“Heading south from ‘Tana, it’s a very different country out there, where rice is the difference between life and death.”

By the Numbers

  • 22M
    Population of Madagascar
  • $2/day
    Average cost of living
  • 700
    Year A.D. that Indonesian voyagers arrived here
  • 1895
    Year French colonized it
  • 1960
    Year Madagascar declared independence
  • 92
    Percentage of Madagascar’s mammals that exist nowhere else on Earth

Eats

(Photo by Rijasolo)

Le Muguet

Ambondrona, 1 Stage 18
Antananarivo

Chez Mariette

Lalana Rakolomalala Joel
Antananarivo
+261-20-22-216-02
What Bourdain ate: Goose, broth with chicken and ginger, rice, salad

Look’s Chez Ramasy

Andravoahangy Ouest
Antananarivo
+261-33-32-438-44
What Bourdain ate: Roasted pig head delicacies, beans

Fact

Madagascar has a vegetarian-friendly food culture. Most Malagasy often don’t eat meat because it’s expensive.

Bourdain on ecotourism

Some have suggested that ecotourism could solve problems of un- and underemployment here. But Bourdain observes: tourism can be more burden than boon.

“A lot of people feel that the future should be ecotourism,” he said. “People should essentially be working in hotels and restaurants for tourists.”

“That’s kind of a return to colonialism, isn’t it?” he added.

Sidekicks

1. Anthony Bourdain with Darren Aronofsky / 2. Bourdain with Dr. Patricia Wright

Darren Aronofsky: Filmmaker.

Rossy: Pop musician turned politician.

Mariette Andrianajaka: Former Chef de Cuisine for the French Railway network.

Anna Razafimbahiny: Local jazz singer.

Dr. Patricia Wright: World-renowned primatologist.

Jonah: A Fianarantsoa guide.

The camera is a liar. It shows everything. It shows nothing. It reveals only what we want. Often, what we see is seen only from a window, moving past and then gone. One window. My window. If you’d been here, chances are you would have seen things differently.