Anthony Bourdain

Chef and travel junkie, Bourdain anchored 'No Reservations' on Discovery Travel & Living
Winning an award at the 2014 Creative Emmy Awards
Winning an award at the 2014 Creative Emmy Awards

What is the vilest thing youve ever eatenapart from sheep testicles in Morocco, ants eggs in Mexico, a raw seal eyeball as part of a traditional Inuit seal hunt, and a whole cobrabeating heart, blood, bile, meat and allin Vietnam

The fermented shark in Iceland was really, really unpleasant. They take shark meat and rot it underground for six months. I didnt like that. Uzbekistan was not my favourite culinary destination either. But the best (or worst)example is the live octopus in Korea. It grabs hold of your tongue and tries to cling to the side of your mouth as youre chewing it. That was a little challenging.

Where would you draw the line What would you never eat

Im having fun. How bad can it be Im lucky to be in a place. If people tell me something is good in their country, Im going to try it. Im not looking to shock anybody. If I show up in Vietnam and they say,Well, you have to try the cobra heart, I think, why not.

On your India trip, you chomped your way through the streets of Mumbai and Calcutta and savouredroyal Rajasthan What made the biggest impact

Well, I think my favourite place was the Halal Market in Mumbai, just fantastic street food. I also had minced meat and eggs fried up in chapati bread and brains. This is a good street for food. Vada-pav or what I call the Bombay Burger doesnt sound all that promising in theory, but thats the best thing I have ever eaten. It tastes delicious and there is no meat in here at all. And, of course, I enjoyed the paan.

Which Indian culinary bastion would you like to storm next

Kerala, or South India. The whole region has been spoken of very highly by chefs. And, I like spice

You once said, I dont know why people pay me to write this shit. Whats your next book/project

Im working on my fourth crime novel now and in the middle of shooting a fourth season of No Reservations.

If the world had space for two superchefs, who would the other be, apart from you

I was never a great chef. I dont see myself like Gordon Ramsay or Thomas Keller. I mean, Im very aware of the fact that Im lucky.

Your most perfect meal to date

The perfect meal Ive had so many. If Ive learned anything, you cant look for it. The perfect meal finds you. Its usually something very simple like a bowl of pho in Vietnam or a plate of roasted bone marrow in London. Its always something very simple. Its not so much what is being cooked as who is cooking it and under what circumstances. Context is so important to the perfect meal. I think a Bombay Burger is just as likely to be a perfect meal as a meal at the best restaurant in Paris.

And, back in New Yorkhome comforts

Im almost never in my kitchen in New York at the restaurant and on the few days when Im back in New York, Im as likely to call out for pizza as anything else. When I get back to New York, Im tired. Im lazy. I have just a few days. As a diversion, I write about myself and what happens to me all the time.

This interview was published in the September 2007 issue of the Outlook Traveller magazine.

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