Synopsis: Bourdain travels to Asunción, Paraguay, where he retraces the steps of his great-great-grandfather Jean Bourdain. He is joined by a private investigator named Pedro, who helps him look for information about Jean, and Peter, a German who has been living in the country for more than 20 years. 

On Jean Bourdain:

“Sometime in the mid-nineteenth century my great-great-grandfather Jean Bourdain emigrated to South America. He was reported to have died here and might have been a seeker of utopian dreams.”

“If I could solve the mystery of the elusive Jean Bourdain, that would make me very happy.”

“What hat maker needs 200 tons of gunpowder? I’ve got you now, Jean Bourdain. I’ve got you now.”

On how Paraguay is perceived by the world:

“For most people, Paraguay is an empty space on the map of Latin America: a country of only 6 million, where a vast percentage of the land is steaming hot jungle or a huge scrub desert known simply as the Chaco. Only a few large cities offer a respite from the oppressive heat.”

“This country is a mystery to most people.”

“All of the books I read about Paraguay are maybe 15 years old, and the first advice is, Everybody has a gun—buy a gun. This was not the Paraguay I expected at all.”

On the cattle industry:

“Cattle is the big business of this country. It used to be cattle and smuggling. These days it’s still cattle. And some smuggling.”

On street meat in Asunción:

“All my greasy meat dreams have come true. That’s good.”

Guests weigh in:

Pedro (private investigator) [on Lido Bar in Asunción]: “This place is very unique in Asunción. I’ve been here for more than 50 years.”

Bourdain [on the country’s obscurity]: “What little we know of the country generally comes from Nazis and Germans hiding in Paraguay from war crimes. I mean, do you think that’s an undeserved reputation?”

Pedro: “I don’t think it’s fair. Paraguay is a nice country. Paraguay is a beautiful country.”

Guido Rodríguez Alcalá (historian and journalist): “Paraguay was a very poor country. The Spaniards came because they thought there was a lot of silver in the area. They found nothing, so they lost interest.”

Bourdain [on the gun culture in Paraguay]: “I haven’t seen anything of this country yet, but what I read was that it’s the world’s backwater, filled with bombed-out banks that had been looted, institutions that didn’t work, everyone carried a gun. It was like the Wild West but poorer. It’s not that anymore?”

Peter: “A bit of this is true. I, by myself, got a .45 on my head last week. That’s pretty common stuff for me.”

Peter: “The saying is that [the soup] makes a man very powerful.”

Bourdain: “Ah. So you invite them and give them the catfish soup, make their arms hard and be fruitful?”

Peter [on sopa paraguaya being a cake]: “Our dictator Lopez, his favorite soup was a corn soup; and one day he ordered his favorite soup, and the cook, when he opened the pot, it was a cake.”