Season four of the top-rated Emmy and Peabody award-winning CNN Original Series Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, began on Sunday, September 28 at 9pm ET/PT with a tour of Shanghai, China.
In the season premiere of Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, the host explores Shanghai by savoring classic, home-style cuisine at restaurants that include Chun and Fuchun Xiaolong, and converses with locals who give their take on their country’s booming economy and expanding global influence.
Bourdain explores the widely diverse cuisines and cultures found in the NYC borough just north of Manhattan. Bronx mainstays Afrika Bambaataa, Mellle Mel, and Baron Ambrosia help guide the host through the music, food, art, and other offerings of this often misunderstood part of the city.
A South American country of 6 million, much of the oppressively hot landlocked nation of Paraguay is jungle terrain or desert known as "the Chaco." An investigation into the puzzling history of the host’s great, great, great, grandfather, Paraguayan émigré Jean Bourdain, is a springboard to his first tour of this South American country, primarily comprised of jungle and desert land, which features a rich culture and savory local dishes that include Bife Koygua, Bori Bori, and Sopa Paraguaya.
Parts Unknown travels to the host’s “first love,” with a look at Hue, a city in central Vietnam, including excursions to the Dong Ba market, Vinh Moc tunnels, the Duyen Anh restaurant, and the Citadel. Sampled dishes include Com Hen, Bun Bo Hue and a special bird’s nest soup.
Parts Unknown travels to Tanzania for an African safari adventure. Bourdain visits Zanzibar, a one-time slave trade hub, and enjoys the island’s famous foods, from mandazi to street food including grilled seafood and the famous Zanzibari pizza. On an excursion to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, Bourdain comes face to face with lions, elephants, and the great migration.
Bourdain and his crew take their long-awaited inaugural trip to Iran exploring Tehran and Isfahan, and sites that include Imam Square, the Borje Milad, mosques, and ancient caravanserai. The cuisine includes Dizi, Fesenjan, Biryani, and Tahdig. Local guides for this tour include Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and his wife Yeganeh Salehi, who were subsequently detained by the Iranian government.
In a departure for the series, Bourdain takes a trip to the Provincetown haunts of his post high school youth (The Atlantic House, The Lobster Pot) that marked the start of his culinary career, and he candidly discusses his descent into heroin addiction (and later recovery). He then heads to the western part of the state to throw light on the unexpected and exploding heroin problem in small town New England – discussing with residents exactly how this happened – and how they are learning to deal with it as a community.
Bourdain heads to Jamaica, a destination well known for delicious Caribbean delicacies and feel-good vibes. The host travels along the Northeast region of the island and explores life in Port Antonio and Winnifred Beach. He also delves into the importance of music legend Bob Marley, with his producer Chris Blackwell, and takes a side trip to the home of author Ian Fleming (the setting of James Bond novels). A main topic in this episode is the ever-burgeoning tourist industry and how it continues to affect the local population.