May 22, 2024 | Kaddy Gibson

15 Of Anthony Bourdain’s Favorite Foods

Try Them For Yourself

Anthony Bourdain was one of the world’s most beloved chefs, and he inspired millions of people to try new foods through his travels across the globe, which he documented in his acclaimed television shows No Reservations and Parts Unknown

Bourdain got to sample lots of delicious meals, but here are some that had the chef running back for seconds.

Anthony Bourdain


On a warm, summer day, few meals are refreshing as ceviche. This famous raw seafood dish comes from Peru, a place Bourdain visited with his friend and fellow chef, Eric Ripert. 

On an episode of Parts Unknown, the duo visit Peru’s capital city, Lima, and learn one of the secrets to making superb ceviche.

Peruvian dish made of fish marinated in lemmon juiceHéctor de Pereda, Flickr

Ceviche (cont’d)

The key, Bourdain learns, is to cut the fish into larger chunks rather dicing it. The larger chunks hold acidic juices better, which helps to cook the fish.

After seeing how the best ceviche is made, Bourdain tucks into a plate of octopus and flounder served with red onion and citrus juice. “This is good”, he says, giving the dish his earnest approval. 

The Peruvian dishDani Daniela, Shutterstock


Anthony Bourdain loved the Philippines and filmed there twice for No Reservations and Parts Unknown

He seemed to like pretty much everything he sampled there, but sisig was definitely one of his favorite meals. He called it “possibly the best thing you could eat with a cold beer”.

image of  Pork sisigGwennVienn, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Sisig (cont’d)

Sisig is made with minced pork and chicken livers, which make for a fatty and flavorful combination. It’s usually paired with onions, vegetables, and a tasty sauce. 

Bourdain liked sisig so much that he called it his “favorite Filipino street food".

image of portion of SisigEj Afable, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Les Halles French Fries

Before making it to the big screen, Bourdain worked at Les Halles, a restaurant in New York City. According to him, the fries there are the best in the city. 

Sounds like a bold claim, but considering he used a three-step process to make them, we’re sure they live up to the hype.

image of french friesstu_spivack, Flickr

Les Halles French Fries (cont’d)

Bourdain started by blanching the fries before frying them twice in a row. It’s that double fry that makes them extra flavorful, but paired with a juicy steak, they’re extra mouthwatering, too.

image of steak with friesCeeseven, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Salumi’s Sandwiches

There are lots of great places to eat in Seattle, but one of Bourdain’s favorite haunts was a sandwich shop: Salumi. 

He loved the place so much that he once said, "That is a holy place for me. I love that place. I've jokingly said, but I'm half serious it should be a UNESCO site. It should be a landmark".

image of Salumi’s SandwichesJimmy Emerson, DVM, Flickr

Salumi’s Sandwiches (cont’d)

The restaurant was founded by chef Mario Batali’s parents, and quickly became one of Seattle’s best places to find Italian cured meats. 

The Batali family no longer owns the restaurant, but you can still find incredible cured meats—and delicious Italian sandwiches—at Salumi.

image of a sandwich cutamelia, Flickr

Halo Halo

Halo halo is another of Bourdain’s favorites from the Philippines, though Bourdain first tried it in Los Angeles. While filming for an episode of Parts Unknown, he was strolling through Koreatown and stopped at the Filipino fast food restaurant Jollibee.

Philippine 'Halo Halo' dessertjejim, Shutterstock

Halo Halo (cont'd)

Halo halo is made from several ingredients, including flan, chickpeas, red and white beans, coconut, and shaved ice. Of this weird combo, Bourdain said, “It makes no goddamn sense at all. I love it". 

He also called it “oddly beautiful”. We agree.

image of popular Filipino dessert Halo HaloKim David, Shutterstock

Popeyes Mac And Cheese

Anthony Bourdain may have frequented the world’s best Michelin-starred restaurants, but he still had a soft spot for fast food. The mac and cheese at Popeyes was particularly delicious to him, though we really don’t see the hype about this one.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchenajay_suresh, Flickr

Popeyes Mac And Cheese (cont’d)

Bourdain admitted that his love of this particular fast food item was a “really disgusting, shameful pleasure”. He even went so far as to hide under a hoodie when he ordered it. 

Despite the embarrassment,  we’ve got to appreciate his humbleness to try even most questionable foods.

hand picking up delicious mac and cheese with a forkezellhphotography, Shutterstock

Roasted Pig

Roasted pig is a juicy, flavorful meat dish that’s enjoyed in many countries but when Bourdain tried the roasted suckling pig in Bali, he declared it the best in the world

There, the spit-roasted pig dish is called babi guling, and the natural flavor of the meat is boosted by adding a spice mixture to the pig’s skin before the roasting starts.

image of a pork meatPixabay, Picryl

Roasted Pig (cont'd)

Bali wasn’t the only place that had excellent roasted pig—Bourdain also enjoyed lechon in the Philippines and called it “the best pig ever”. 

So, which version of roast pig is actually the world’s best? You’ll have to decide that one for yourself.

image of roasted pigVDB Photos, Shutterstock

Blood Sausage

For some, the main ingredient that gives blood sausage its name is a turn off. But when Anthony Bourdain sampled the dish while filming an episode of Parts Unknown in Cologne, Germany, he called it “heaven on Earth”.

image of a red sausageAlpha, Flickr

Blood Sausage (cont'd)

The blood sausage that Bourdain tried was paired with classic German garnishes, like onions, mashed potatoes, and even applesauce. 

Those who have tried blood sausage know how good it is, but if you’re feeling queasy about trying it, don’t worry—it mostly tastes like the mixture of spices it contains, rather than the blood that gives it its distinct color.

image of blood sausage with lemongrassAlpha, Flickr


Anthony Bourdain wasn’t afraid to declare his love for In-N-Out Burger, and once said it was his favorite restaurant in LA. He even said that “it's the only fast-food chain that I actually like and think is reasonably good for the world”.

In-n-Out Burger storeRightCowLeftCoast, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

In-N-Out-Burger (cont’d)

Bourdain liked In-N-Out Burger so much that he complained about there not being any in New York, where he lived. He even made the In-N-Out Burger at the airport one of his first stops when he arrived in LA. 

So, if you want to try some of the world-famous chef’s favorite snacks, it’s as simple as going through the drive-thru.

image of In-n-Out BurgerBennilover, Flickr

Gray’s Papaya Hot Dogs

New York is full of hot dog stands, but Anthony Bourdain found the best hot dog spot in the city: Gray’s Papaya. Bourdain loved the place so much that he called it his second home and often pined for it when he felt homesick during his travels.

image of gray's papaya hotdog shopULU_BIRD, Shutterstock

Gray’s Papaya Hot Dogs (cont’d)

Bourdain kept his hot dogs simple, topping them with sauerkraut. So, if you’re ever in New York, you don’t have to book a reservation at the fanciest place in town—just head over to Gray’s Papaya for the most delicious hot dog you’ll ever eat.

image of Gray's Papaya Hot Dogssu-lin, Flickr


For Anthony Bourdain, Uni was the perfect litmus test for dating. 

In an interview at the Tribeca Film Festival, Bourdain said, “When I was single, I would take people to sushi [on a] first date. And if they didn't eat the uni, there was really no chance of a relationship”.

image of Uni foodWally Gobetz, Flickr

Uni (cont’d)

So what is uni? Sea urchin roe, or eggs (a bit like caviar). This velvety, orange dish is a delicacy to seafood lovers and hails from Japan, where it’s usually served with sushi. 

Bourdain also tried a similar sea urchin dish called "ricci" in Italy. There, he ate it with pasta instead of rice.

Uni on shiso leafHeather Joan, Flickr


While you can make a decent antipasti spread of delectable appetizers with ingredients from your local grocery store, nothing really compares to the antipasti you’ll get in Rome. 

That’s where Anthony Bourdain sampled the best olives, artichoke hearts, anchovies, cured meats, and pepperoncini.

image of antipastiChristian Allinger, Flickr

Antipasti (cont’d)

Bourdain was particularly fond of the antipasti at Osteria dal 1931, a charming restaurant in the heart of Rome’s Monteverde district. He once said that he loved the cured meats at Osteria dal 1931 more than those at any other restaurant in Rome.

image of antipasti in a plateWendy Copley, Flickr

Bún Châ

Vietnam was one of Anthony Bourdain’s favorite places to eat. In fact, he loved the food there so much that he endorsed it on the official Vietnam tourism website.

He called it one of his “favorite places on earth”, and said, “Vietnam. It grabs you and doesn’t let you go. Once you love it, you love it forever”.

image of a bun cha with vegetables and noodlesMalingering, Flickr

Bún Châ (cont’d)

Many of us are familiar with popular Vietnamese staples like phở and bánh Mì, but Bourdain preferred to tuck into bún chả. This tasty dish is basically just noodles served with grilled pork, but it looks so good, it’s easy to see why Bourdain was such a fan.

image of Bun Cha dishstu_spivack, Flickr

Sauteed Prawns

Bourdain once said that Hong Kong was one of the world’s greatest cities for food. During a visit in 2018, he stopped by Happy Paradise and fell in love with the restaurant’s sautéed prawns.

dish shrimp scampi with garlic and butterJillian Cain Photography, Shutterstock

Sauteed Prawns (cont’d)

The prawns were served with pumpkin seeds, shrimp roe, and egg noodles, and Bourdain also tried the restaurant’s yellow chicken dish. According to Laurie Woolever, who worked with Bourdain, he called both dishes “stunningly delicious”.

image of  shrimp dishfrom my point of view, Shutterstock

Hard-Boiled Eggs

Anthony Bourdain ate some of the world’s most elaborate foods, but sometimes you just need to keep things simple. After all, he was a normal person like us, and couldn’t whip up fancy dishes all the time. 

And sometimes, it’s not the fanciest food that makes us feel at home. Sometimes it’s as simple as a nice egg.

person holding boiled egg in his handsk, Flickr

Hard-Boiled Eggs (cont’d)

On the last episode of Parts Unknown, Bourdain called hard-boiled eggs “the perfect food”. He was in his hometown, Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and some hard-boiled eggs that were made by his friend John Lurie. 

Of the meal, he said “I am grateful and honored”. Well, Anthony, we're grateful and honored to have traveled the world with you. 

Hard boiled eggs on a wooden plateLisa Williams, Flickr


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