@Bourdain and @POTUS – Bun Cha, Bringing the World Together

I just read an interesting piece from Roads & Kingdoms where they got to talk to Anthony Bourdain about his most recent Parts Unknown episode. This episode is special because President Obama reached out to Bourdain to dine with him. Instead of opting for an environment that the Secret Service would likely approve of more, the two of them adventured to a family-run Bun Cha establishment.

Image by Pete Souza
Image by Pete Souza

Bourdain recounts how moving the public’s response was the next day – they were proud and touched that someone like the President would do something they do. I love the idea of a world leader rubbing elbows with the working class, and it really grounds his image. In fact, my favorite part of the interview was when Bourdain was asked how he felt:

Bourdain: He’s so smooth, loosey-goosey, cool; he was lovely. At one point I asked him, “Do you ever miss just being able to go out in the afternoon and have a beer in an old man bar, just put a sad song on on the jukebox?” He looks up at me, smiles, and says, “In about six months.”

Many of Anthony Bourdain’s works, No Reservations and Parts Unknown in particular, are responsible for my wanderlust. I love the fact that you see not only the glitz and the glamour, but also how regular people survive in the various locales. He keeps the politics out of it and shows you what a country is like through his camera lens, and he doesn’t pull any punches in the process. I highly recommend watching the No Reservations special on Beirut. I can say, without a doubt, it is what got me hooked on the series.