Last fall, Anthony Bourdain returned to South Korea to film an episode of his highly anticipated return to Parts Unknown. He last visited Korea in 2006 for an episode of his previous show, No Reservations. I remember watching the episode of No Reservations in my preparation for coming to Korea in 2011. It mostly just freaked me out. He ate A LOT of weird stuff in that episode, guys. A lot of stuff I would NEVER eat. Oh, wait. But I digress. The foreigner geared Korea based websites I follow were atwitter in the weeks leading up to the episodes premier. Some of the websites I follow even worked on the episode. So needless to say, the foreign community here was really excited about the episode. I’m not the only one that likes to get asked about Korea, y’all!
So I began watching the episode with bated breath. And I’m not gonna lie, I was a little disppointed. I’m not sure if it was the build up setting me up for a bit of a letdown, or the Tarantino-esque shooting style that made it difficult to follow – even for an old pro like me. I can only imagine how hard it was for someone who has never been to Korea to follow. I get that they were trying to put an interesting spin on it, but I don’t think this was the right format for that style of filming/storytelling. Don’t get me wrong, it was still enjoyable and I loved being able to relate to it. Similar to Avengers, I want people to watch it and get excited about Korea and interested in Korean culture. It was fun watching him have experiences that I’ve had, eating the dishes I love. Because Korean food is A-MAY-Zing. Also, noraebang is the greatest thing in life. Just trust me. But please don’t touch my microphone.
I would still recommend watching the episode. It portrays a much more typical Korean dining experience, as opposed to the “look at all this weird food!” vibe his last show gave off. I was going to include a link to watch the episode in its entirety, but it seems I’ve procrastinated too long (who? me?), and the video is no longer available. So you’re on your own for this one. As a consolation, here is a segment he did on Anderson Cooper about the show. And here is some sage advice from the man himself. I hope you enjoy the episode!