Bourdain’s Field Notes

Failure has a smell. Of burnt synapses, of dick jokes, and wet ashes.

Why, why, why can’t I get Sicily right?

I love Sicily. It’s beautiful. It’s old. It’s Italy, but it’s not. I like the people—proudly mixed up, preyed upon by generations of invaders and a nearly ubiquitous fraternal organization that makes even the simplest transaction—like getting fruit to market—complicated. Sicilian food is exactly everything I love: the cuttlefish-stained pasta, street meat, inky wines, oily fishes. And for some reason, though I don’t speak Italian, I understand nearly every word in Sicily.

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Travel like Bourdain

“There’s the simple fact of its location, tucked away under the boot of Italy—part of but not really part of that country. [It has] its own language, culture, its own history of Norman, Arab, Spanish, Roman, Turkish, Egyptian interlopers, all leaving their mark and their influence.”

Know Before You Go

Palermo’s most delicious food is often not in restaurants but at the many street stalls in the city center. That brings us to a historic market of the city, Vuccirìa (“noise” in Sicilian), where you’ll find a selection of grilled meat, fish, vegetables, and fried potato balls (crocchè in the local dialect). Vuccirìa also hosts several taverns, if you feel like a beer to accompany your food.

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