Just like in this quote of his:
In Southeast Asia, with Vietnam as the most outstanding example of simple food that can make eaters coming back for more, Anthony Bourdain had found a new taste which the westerner food chains couldn’t give him. Food in Vietnam is composed of easy-to-find, local ingredients that are combined in very simple ways to create much more refined flavors and textures. With herbs and sauces used differently in each region, Vietnam food is an adventure that is never ending for you to discover.
Anthony Bourdain Quotes about Vietnam:
“Going to Vietnam the first time was life-changing for sure. Maybe because it was all so new and different to my life before and the world I grew up in. The food, culture, landscape, and smell; they’re all inseparable. It just seemed like another planet; a delicious one that sort of sucked me in and never let go.”
And way back to 2005, Anthony Bourdain already had fallen in love with the country. His experience also changes what people knew about Vietnamese cuisine. Him digging in a bowl of Pho, taking a bite of ‘the best banh mi in the world’ in Hoi An all drew more attention to Vietnamese food, urged people to come to Vietnam and try their daily local dishes and made him a hero to Vietnamese people.
The visit of President Obama in 2016 was indeed a special event to both Anthony Bourdain and Vietnamese people. It’s the first time in history a United State President seen eating a local food in a local restaurant surrounded by the local people. And he showed no hesitation to enjoy the food he never knew before. Just like that, everyone gets closer.
“He seemed to enjoy himself sitting on a low plastic stool eating noodles and pork bits with chopsticks.” – Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown – Hanoi.